All superstars know there will come a time when somebody attains more important than them. Superstardom is a temporary position obtained by few and very difficult to maintain. Rajesh Khanna was notably India's first superstar to see the endless and glorious extent of success. However, he too had to at some point step down and hand over the reins to another.
In the 1970s Rajesh Khanna was still going strong, but his behaviour on set had begun to change. In 1972 on the sets of Bawarchi after an incident, Jaya Bachchan had told him that his superstardom would be short-lived and very soon he would not be as popular as he once was. Interestingly, after that Rajesh Khanna was shaken by her words when he saw the change in people's behaviour towards him.
Jaya Bachchan's prediction of the Rajesh Khanna's superstardom coming to an end
Superstardom is what all celebrities aspire for. That kind of love and adulation is something many stars are unable to achieve in a lifetime let alone that early in their career like Rajesh Khanna did. His stardom and fanfare were unprecedented and unheard of in Bollywood. No star could shake his pedestal, especially with 15 consecutive hits under his belt.
However, in the early 1970s, Rajesh Khanna's behaviour had turned haughty on sets as he began throwing tantrums, turning up late on set and treating junior artists with little respect. But, there was one instance when Rajesh Khanna received backlash.
On the sets of Bawarchi in 1972, Rajesh Khanna was playing the lead opposite Jaya Bachchan. Amitabh Bachchan would often come on sets to visit Jaya and this perturbed Rajesh Khanna. According to writer Ali Peter John, unhappy that Amitabh would come during shoots frequently, the superstar told him off.
Jaya Bachchan was extremely upset over the whole situation and she couldn't stop herself from giving Rajesh Khanna a piece of her mind. She told him, "The man that you're making fun of? Just wait and watch, this weak man will be a bigger star than you one day." Rajesh Khanna didn't have anything to say to that.
Eventually, because of his callous behaviour, directors and producers began cutting ties with him and the actor was not on the best of terms with the film fraternity. His charms also wore off fans slowly, and when he was attending an event in Mumbai, fans had crowded around Amitabh Bachchan showering him with praise and asking for his autograph. Watching this, Rajesh Khanna was disappointed and reportedly he cried that night thinking over Jaya Bachchan's words.
Regardless, even though the world lost Rajesh Khanna in 2012, his legacy and body of work live on.