New Delhi, July 18 (IBNS) Information & Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni on Wednesday condoled the death of India's first superstar Rajesh Khanna and said he will be missed by all.
In her condolence message to the members of the bereaved family, Soni said: "Very few actors can match the charisma, stardom and popularity that Rajesh Khanna enjoyed. His era initiated the wave of Superstardom in the Indian film industry, a concept which was unknown till then."
"Rajesh Khanna gave Indian cinema a whiff of fresh air by projecting the essence of goodness and romance in the various characters that he portrayed.
"His films provided us melodious music and haunting melodies which became a part of the generational change of the 1970s. The Indian film industry has lost one of its iconic personalities who gave a new identity to the male protagonist in films," said Soni.
"Shri Rajesh Khanna was a much admired colleague in our party. We will all miss him. I pray to god to give necessary strength to his family to overcome the crisis," she said.
Union Minister of Commerce, Industry and Textiles Anand Sharma also expressed ´deep sorrow´ on the passing away of Khanna.
Terming Khanna a charming personality both on and off screen, Sharma said that his charisma and acting prowess have given many memorable celluloid moments to generations of film lovers world over.
"Rajesh Khanna had a deep humanistic core and was committed to many social causes. His absence will be deeply felt on both cultural and social landscape of the country," said Sharma.
Earlier the same day, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condoled Khanna´s death.
"The Prime Minister condoles the passing away of cinema personality, entertainer and former Member of Parliament, Shri Rajesh Khanna," tweeted the Prime Minister´s Office (PMO).
In his message, the PM said: "I convey my heartfelt condolences to the members of the bereaved family and countless fans and admirers of Shri Rajesh Khanna."
Khanna passed away in his Mumbai residence on Wednesday after battling with cancer. He was 69.
According to reports, the superstar´s last rites will be performed at 11 am on Thursday.
Khanna gave India several memorable films that included ´Kati Patang´, ´Amar Prem´, ´Shehzada´, ´Apna Desh´, ´Mere Jeevan Saathi´, ´Aap Ki Kasam´, ´Ajnabee´, ´Namak Haraam´, ´Maha Chor´, ´Karm´, ´Phir Wohi Raat´, ´Aanchal´, ´Kudrat´, ´Ashanti´, ´Agar Tum Na Hote´, ´Awaaz, Hum Dono´ , ´Anand´ and ´Alag Alag´.
Pertinently, he had 15 consecutive solo superhits between 1969 to 1971, which is still an unbroken record in Indian film history.