Vinod Khanna’s demise has come as a rude shock to many. One particularly heartbroken friend is writer-filmmaker Gulzar. A close family member of Gulzar reveals, “After the death of Sanjeev Kumar, R.D. Burman and Jagjit Singh, this is the fourth very personal loss for Gulzar saab. He is devastated.”
The two got close after Gulzar directed Vinod in his directorial debut, Mere Apne. He has said in an earlier interview, “I worked with two lifelong friends on the sets of my first film — Meena Kumariji and Vinod Khanna.”
In fact, Gulzar sahab and V.K. became so close, that Shatrughan Sinha who played the other lead in Mere Apne cribbed in jest. “Gulzar has adopted Vinod and disowned me,” he would say. Sure enough, Vinod and Gulzar went on to team up for Vinod’s most important works, such as Achaanak, Meera and Lekin.
Not many know this, but Gulzar and Vinod also had the opportunity to work together as actors. It was for a historical film called Jallianwala Bagh, which was directed by Balraj Tah in 1977. Gulzar faced the camera for the first time, and Vinod Khanna was a big help.
Years later, when Lata Mangeshkar turned producer and signed Gulzar to direct the musical Lekin, it was on Gulzar’s recommendation that Vinod Khanna was signed to play the lead....