Legendary Bollywood film actor, Vinod Khanna, who died on Thursday at the age of 70 in Mumbai after protracted illness, had roots in Peshawar.
“Vinod Khanna was the son of Mehr Chand Khanna, a prominent businessman and former minister from Congress Party. He was born in Peshawar on Oct 6, 1946 at Sardar area in the Cantonment’s jurisdiction,” Mohammad Ibrahim Zia, a known film historian from Peshawar, said.
Mr Zia said that he had met Vinod Khanna in 2014 during a visit to India being a member of the delegation which went to enquire after the top Indian film industry legend, Dilip Kumar, who also belonged to Peshawar.
“During the visit, we had a meeting with Vinod Khanna in New Delhi, who was very happy over reunion with people of his birthplace (Peshawar),” he recalled.
He said that Mehr Chand Khanna was a well-off person of Peshawar and had migrated to India in 1947. At the time of migration, Vinod Khanna was an infant, but he had love for the city of his birth.
Mr Zia recalled that in late 1990s during a function held in Dubai Vinod Khanna had announced on the stage with pride that he was a ‘Peshawari’.
He said that the ancestral home of Vinod Khanna was intact and presently in use of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter of All Pakistan Women’s Association.
During the meeting with Vinod Khanna, Zia recalled, the delegation presented him gifts, including ‘Peshawari Chappal’ (sandals) and traditional dress, which he accepted very happily. Mr Zia added that he also presented a copy of his book, Peshawar Kay Funkar (The Artists of Peshawar), to the legend star.
Originally published in Dawn, April 28th, 2017