According to sources, Rajesh Khanna reportedly made his will just a month or so before his death on July 18 this year. His property is equally divided between his two daughters Twinkle Khanna Kumar and Rinke Khanna Saran. However, a day prior to Kaka’s death, members of his family reportedly received a legal notice from Anita Advani, the actor’s live-in-partner of around ten years. Anita’s contention in taking legal recourse is — “I will fight for what is my right.”
OVER TO ANITA:
For the record, what exactly was the nature of your relationship with Rajesh Khanna when he died?
I call myself his surrogate wife. I have lived-in with him at Aashirwad for around eight years. During this period, I took care of him like a wife would.
Then why did Kakaji not acknowledge you publicly?
I don’t know what you mean by public acknowledgement. We shopped together in Bandra. I was by his bedside when he was rushed to hospitals for his medical tests and people have seen us eating out together. We brought Ganesh home for a day-anda-half.I did a karva chauth for him. What more proof do I need to give?
It’s being said that in his will Kaka left everything to his two daughters. How can you ask for anything, especially since you are the outsider?
Who decides whether I’m the outsider or insider? I lived with him for nearly a decade. I was the insider then. During this time, I cared for him, took all his idiosyncrasies in my stride, refurbished Aashirwad with him because he wanted it to be made into a museum. I handled his kitchen... s I was by his side the entire time. Now I’m suddenly being labelled the outsider!
Who else was with him then?
Besides me there was Bala and three other staff members. Kakaji treated all of us like family. He always spoke of settling all of us comfortably because we were the ones who actually cared for him when no one else bothered about him. In May 2011, he took severely ill for the first time. I realised that something was amiss when his haemoglobin levels dropped. But I didn’t think he’d pass away so soon.
But one heard he had a premonition about his death!
Yes he did. He always said he would die at 70.
Why not ask him during his lifetime, for what you think is your rightful inheritance. Why raise the issue now?
I was in love with the man. I didn’t bring up the subject of money with him because I was never with him for his money. I lived in Aashirwad and he ran the house. His family came into the picture only in the last year or so. Initially everyone was nice to me. However when his end was near, and the subject of inheritance came up, the family wanted me out. I was thrown out of the bungalow; I wasn’t allowed to be on the truck that carried his body, I suddenly became an outcast. That’s why I’ve decided to fight my battle in court.
Are you asking for compensation because of their behaviour or you really think you deserve something?
As I said, I was his surrogate wife when he passed away. I knew of his wish to make Aashirwad a museum. I knew he would never have wanted the bungalow’s name to be changed. He was a fastidious man. Even if I changed the position of a pen on his table, he hated it. I know he will be heart-broken if the bungalow is not maintained as a museum. He talked of people climbing the staircase, looking at his pictures on the wall; noticing his trophies and everything around the house.
So you are only fighting to safeguard his last wish?
That, and I’m also asking for compensation for giving the man the best years of my life. If he were alive, then I would be happy to be around him. But now that he has gone and his kin have treated me badly, I feel the need to ask for what I think is my rightful share. My world has gone upside down because of his death. I don’t know whether I will ever be able to pick up the pieces of my life. Others came into his life only recently. I was always there for him through the loneliest and longest phase in his life.