Bollywood's first superstar Rajesh Khanna's last rites were held this morning at Pawan Hans Crematorium in Mumbai's Vile Parle area. Son-in-law Akshay Kumar lit the funeral pyre, accompanied by his son Aarav. Mr Khanna died at home in Mumbai on Wednesday (July 18, 2012). He was 69 and had been battling cancer. (Photos: Zindagi Ka Safar: Rajesh Khanna's final journey
The cremation was a private affair and the assembled press were asked by Akshay Kumar not to film the ceremony. Mr Khanna's body was taken to the cremation ground from his home on Bandra's Carter Road in a glass casket to allow his fans, thousands of whom lined Mumbai's roads braving the rain, to pay their last respects.
Bollywood celebrities were largely absent from the funeral procession, with the sole exception of Karan Johar. Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan arrived at the cremation ground later, and their presence caused a stampede of sorts. Yesterday, the Bachchans had rushed to Aashirwad, the Khanna residence in Bandra, to pay their respects. They were joined by Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif and others from the film fraternity. (Photos:The leading ladies in Rajesh Khanna's life
Akshay Kumar and Mr Khanna's other son-in-law Sameer Saran oversaw funeral arrangements.
Mr Khanna's estranged wife and veteran actress Dimple Kapadia was accompanied by her younger daughter Rinkie. Elder daughter Twinkle, who is pregnant with her second child and has been advised by doctors to rest, was not in evidence. Ms Kapadia separated from Mr Khanna in 1984, after 11 years of marriage, but never actually divorced.(Amitabh Bachchan pays blog tribute to Rajesh Khanna: Read full text here
Rajesh Khanna borrowed a phrase from the film fraternity that served him so well for 25 years to say his final goodbye yesterday. His last words are reported to have been - "time up ho gaya, pack up."
Mr Khanna's final words were revealed online by no less a person than Amitabh Bachchan, the late actor's co-star co-star in the films Anand
and Namak Haraam
. Mr Bachchan had rushed to Aashirwad, to be with the bereaved family and pay his last respects.