Bollywood celebrities have time an again been our route to escape through the entertainment medium for decades. Despite the fact that the show must go on, we happen to chuck out on their problems that they have been secretly fighting. Over the years, cancer is one such battle where one has to deal with self and ulterior pressures that come with it. These are the heroes who inspire us to stay on the battlefield of life and come out victorious. From survivors to those who succumbed to this fatal illness, here are sixteen Bollywood personas who have carried the baggage of cancer.
Rakesh Roshan- Squamous cell carcinoma
Actor-filmmaker Rakesh Roshan has been diagnosed with early stage of squamous cell carcinoma, a type of throat cancer. The family has a cancer survivor in Sunaina Roshan, Hrithik’s sister. She fought cervical cancer and survived it. Apart from his acting career, Rakesh Roshan is known for directing films like “Kishen Kanhaiya”, “Karan Arjun”, “Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai”, “Koi… Mil Gaya” and the superhero “Krrish” film series.
Sonali Bendre- Metastatic Cancer
In a shocking turn of events, Bollywood actress Sonali Bendre revealed that she has been diagnosed with metastatic cancer. Bendre who is known for her roles in films like Hum Saath Saath Hain, Sarfarosh, Kal Ho Na Ho took to twitter in an emotional post. She is currently getting treated in New York.
Irrfan Khan- Neuroendocrine Cancer
Earlier this year, Irrfan Khan revealed he had been diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer. It was a shocking information for fans but the ‘Madari’ actor kept it together, stating, “It’s been quite some time now since I have been diagnosed with a high-grade neuroendocrine cancer. This new name in my vocabulary, I got to know, was rare, and due to fewer study cases, and less information comparatively, the unpredictability of the treatment was more. I was part of a trial-and-error game.”
Irrfan is still under recovery and will be seen in his upcoming film Karwaan alongside Mithila Palkar and Dilquer Salmaan.
Nargis Dutt- Pancreatic Cancer
Yesteryear’s actress Nargis Dutt ruled the Hindi cinema in 40s and 50s. She was married to legendary actor Sunil Dutt and was mom to Sanjay Dutt. After her cancer treatment in New York, she returned to India as her health was constantly deteriorating. She lost her battle with cancer a week before her son’s debut film Rocky.
Manisha Koirala- Ovarian Cancer
The gorgeous Nepali beauty, Manisha Koirala has given the film industry super hit films such as Dil Se, Bombay, and Lajja to name a few. At the age of 42, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer for which she got treated in New York. After several surgeries and chemo therapies, she was declared cancer-free in the year 2015. Manisha conquered her illness and came out of it like a true hero. Her recent flick was Sanjay Dutt’s biopic ‘Sanju’ where she played the role of late Nargis Dutt.
Anurag Basu- Blood Cancer
The ace director of Bollywood who has given some of the best flicks like Gangster, Life in a Metro and Barfi was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic Leukemia (a type of blood cancer) in 2004. Although the Doctors gave him a verdict of two months it did not shake Basu’s spirit and he made the recovery. His recent movie was ‘Jagga Jasoos’ starring Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif.
Lisa Ray- Blood Cancer
In 2009, the Indian-born actress was diagnosed with multiple Myeloma (another type of blood cancer). Ray kept herself away from any kind of media attention and fought her illness for over a year coming out victorious. In 2010, she made a public announcement saying that she had a full stem cell replacement and was cancer-free, but, not fully cured as this disease is treatable but not curable.
Mumtaz- Breast Cancer
This evergreen Bollywood actress won many hearts with her beauty and charismatic performances in movies such as Do Raaste, Chor Machaye Shor, Aag, Khilona, Aadmi aur Insaan, Upaasna and so on. At the age of 54 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She fought the disease for 11 years and made sure it did not get the better of her. She was also featured in the UniGlobe Entertainments documentary on cancer survival called ‘1 Minute’.
Veteran Bollywood actor and filmmaker Feroz Khan, died of cancer at the age of 69. He was undergoing treatment at Breach Candy hospital in Mumbai, but had expressed his desire to visit his farmhouse in Bangalore, where he took his last breath. Khan, who had acted in hit films like “Qurbani” and “Jaanbaaz” in the 1980s, is survived by his actor son Fardeen Khan, daughter Laila and estranged wife Sundari. His last appearance was in the 2007 hit “Welcome.”
This legendary Indian actor was the ‘First Superstar of Indian Cinema’ during his era. He has delivered some of the best films such as Aradhana, Amar Prem, Bawarchi, Anand and Namak Haram to name a few. He was diagnosed with cancer in the year 2011. After fighting for about a year, he passed away in 2012.
Another name in the list of Indian celebrities who died of cancer is ace music composer and singer Aadesh Shrivastava. He fought for 40 days but sadly passed away at the age of 51.
Vinod Khanna- Advanced Bladder Cancer
There is no doubt that Vinod Khanna was one of the most desirable men in India Cinema during 70s & 80s era. Some of his best works include, Imtihan, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, and Hera Pheri to name a few. He left us at the age of 70 after being diagnosed with advanced bladder cancer.
Kamaal Rashid Khan- Stomach Cancer
Kamaal Rashid Khan aka KRK has always taken everyone off-guard with his harsh criticism on films, garnering attention and always being in the eyes of the media. What shook everyone however, was when he shared that he was suffering from first stage stomach cancer. In a short press release posted from the Twitter account KRKBOXOFFICE, the critic had written, “Perfect and 100% final and accurate reports got by 3rd Hospital. I am having only 1st Stage Cancer. According to Doctors I will be 100% perfect within 6 months. It’s proof that don’t trust doctors without checking at 2-3 hospitals! Thank to all of you for Good Wishes.”
Noted film and Marathi theatre actor Rasika Joshi passed away in 2011 at the age of 39. Joshi, who was suffering from cancer, died at a nursing home in suburban Bandra. Rasika gained immense popularity with the character in ‘Bandini’ and even after going through serious illness; the actress was positive and optimistic. She has also acted in Bollywood films including ”Malamal Weekly”, ”Ek Hasina Thi” and ”Bhul-Bhullaiyya”.
Yesteryear Bollywood actress and costume designer Simple Kapadia succumbed to cancer in 2009. The 51-year-old actress was Dimple Kapadia’s younger sister, who made her debut in the film Anurodh, with her brother-in-law, actor Rajesh Khanna. She quit acting in 1986 and returned to Bollywood as a costume designer. She also bagged a national award for best costume design for the film Rudaali.
Tom Alter- Skin Cancer
Veteran theatre and film personality Tom Alter had lost his battle against stage four skin cancer at the age of 67. Did you know that Sachin Tendulkar’s first ever television interview was taken by Tom Alter? He is best known for his role in the children’s favourite show ‘Shaktimaan’ but has also delivered popular television stints included Bharat Ek Khoj, Zabaan Sambhalke and Betaal Pachisi. Tom was a Padma Shri award holder as well.