Iconic superstar Rajesh Khanna’s bungalow known as ‘Vardan Aashiwad’ has been sold to Shashi Shetty, a reality businessman for Rs.95 crore. Analysts say that the bungalow has been sold for a much lower price than its worth. Probably, it has to do with the fact that the sprawling house is believed to be haunted. Plus many say that there is not much scope for further development of the house or high-rise, as the plot area is considerably small.
Rajesh Khanna spent his last few years with live-in partner Anita Advani in this house. She had said that the superstar’s wish was to turn the bungalow into a museum. She had also accused that Dimple Kapadia and son-in-law Akshay Kumar had asked her to vacate the house, after Rajesh Khanna passed away.
During the signing process and hand-over, Rajesh Khanna’s wife Dimple Kapadia, daughters Twinkle Khanna and Rinke Khanna were present.
Rajesh Khanna’s house Vardan Aashirwad – pictures
Story of Rajesh Khanna’s Haunted Bungalow
The story of Rajesh Khanna’s house Aashirwad is as interesting as the story of the man who owned it. Back in the 60s, most mansions and big houses only belonged to the wealthy East Indian community and the Parsis. Music director Naushad after tasting success built a sea-facing bungalow here called ‘Aashiyana’. Just next to it, was another bungalow, almost in ruins. There were no buyers for that home, it was infamously known as ‘Bhoot Bangla’. In spite of the house being sold for dirt- cheap prices, there was no buyer for that home.
Not one to believe in ghosts and superstitions, the news of this very house lying in a dilapidated state, reached the ears of a budding actor called Rajendra Kumar. He had just landed in Mumbai, and was eagerly seeking work in the film industry. He had already received a project from the director B.R.Chopra called ‘Kanoon’ (India’s first songless movie). Rajendra Kumar who didn’t have much money to buy the house, but desired it anyway, struck a deal with the director, he said that he would do two more films with him, if he was paid in advance. B.R Chopra agreed and paid him Rs. 90000.
Rajendra Kumar stuck a deal with the seller to buy the house for Rs. 60000. His close friend, actor Manoj Kumar, told him to go ahead with the bungalow and not worry about the ‘haunted’ bit. He advised him to do a puja and move in. Rajendra Kumar was in for many a pleasant surprise, as his movies became hits one after the other. He named the house after his daughter, and called it Dimple. He was so grateful to his friend Manoj Kumar that he kept the top floor of the house to Manoj’s access any time. Rajendra even named his son ‘Manoj’ after Manoj Kumar, the boy who grew up to become Kumar Gaurav.
Meanwhile after raking a lot of moolah and fame, Rajesh basked in the glory of being called ‘Jubilee Kumar’. He bought another bungalow called ‘Pali Hill’, he named it ‘Dimple’ as well.
Meanwhile, in the early 70s, a rich man called Rajesh Khanna, who won a talent competition, began to take rapid strides of success in Bollywood. He came to know that Rajendra Kumar was selling his Carter Road bungalow and decided to buy it. Rajesh Khanna believed that the string of successes that worked for Rajendra, could work for him too, if he bought the house.
After much bargaining, Rajendra Kumar decided to sell of the house for Rs.31.5 lakh. Rajesh Khanna wanted to name the house ‘Dimple’ as well but Rajendra was not in favor of it, as he had already named his Pali Hill Bungalow by the same name. So Rajesh after moving into the bungalow called it ‘Aashirwad’.
Rajesh Khanna’s belief about ‘good luck’ from the house, was not misplaced. The actor went on to become India’s biggest superstar back then. The house became a heritage site of sorts in Mumbai, with fans and love-stuck girls visiting the house in awe. Even Shah Rukh Khan’s ‘Mannat’ house has not seen the hysteria and popularity that ‘Aashirwad’ has seen. Rajesh Khanna’s bungalow was now surrounded by a sea of fans, thousands of fans, mostly girls, waiting for hours, to catch a glimpse of their heart-throb.
By a stroke of coincidence, Rajesh married his wife ‘Dimple’ and brought her in Aashirwad, which was formerly called ‘Dimple’. Aashirwad was the place where Rajesh Khanna would have his rounds of drinks with his friends (read sycophants). It was the same place where he had meeting with producers and directors who would think of ways to project him even more better for increased popularity.
Aashiwad saw Rajesh Khanna reaching dizzying heights of popularity. It also saw him falling into professional doom as his movies began to flop like a pack of cards. A lanky man called Amitabh Bachchan changed the definition of Bollywood and turned it from romance to action and masala. The fans were bored of Rajesh Khanna, he was suddenly passe; his wife and children left him and the women ditched him. He took to alcohol, with no work, no fans and certainly no sycophants who used his time of glory to make hay for themselves.
Rajesh Khanna who used to received hundreds of letters in blood by love-struck women, reached a point where there was not even a single bouquet for his birthday. Rajesh Khanna’s house truly became haunted for him, as he became lonely to the core. He would just go to his office in Linking Road to spend time and then go back home in the same bungalow, where he would sleep in a spare bedroom in the corner. He then fell sick and never recovered. The bungalow finally saw his wife and kids coming back. But it was too late, as Aashirwad also saw the exit of Rajesh Khanna from this world.