Bollywood Flashback: When Rajesh Khanna and Anju Mahendru ended their relationship

February 14, 2022 0 By admin

Model, fashion designer and actress Anju Mahendru was the first love of India’s first superstar Rajesh Khanna. Both were struggling to find a foothold in the industry when they met each other some time in the 60’s. Anju was an aspiring model and actor but her claim to fame was a torrid relationship with cricket legend, Sir Gary Sobers. She broke up with him and soon started seeing Rajesh. In the early days of their relationship, Anju supported his dreams like a devoted girlfriend. Rajesh too cared for her and reportedly lavished his affection and earnings upon her. Once the actor became super successful he charmed and convinced Anju into putting aside her career for him. The madly-in-love starlet obliged and soon became Rajesh Khanna’s official girlfriend and the two of them shared a live-in relationship for close to seven years.

However, it wasn’t an easy one for both and gradually cracks started forming in their relationship. It’s said that while Anju was a free spirit, Rajesh was very traditional. While success didn’t alter his orthodox beliefs, ironically, he always fell for modern women. Their clashing values and opinions led to many altercations. In one of her interviews, Anju stated, “He is a very orthodox man, yet somehow, is always attracted to ultra-modern girls. Confusion was a part of our relationship. If I wore a skirt, he’d snap, why don’t you wear a sari? If I wore a sari, he’d say, why are you trying to project a Bhartiya nari look?” And due to many such squabbles and arguments, the couple ended their relationship. In one of their interviews with Stardust, post their break up, Anju had revealed, ‘Rajesh was becoming increasingly difficult to get along with. His recent flops had upset him mentally and he was moody, temperamental, irritable. All the time he was so tense…almost a nervous wreck.’ And Rajesh, the heart-throb of millions felt that Anju was not giving him enough time. He complained, ‘Often after a hard day at the studios, I’d return home to find a note saying that she had gone to so-and-so’s party…Or when I would drop in tired and lonely, at her house, I would find her entertaining friends…I’d want to spend evening alone with her…’ While Anju shot back, ‘But what about his yes-yes men who were always hanging around him? So often I pleaded with him that I didn’t like his chamchas…’

The two also seemed to have a row over their respective mothers. Rajesh felt Anju didn’t want to spend time with his mother while Anju accused Rajesh of being unpleasant towards her mother. ‘Sometimes I used to ask Anju to spend time with my mother but she didn’t want to make the effort’. ‘He just didn’t want me to pamper him, he expected me to pamper and look after his mother also,’ said Anju. Apparently, Anju refused to become another Rajesh Khanna sycophant, she didn’t want to fawn over him. She had said, ‘To me he was Jatin or Justin, a man I loved, not Rajesh Khanna, a Superstar or The Phenomenon. As much as I could, I had submerged my individuality, my personality, my identity into his, to make him happy. He wanted me to give up modelling at a time when I was paid very highly, I did. He wanted me to quit acting so he made me get out of a film with Sanjeev Kumar. I was keen on a film career but Rajesh came first to me’.’  But Rajesh clearly wanted a non-working wife. ‘Yes, I didn’t want Anju working in films. But what career did she sacrifice for me? Those two bit roles…Where would those stray roles have taken her?’ he was quoted saying.

However, it is said that to take revenge on Anju, Rajesh Khanna completely ruined her career. Reportedly, the whole film industry blamed the actor for the break up and supported Anju. This made the actor furious and he blamed Anju and her friends for all the negative publicity. Rumour has it that Rajesh Khanna had declared he would pay double price to the filmmakers (who had cast Anju in their film) to give him lobby prints, posters, trailers and advertisement films of the actress, so that her movies never get released. Not only this, the advertisement of a very famous brand of talcum powder endorsed by Anju also disappeared. The story does not end here. When Rajesh Khanna married Dimple Kapadia, he deliberately diverted his baraat’s (marriage procession) route to pass in front of Anju’s house, before heading to the marriage venue.