Vinod Khanna was at the peak of his career when he left everything to follow Osho Rajneesh and started living in Oregon at Rajneesh’s ashram. A few years later, when the ashram collapsed, Vinod came back and restarted his career but the family that he had left behind, his first wife Gitanjali and his sons Akshaye and Rahul, were still here. Vinod reconnected with his children but he was still looking for love. It was during this time that he accidentally met Kavita at a party, and just couldn’t stop thinking about her.
Vinod and Kavita came from different worlds. He was a movie star who was loved by millions, and she was a barrister, who was highly educated, yet they bumped into each other at a party at Khanna’s house where Kavita was just tagging along with a few friends. It wasn’t love at first sight as they didn’t even speak to each other but Vinod knew that there was something here so he called her the next day. “She kept ignoring my calls,” he recalled on Simi Garewal’s show as she interrupted and said that she wasn’t “ignoring” his calls just for the sake of it.
“I didn’t ignore his calls. He asked me out and I said, ‘Vinod, I don’t mind having you as a friend but forget about going out for dinner, my going to a party with you or anything like that,” she recalled and when asked the reason behind the same, Kavita said she fully understood “what would follow if I went out on a date with Vinod, you know what the implications of that were” and she did not want that.
But Vinod was persistent. He might not have been a lover boy on screen but Vinod was just that in real life as he would call her five times a day, and they would talk for hours. They were still not going out but would occasionally meet at a few parties. Kavita recognised the friendship they shared, but her logical mind did not allow her to give in.
One day, when she was going for a run, Kavita called Vinod and asked him if he wanted to join her. He said yes and by her own admission. “I went to his house, fetched him and we went jogging and then after that, we were just together every day till the day we got married,” she said.
But marriage was another discussion altogether as Vinod had decided to never get married again. In fact, he had made it very clear to her that they wouldn’t get married which made Kavita’s family question the status of their relationship. “I did this against the advice of everyone, family, friends. They said you are 28. You are with someone who is so high profile. He has told you he doesn’t want to marry you so what do you think you are doing?” But it didn’t matter “because I enjoyed being with him so much.”
Vinod changed his mind as he spent more time with Kavita and fell more deeply in love with her. He proposed to her out of the blue after a game of badminton and she instantly said yes. She recalled during the interview, “He was in his shorts all hot and sweaty and we were sitting together and he asked me ‘would you like to get married?’” Kavita thought this was a “philosophical, abstract question” and answered truthfully. “I said yes because I did want to be married. Then he said ‘will you marry me?’ and without thinking ‘I said yes’ and that was it,” she recalled.
Vinod and Kavita were married for 27 years, until he passed away in 2017.