A lot of Vinod Khanna's friends at the Barnes School in British era cantonment township of Deolali in Maharashtra thought that the young man was cut for an innings on the silver screen and would join Hollywood instead of Bollywood.
"We thought that going by his acting skills and persona, Vinod will join Hollywood and not Bollywood," his schoolmate Col (retd) Shashi Kiran Maini said.
"I first came in contact with Vinod in 1957, when he joined the Barnes High School. I was in sixth standard and he was our senior and the boxing captain of our Royal House team, of which I was a member," Maini said.
"Vinod later became the head boy at Barnes School. He was a thorough gentleman, an ace sportsman and the best one out there in dramatics," he said.
"I was Vinod's young buddy in Royal House. He was the star attraction in the Dramatics Club and used to us often that his ambition was to become a film actor," he said. "He was too good in dramatics. There was a time when we thought that he would go to Hollywood and not Bollywood," said Maini, who retired from the Army in 2002 and is now settled near Delhi.
"Vinod used to win all acting and sports awards. He was always the winner, be it the 100 metres or the 400 metresrace or the cross country run. He was a very good athlete," he said.
"Once while I was posted at Gurdaspur in his constituency, I invited him for lunch at the Officers' Mess and he readily accepted my offer. He was a humble person," Maini said. "Vinod also attended the wedding of my sister's son. My brother-in-law and Vinod were from the same college in Delhi," he said.