Rajesh Khanna (Photo Credit: File Photo)
When Rajesh Khanna bought his iconic sea-facing bungalow "Ashirwad" in 1969 from Rajendra Kumar, he hoped that with Kumar's house, the then superstar's "luck" would also rub off on him, revealed a new book. According to "Jubilee Kumar: The Life and Times of a Superstar", soon after Khanna acquired the palatial Carter Road bungalow in Mumbai, he rose to the heights of stardom and glory with films like "Aradhana", "Ittefaq" and "Do Raaste", which released the same year and were massive hits.
"Your stardom is at its peak whereas I am just starting out ... my life would change completely if I acquired your residence. It's the house of the biggest star of India, after all!" the book by Seema Sonik Alimchand quoted Khanna telling Kumar. These words clinched the deal for Khanna, and the "lucky" bungalow "Dimple", named after Kumar's daughter, changed hands with the soon-to-be India's "first superstar". The house, where Kumar spent his "most successful" years as a star, was sold to Khanna for Rs 3.5 lakhs, a sum "not even close to its market value". The amount was to be paid in installments.
Khanna re-named the property "Ashirwad" after Kumar denied him permission to retain its original name "Dimple". "You must change the name. Dimple is my daughter's name. We had named the Carter Road bungalow after her and we have now named our new home 'Dimple' too. But you have my blessings for your new home. May it bring you immense luck and prosperity," said the book by Hachette India quoting Kumar.
However, according to the book, where Khanna's career was reaching phenomenal heights, Kumar's fortunes were "dwindling". "The year 1971 belonged, without doubt, to the romantic superstar Rajesh Khanna who topped the charts, once again, with a diverse range of movies. These were: 'Haathi Mere Saathi', 'Maryada', 'Kati Patang', 'Mehboob ki Mehndi' and the unforgettable 'Anand'," read the book
"... As for Rajendra Kumar, he managed to make it through the year, riding on the shoulders of loyalists like Mohan Kumar, Ramanand Sagar and his own brother Naresh Kumar by working in their productions, although Mohan Kumar's 'Aap Aye Bahaar Ayee' remained the actor's solo release in 1971," it added.
Kumar's wife was furious with her husband for letting the house go, a property they bought a decade back after spending a princely sum of Rs 65,000. "'We didn't need the money. Why, then, did you give it to him and that too for a measly three and a half lakhs?' she had scolded him," the book read.
After Khanna's death in 2012, his family sold off the bungalow for a reported sum of Rs 90 crore to Shashi Kiran Shetty, founder and chairman of AllCargo Logistics.