Bollywood & Indian Celebs Who Fought Cancer: Some Survived & Some Succumbed

Cancer doesn’t discriminate between the rich & the poor, between the celebrities and the common man, it strikes them all. The latest Bollywood celebrity to have succumbed to the disease is noted Bollywood composer ‘Aadesh Shrivastava’.

Here we take a look at Bollywood & Indian celebrities who battled cancer, some were fortunate to survive, but some weren’t.

Irrfan Khan

“I trust, I’ve surrendered, irrespective of the outcome,” says Irrfan Khan on his battle against cancer. Bollywood fraternity pours in support for the actor.

I had been in a different game, I was travelling on a speedy train ride, had dreams, plans, aspirations, goals, was fully engaged in them. And suddenly someone taps on my shoulder and I turn to see. It’s the TC: “Your destination is about to come. Please get down.” I am confused: “No, no. My destination hasn’t come.” “No, this is it. This is how it is sometimes,” Irrfan Khan.

In a Twitter post, Khan said “he and his family were jolted by the knowledge of the illness, and requested his fans and followers to not “speculate” about his health. “Sometimes you wake up with a jolt with life shaking you up. The last fifteen days, my life has been a suspense story. Little had I known that my search for rare stories would make me find a rare disease. I have never given up and have always fought for my choices and always will. In trying times, please don’t speculate as I will myself share with you my story within a week-ten days, when the further investigations come with a conclusive diagnosis. Till then, wish the best for me”.

Vinod Khanna

Bollywood’s original ‘hunk’ Vinod Khanna died of gall-bladder cancer.

Vinod Khanna died of cancer

Tom Alter

Padma Shri Tom Alter, renowned actor and writer, died of cancer. Tom, one-time sports writer and author had been battling skin cancer. Tom was the first person to interview Sachin Tendulkar on Television when the cricketer was yet to debut for India.

Aadesh Shrivastava

Aadesh had composed songs for films like ‘Chalte Chalte’, ‘Baabul’, ‘Baghban’, ‘Kabhie Khushi Kabhie Gham’ and ‘Rajneeti’ among others (he would compose only one or two songs in most movies), and also sang a number of songs including ‘Sona sona’, ‘Shava shava’, ‘Gustakhiyaan’ and ‘Gur nalon ishq mitha’.

Aadesh was diagnosed with Cancer 5 years back, after prolonged medication his condition did improve, but unfortunately for him, the disease relapsed and caused his death.

Burdened with heavy medical bills, Aadesh apparently had to sell his hummer in order to get his finances back in shape. The composer was very close to ‘Big B’, who used to regularly check on his health.

‘Suno na Suno na’ from the movie ‘Chalte Chalte’, composed by Aadesh Shrivastava.

Anurag Basu

Anurag Basu, director of ‘Barfi’ literally came back from the death bed. In the year 2004, doctors gave him two months to live when he was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic Leukemia (a type of blood cancer). However, it hardly ruffled Anurag, who carried on with his work, from his hospital bed. He also wrote scripts for ‘Life in a Metro’ and ‘Gangster’ during this ordeal. Now that is really inspiring!

Barfi songs

Manisha Koirala

The beautiful Manisha Koirala was diagnosed with ovarian cancer when she was 42 years old. Despite being an actress, she boldly posted her pictures during chemotherapy (despite her hair loss), from the New York hospital where she was battling the disease. Manisha is determined to use her experience & celebrity status to inspire people fighting against cancer.

Ek Ladki Ko Dekha To Aisa Laga from 1942: A Love Story

Yuvraj Singh

Once of the most dashing Indian batsman of all time, Yuvraj successfully battled serinoma (rare type of killer cancer), which had caused tumor growth between his heart and lung.

Yuvraj recovered from the deadly disease, and after receiving the Arjuna Award, he even made a comeback to cricket by playing Twenty20 match against New Zealand. In his book titled ‘The Test of My Life’, Yuvraj Singh has shared his experience dealing with cancer and has provided hope to thousands who’re battling the disease.

Yuvraj Singh hits Six Sixes in Six Balls of Stuart Broad.

Feroz Khan

Feroz Khan, who was last seen in ‘Welcome’, and would probably have been cast in ‘Welcome Back’ as well had he been alive, died at the age of 69 after a long fight with cancer.

The Bollywood actor (and filmmaker) was once dubbed “the Clint Eastwood of the East” because of his maverick roles and manly swagger.

As a producer and director, he made ‘Dharmatma’ (known for its exotic filming locations and melodious songs), the first Hindi-language movie made on location in Afghanistan.

Kya Khub Lagti Ho from Dharmatma

Lisa Ray

Bollywood Actor ‘Lisa Ray’, who was diagnosed with Cancer is now the ‘Face’ of Insight Vacations. Lisa Ray was also the host of Top Chef Canada.

Lisa Ray was diagnosed with multiple Myeloma in 2009, but since then, has successfully managed to win her battle against cancer. In 2010, Lisa bravely announced to the world that she was free of cancer after the successful treatment involving stem cell transplant.

Lisa Ray, who has acted in a several Bollywood films & TV shows will be the new face of Insight Vacations. The Bollywood actress and philanthropist will be the new Global Brand Ambassador and will become the face of the company’s “Exotics and Gold Collections”.

“Rang Rang Mere” song from the film “Bollywood Hollywood”, directed by Deepa Mehta, starring Rahul Khanna and Lisa Ray.

Lisa ray is of course happy. “I’m pleased to be Insight Vacations’ first ever Global Brand Ambassador since I’ve been an avid traveler and nomad for most of my life – having lived in several continents – yet, my recent experiences with Insight have given me a unique perspective on travel,” said Ms Ray.

Insight Vacations’ Exotics and Gold Collections offers a selection of luxury itineraries in India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Morocco. The company takes care of all the hassles of modern travel and is the best way to truly experience a new country.


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  1. Rossana Rosalba