My Encounter with ‘Shera’

It was sometime in May 1977 when during my visit to a relative in a small town of Amalner (near Jalgaon), I watched Khoon Pasina – a movie starring Amitabh Bachchcan and Vinod Khanna.

As a 10-year old and with limited exposure to movie-watching, while Amitabh was a well-known name and face (thanks to my parents allowing me to watch Zanjeer and Sholay), not many other actors were a known commodity.

So, while sitting on a bakda (wooden benches) in dilapidated theatre in Amalner watching Khoon Pasina, it was my first meeting with a man called Vinod Khanna in a character called Shera. And it was adulation at first sight. That well-built Punjabi look, the intense eyes and dialogue-delivery in a bit of a drawl etched the character of Shera permanently in my heart.

And so began my affair with the legend called Vinod Khanna!!

The relationship that started with ‘Khoon Pasina’ in Amalner continued with the handsome policeman in Amar Akbar Anthony, the gangster in Qurbani, the lawyer in Mukaddar ka Sikandar, and the engineer in The Burning Train.  And then came Dayavan, where he outperformed himself to play the role of a don based on the life of Vardarajan Mudaliar.

However, some of his better work was much before he became a star.  In the 1973 movie ‘Achanak’, he portrayed the role of a man on the run with amazing intensity.  Years later, I still recall the scene, where after killing his wife, he had kept her head in his lap and was waiting for the police to arrive.  The look in his eyes was just unforgettable.

Shera, we will miss you! Rest in peace!!

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