Poonam Dhillon was in 8th standard back then.
Poonam Dhillon was cast opposite Rajesh Khanna for the first time in the 1980 psychological thriller Red Rose.
Bollywood actress Poonam Dhillon is one of the earliest beauty pageant winners who successfully transitioned to acting, along with the likes of Zeenat Aman and Parveen Babi. Known for her girl-next-door image and her beauty, she has appeared in a lot of films during her career, starring opposite the top league of leading men, which also includes Rajesh Khanna. She was cast opposite Rajesh Khanna for the first time in the 1980 psychological thriller Red Rose. However, it was not on the sets of the film that she met the actor for the first time. In an interview earlier, she revealed her first meeting with Rajesh Khanna which makes for an interesting read.
As stated by her, Poonam Dhillon first saw Rajesh Khanna when she was in school. She was in 8th standard when word spread around that Rajesh Khanna was shooting for a film in the vicinity of the school. Needless to say, all the children were very excited as he was a superstar at that time. However, Poonam had no inkling of the actor’s stardom as she had not watched a single movie of his at that point. Poonam’s family was conservative and not into movies.
She stated in the interview that she had just watched three films in her life till that point, which were Guddi, Mera Naam Joker and Dosti. However, since her friends told her that Rajesh Khanna was a big star, she tagged along with them to the shooting site in her school uniform itself.
When she was standing among the other girls in the crowd, Rajesh Khanna left her speechless by singling her out from the crowd, pointing at her and asking her to come forward. Once she did that Rajesh Khanna complimented her saying she had beautiful eyes. Later, during the filming of Red Rose, she even reminded Rajesh Khanna about their first meeting.