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Indian Actor and Politician Vinod Khanna Dies at 70

Variety logo Variety 4/27/2017 Naman Ramachandran
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Iconic Indian actor and politician Vinod Khanna died Thursday in Mumbai. He was 70.

The Mumbai premiere of much-awaited blockbuster “Baahubali: The Conclusion” was canceled as a mark of respect for Khanna, who died of advanced bladder carcinoma.

Khanna began his career in 1968 playing an antagonist in “Man Ka Meet.” He was a popular screen villain, notably in “Mera Gaon Mera Desh,” until he became a leading man with “Hum Tum Aur Who.” He soon became one of India’s most bankable stars, with such films as “Achanak,” “Imtihan” and “Haath Ki Safai.” He was considered to be in the same league as such Hindi film superstars as Amitabh Bachchan, with whom he acted together in “Zameer” and “Muqaddar Ka Sikandar” (1978).

In 1982, when he was at the height of his fame, Khanna left the film industry for five years to follow the spiritual leader Osho. He made a comeback in 1987 with hits “Insaaf” and “Satyameva Jayate.”

In 1997, Khanna became a member of parliament on the ticket of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. That same year, he produced “Himalay Putra” to launch the acting career of his son Akshay Khanna. In 2002, he had stints as minister for culture and tourism and external affairs.

Khanna continued acting. His last release was “Dilwale,” a 2015 Bollywood hit headlining Shah Rukh Khan.

Indian media personality, Karan Johar tweeted: “His screen presence is unparalleled even today…his super star swag is what we grew up on….RIP #VinodKhanna…thoughts and prayers….”

Khanna is survived by wife Kavita, sons Akshay, Rahul and Sakshi, and daughter Shraddha.

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