In his sad death Wednesday, yesteryears superstar Rajesh Khanna breathed cinematic life into the proceedings of the Goa legislative assembly which has convened for the monsoon session. Legislators Thursday jostled and even tried to out-sing each other while discussing a condolence motion that was tabled to mourn the actor's death.
The Amritsar-born Rajesh Khanna died Wednesday at his Bandra residence in Mumbai after suffering from liver infection. He was 69.
Vishnu Wagh, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator from St Andre, set the ball rolling by moving the condolence motion and singing Rajesh Khanna's famous song "Nafrat ki duniya chhod kar, pyaar ki duniya mein, khush rehna mere yaar", sung by Mohammad Rafi, from "Haathi Mere Saathi".
The legislator, who is also a celebrated poet and dramatist, also recounted stories of the superstar and starry-eyed women pursuing him across the country.
"When women saw his car parked nearby, they would line it with kisses all across the wind screen and the windows," Wagh said.
"I still remember that when newspapers reported that Rajesh Khanna had a fever, women would hold a cold compress or run ice cubes over his forehead (in posters and photos). This was the craze for this man when he was at the peak," Wagh said.
Not to be outdone, another BJP legislator from Sanguem Subhash Phaldesai belted out a dialogue from another of Rajesh Khanna's iconic films "Anand", where the actor, who plays a terminally ill patient, expounds on the importance of living life well, instead of leading a longer life.
Rajesh Khanna, once a member of parliament and a Congressman, seemed to have brought out the best from the BJP legislators, as three more MLAs either sang their way through the condolence motion or spouted Rajesh Khanna's film dialogues, some stumbling, some with elan.
Power Minister Mahadev Naik in fact asked his other colleagues in the House to organise a 'mehfil' for legislators where Rajesh Khanna's songs could be recited by them.
Naik himself sang "Chal chal chal mere haathi" from "Haathi Mere Saathi", before he said "mhunn mure", urging the rest of the legislators to sing.
BJP MLAs Kiran Kandolkar from Thivim and Pramod Sawant from Sanquelim, too, recited dialogues from "Anand" in tribute to the actor.
The Goa legislative assembly passed the motion unanimously and a summary of the speeches by the members of the House would be officially communicated to the members of the deceased actor's family.