Bhanurekha Ganesan (born 10 October 1954), higher identified by her stage title Rekha, is an Indian actress who seems predominantly in Hindi movies. Acknowledged as one of many best actresses in Indian cinema,[2] she has starred in additional than 180 movies and is the recipient of a number of accolades, together with one Nationwide Movie Award and three Filmfare Awards. She has typically performed robust and sophisticated feminine characters—from fictional to literary—in each mainstream and unbiased movies. Although her profession has gone by means of sure durations of decline, Rekha has gained a repute for reinventing herself quite a few instances and has been credited for her means to maintain her standing. In 2010, the Authorities of India honoured her with Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian honour.

The daughter of actors Pushpavalli and Gemini Ganesan, Rekha began her profession as a toddler actress in Telugu movies Inti Guttu (1958) and Rangula Ratnam (1966). Her first movie as a lead occurred with the Kannada film Operation Jackpot Nalli C.I.D 999 (1969). Her Hindi debut with Sawan Bhadon (1970) established her as a rising star, however regardless of the success of a number of of her early movies, she was typically panned within the press for her seems and weight. Motivated by criticism, she began engaged on her look and put effort into bettering her performing method and command of the Hindi language, leading to a well-publicised transformation. Early recognition in 1978 for her performances in Ghar and Muqaddar Ka Sikandar marked the start of essentially the most profitable interval of her profession, and he or she was one in every of Hindi cinema’s main stars by means of a lot of the Eighties and early Nineteen Nineties.

For her efficiency within the comedy Khubsoorat (1980), Rekha obtained her first Filmfare Award for Finest Actress. She adopted it with roles in Baseraa (1981), Ek Hello Bhool (1981), Jeevan Dhaara (1982) and Agar Tum Na Hote (1983). Whereas principally prolific in common Hindi cinema, throughout this time she ventured into parallel cinema, a motion of neo-realist arthouse movies. These movies included dramas reminiscent of Kalyug (1981), Vijeta (1982) and Utsav (1984), and her portrayal of a classical courtesan in Umrao Jaan (1981) gained her the Nationwide Movie Award for Finest Actress. After a brief setback within the mid Eighties, she was among the many actresses who led a brand new pattern of women-centred revenge movies, beginning with Khoon Bhari Maang (1988), for which she gained a second Finest Actress award at Filmfare.

Her work was a lot much less prolific in subsequent many years. Her roles in early Nineteen Nineties principally met with lukewarm evaluations. In 1996, she performed towards kind within the position of an underworld don within the motion thriller Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi (1996), for which she gained a 3rd Filmfare Award within the Finest Supporting Actress class, and additional appeared in Kama Sutra: A Story of Love (1996) and Aastha: Within the Jail of Spring (1997) to vital acclaim however some public scrutiny. Through the 2000s, she was praised for her supporting roles within the 2001 dramas Zubeidaa and Lajja, and began enjoying mom roles, amongst which was her position within the science fiction Koi… Mil Gaya (2003) and its superhero sequel Krrish (2006), each industrial successes. The lattermost emerged as her highest-grossing launch.

Aside from performing, Rekha has served as a member for the Rajya Sabha since 2012. Her non-public life and public picture have been the topic of frequent media curiosity and dialogue. Her pairing reverse Amitabh Bachchan beginning within the Nineteen Seventies in a lot of profitable movies was accompanied by hypothesis a few love affair between the 2, culminating of their starring movie Silsila (1981), which was reflective of media projections. Her solely marriage to the Delhi-based industrialist and tv producer Mukesh Agarwal in March 1990 ended seven months later when he died by suicide. Her public picture has typically been tied to her perceived intercourse enchantment. Rekha is reluctant to provide interviews or focus on her life, which resulted in her being labelled a recluse.

Adolescence and work

A picture featuring Rekha as an infant in the 1950s.

Rekha as an toddler, Fifties. She was born to Gemini Ganesan and Pushpavalli, each had been South Indian actors

Rekha was born Bhanurekha Ganesan in Madras (present-day Chennai) on 10 October 1954 to South Indian actors Gemini Ganesan and Pushpavalli, when the couple had been single.[3][4] Ganesan was beforehand married to T. R. “Bobjima” Aramelu and had 4 kids: the Illinois-based radiation oncologist Revathi Swaminathan, the gynecologist Kamala Selvaraj, The Occasions of India‘s journalist Narayani Ganesan, and the medical physician Jaya Shreedhar.[5][6] He had two extra kids with actress Savitri—Vijaya Chamundeswari, a health knowledgeable, and Sathish Kumaar.[6][7][8] In the meantime, Pushpavalli had two kids (Babuji and Rama) from her earlier marriage to the lawyer I. V. Rangachari.[9] Gemini and Pushpavalli had one other daughter, Radha (born 1955).[10][11] Nagaprasad and the actress Shubha are her cousins, whereas Vedantam Raghavaiah and his spouse Suryaprabha are her uncle and aunt, respectively.[12] Rekha’s mom tongue is Telugu,[13] and he or she is fluent in Hindi and English, having revealed she thinks within the latter.[14]

Rekha didn’t reveal her household background till mid-Nineteen Seventies.[15][16] Throughout her unstable childhood, her relationship along with her father Gemini was poor. Gemini didn’t wish to acknowledge her as his daughter and gave her a dwelling.[17][18] He hardly ever met each of his kids with Pushpavalli, who subsequently married Ok. Prakash, a cinematographer from Madras, and he or she legally modified her title to Ok. Pushpavalli. She gave beginning to 2 extra kids, Dhanalakshmi (who later married to the actor Tej Sapru) and the dancer Seshu (died 21 Could 1991).[19][20] Because of her mom’s hectic performing schedule on the time, Rekha would typically keep along with her grandmother. Requested in an interview by Simi Garewal about her father, Rekha believed he was by no means even conscious of her existence.[21] She recalled that her mom typically spoke about him and added that regardless of by no means having lived with him, she felt his presence all by means of.[21][22] Even so, the connection began to enhance 5 years after Pushpavalli died in 1991.[20] He informed a Cine Blitz interviewer of his happiness about this and acknowledged, “Rekha and I’ve such rapport. We’re actually shut.”[23] He died in 2005.[24]

Rekha was one 12 months outdated when she performed a small position within the Telugu-language drama Inti Guttu.[25] Directed by Vedantam Raghavaiah, the movie was launched in late 1958 and have become a industrial success.[26] She was enrolled at a kindergarten when she was on the age of three and subsequent joined the Presentation Convent College in Madras throughout her adolescence.[27][28] She additionally met Narayani, Gemini and Aramelu’s second daughter,[29][30] on the faculty when the latter was round 9 or ten years outdated.[28] At all times an ungainly and lonely woman, she admitted that she skilled childhood weight problems. In a 1990 interview to The Illustrated Weekly of India, she referred to as herself as “the fattest woman within the faculty”. On this interval, she developed a love for dances and sports activities, though by no means participated in them on account of her weight.[27] Due to this, she was bullied by a lot of her schoolmates, who referred to as her lotta (Tamil for “bastard”).[28] Rekha, describing herself as a “agency believer” in God and future, used to spend her time on the faculty’s chapel.[27] One other transient display position got here with the discharge of Rangula Ratnam (1966)—a political satire which was common among the many viewers[31]—co-starring Pushpavalli and sister Radha.[22][32]

Based on her biographer Yasser Usman, Rekha was requested by Pushpavalli to start out an performing profession when their household confronted monetary troubles in 1968, because the latter was certain that it might assist them.[21][33] Though by no means had curiosity for performing, Rekha (who was initially aspired to be a flight attendant)[34] obeyed her want and, on the age of 13 to 14—whereas she was in ninth grade—she dropped out from faculty to start out a full-time profession in performing;[33][a] she later regretted not having accomplished her schooling.[36] A protecting sister, she didn’t let her youthful sister Radha to hitch her, as a result of she wished Radha to complete hers.[21]

Movie profession

Early roles (1968–1970)

“Bombay was like a jungle, and I had walked in unarmed. It was one of the horrifying phases of my life… I used to be completely unaware of the methods of this new world. Guys did attempt to benefit from my vulnerability… Each single day I cried, as a result of I needed to eat what I did not like, put on loopy garments with sequins and stuff poking into my physique. Costume jewelry would give me an absolute horrible allergy. Hair spray would not go off for days even regardless of all my washing. I used to be pushed, actually dragged from one studio to a different. A horrible factor to do to a 13-year-old little one.”

 —Rekha on her first go to to Bombay, 1990[21]

In late 1968, the Nairobi-based businessman Kuljeet Pal visited Gemini Studios to look a newcomer for his new challenge Anjana Safar (an adaption of H. Rider Haggard’s 1885 novel King Solomon’s Mines). He noticed Rekha on the studio and solid her because the movie’s second feminine lead after Vanisri. Pal went to Pushpavalli’s home to provide Rekha a display check, dictating a lot of sentences in Hindi, which had been rewrote by Rekha in Latin script, after which informed her to memorize it. Just a few moments later, Rekha stated the sentences fully and Pal was impressed of her native Hindi-speaker-like voice. He gave her a five-year contract to star in 4 movies from him and his brother Shatrujeet Pal every.[37]

Rekha moved to Bombay (present-day Mumbai) in 1969 and rented a room on the Resort Ajanta within the metropolis’s neighbourhood Juhu, with Pal paying off the price.[38] Additionally that 12 months, she introduced her debut to public and the media, and the profitable Kannada movie Operation Jackpot Nalli C.I.D 999 with Dr. Rajkumar, the place she options as a lead for the primary time, was launched.[18][39] In Anjana Safar, directed by Raja Nawathe, she performed Sunita, a girl pressured by her father to journey to Africa searching for a hidden treasure. She was paid 25,000 (US$330) for her work.[40]

Since her mom fell sick on the time, Rekha was accompanied by her aunt to the taking pictures, which began in August that 12 months at Mehboob Studio. An issue arose round a kissing scene that includes Rekha and male lead Biswajit Chatterjee, of which she was not notified as Nawathe wished to keep up her pure response.[41] In later years, Rekha complained at having been tricked into the scene.[42] The movie bumped into censorship issues and wouldn’t be launched till 1979, when it was retitled Do Shikaari.[43] The kissing scene made it to the duvet of the Asian version of Life journal in April 1970.[44][45] This prompted the American journalist James Shephard to journey to India to interview Rekha, which she noticed as a chance to spice up her profession and specific her grievance.[46] Do Shikaari underperformed on the field workplace.[47]

Quickly after her transfer in 1969 to Bombay, Rekha was signed by the producer and director Mohan Sehgal for his movie, Sawan Bhadon, and the filming began on 11 October. He solid her as Chanda, a village woman who doesn’t obtain approval from her mother and father to marry her lover (Navin Nischol). Though her hair was already lengthy and thick, Sehgal pressured her to put on a wig. Therefore, it didn’t match on her hair and her hairdressers needed to shave her hair to virtually bald. She was not fluent in Hindi on the time and a lot of the movie’s crew mocked her for having South Indian background.[48] Marking her Hindi debut, Sawan Bhadon was launched in September 1970 and have become a industrial success.[49][50] Movie reviewers scorned her seems, however complimented her confidence and comedian timing within the movie.[51] Manoj Das believed that “embarrassment” was proven on Nischol’s face in each scenes with Rekha,[52] and Movie World journal famous the movie’s success was a breakthrough for her profession.[53] Amma Kosam, a Telugu drama from the director Kolli Pratyagatma, was launched ultimately of the 12 months, and he or she devoted it to her mom.[54][55]

Work within the Nineteen Seventies (1971–1977)

Rekha subsequently obtained a number of gives however nothing of substance, as her roles had been principally simply of a glamour woman.[35][56] She was extremely prolific throughout the decade, engaged on common in ten movies a 12 months, most of which had been deemed potboilers and did not propel her profession ahead by way of roles and appreciation.[57] She appeared in a number of commercially profitable movies on the time, together with Raampur Ka Lakshman (1972), Kahani Kismat Ki (1973), and Pran Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaye (1974), but she was not regarded for her performing skills and—based on the creator Tejaswini Ganti—”the business was shocked by her success as her darkish complexion, plump determine, and garish clothes contradicted the norms of magnificence prevalent within the movie business and in society.”[35][18] In 1975, she seems within the conflict movie Aakraman as Rakesh Roshan’s spouse Sheetal, a job Qurratulain Hyder thought was cliché and the critic labelled her “a garments horse”.[58] Randhir Kapoor’s Dharam Karam is a drama a few hoodlum and Hyperlink journal famous that Rekha is essentially the most “pathetic” half from the movie.[59] The mafia movie Dharmatma was her solely monetary success of the 12 months.[60][61] Directed by and starring Feroz Khan, the movie noticed her within the a part of Anu, Khan’s childhood sweetheart.[62]

Rekha recollects that the way in which she was perceived at the moment motivated her to vary her look and enhance her alternative of roles: “I used to be referred to as the [ugly duckling] of Hindi movies due to my darkish complexion and South Indian options. I used to really feel deeply damage when folks in contrast me with the main heroines of the time and stated I used to be no match for them. I used to be decided to make it massive on sheer benefit.”[63] The mid-Nineteen Seventies marked the start of her bodily transformation. She began taking note of her make-up, costume sense, and labored to enhance her performing method and excellent her Hindi-language abilities for 3 months.[64] To shed weight, she adopted a nutritious food regimen, led a daily, disciplined life, and practised yoga, later recording albums to advertise bodily health. Based on Khalid Mohamed, “The viewers was floored when there was a swift change in her display persona, in addition to her fashion of performing.”[65] Rekha started selecting her movie roles with extra care.[66][67]

Rekha’s first performance-oriented position got here in 1976 when she performed Amitabh Bachchan’s bold and grasping spouse in Do Anjaane;[66] it might be her first of many appearances with the actor.[21] Her position is Rekha Roy, the spouse of Bachchan’s character who turns into a longtime actress. Capturing happened in Calcutta (present-day Kolkata) and was completed inside a month; Rekha and the opposite solid and crew would stayed on the Grand Resort.[68] An adaptation of Nihar Ranjan Gupta’s novel Ratrir Yatri, the movie—directed by Dulal Guha and scripted by Nabendu Ghosh—was common among the many viewers and critics.[18] Movie World wrote that she has proved herself as a number one actress in Hindi cinema as filmmakers had began taking extra discover of her and turn into extra eager to solid her of their movies.[69] She remarked that it was troublesome to face in entrance of Bachchan, talking of how she felt paranoid after she knew that he would star reverse her within the movie.[21] She acknowledged that he contributed to “dramatic adjustments” in her life and was an enormous affect in her maturity, and described him “[someone] I would by no means seen earlier than”.[21][70]

1977 was the third 12 months when Rekha was consecutively gained one industrial success; the motion crime Khoon Pasina emerged because the sixth-highest-grossing Indian movie of the 12 months.[71] In the identical 12 months, she starred within the comedy-drama Aap Ki Khatir, reverse Vinod Khanna and Nadira. Her position because the poor woman gained her awards from a lot of movie journalists’ associations.[72] In a retrospective evaluation for The Hindu, the game journalist and movie critic Vijay Lokapally presumed that Rekha’s position was difficult for her and appreciated her chemistry with Khanna; a Hyperlink reviewer praised its social themes.[73][74] Movie World awarded her with the Finest Actress trophy for her work in Immaan Dharam, an motion movie that obtained combined vital evaluations.[75] It options her as Durga, a Tamilian labourer who falls for the thief Mohan Kumar-Saxena (Shashi Kapoor).[72][76] Cine Blitz praised Rekha for proving her expertise in performing.[77]

Turning level, stardom, and parallel cinema (1978–1984)

Rekha’s turning level got here in 1978, along with her portrayal of a rape sufferer within the social drama Ghar.[78] She performs Aarti, a newly married girl who will get gravely traumatized after being gang-raped. The movie follows her character’s battle and traumatised with the assistance of her husband (Vinod Mehra).[79] The movie was thought-about her first notable milestone,[35] and her efficiency was acclaimed by each critics and audiences.[27][80] Dinesh Raheja elaborated, “Ghar heralded the arrival of a mature Rekha. Her archetypal jubilance was changed by her very practical portrayal…”[43] She obtained her first nomination for Finest Actress on the Filmfare Awards.[18] In that very same 12 months, her one other launch, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, emerged as the most important hit of that 12 months, in addition to one of many largest hits of the last decade, and Rekha was set as one of the profitable actresses of those instances.[81] The movie opened to a optimistic vital reception,[82] and Rekha’s transient position as a tawaif named Zohrabai earned her a Finest Supporting Actress nomination on the Filmfare.[18][83] M. L. Dhawan of The Tribune famous her “smouldering depth”.[79] Rekha recalled this section as a interval of self-discovery.[84] Different movies that 12 months embrace Karmayogi.[85]

Following Do Anjaane, hypothesis a few love affair along with her co-star Amitabh Bachchan generated.[21] Filmmakers on the time noticed this as a chance to publicise their movies by exploiting their alleged affair on-screen, as carried out in Mr. Natwarlal and Suhaag—each 1979 releases.[86] In Mr. Natwarlal, an motion romance set in Calcutta, Rekha portrays the easy, village girl Shanoo to good evaluations.[87][88] The subsequent two years had been much more profitable.[89][90] In 1980, Rekha starred within the comedy Khubsoorat by Hrishikesh Mukherjee. In a job written specifically for her, she performed Manju Dayal, a younger vivacious girl who visits her not too long ago married sister and tries to carry pleasure to the huge household, a lot to the dissatisfaction of the matriarch of the family.[91][92] Rekha stated she simply recognized with the bubbly nature of her character, calling it “fairly a bit me”.[93] Khubsoorat, and Rekha’s efficiency in it, had been effectively obtained by reviewers, and the movie was a monetary success.[66] On the Filmfare Awards, the movie was named Finest Movie and Rekha gained her first Finest Actress award.[18] The Tribune lauded Rekha’s “spunky efficiency” for giving the movie “its pure zing”.[94] Maang Bharo Sajana and Judaai, each directed by Tatineni Rama Rao, introduced her additional vital consideration.[95][96]

Throughout this era, Rekha was prepared to develop her vary past what she was given in mainstream movies and began working in parallel cinema, a motion of Indian neo-realist artwork movies. These movies embrace Kalyug (1981), Umrao Jaan (1981), Vijeta (1982), Utsav (1984) and Ijaazat (1987).[97] Umrao Jaan, a movie adaptation of Mirza Hadi Ruswa’s Urdu novel Umrao Jaan Ada (1905), noticed Rekha within the title position of the poet and hooker with a coronary heart of gold from Lucknow within the 1840s.[98] Made on a lavish manufacturing value,[99] the movie follows Umrao’s life story from her childhood as a lady named Amiran who’s kidnapped and offered in a brothel to her place years later as a well-liked courtesan who seeks happiness amid amorous affairs and different tribulations.[100] In preparation for the half, Rekha, who originally of her profession didn’t converse Hindi, took the duty of studying the finer nuances of the Urdu language.[101] Rekha was broadly applauded for her efficiency, which has since been cited as one in every of her greatest work.[102][103] Balu Bharatan of The Illustrated Weekly of India wrote of her “unexplored reserves of histronic power”.[104] She was awarded the Nationwide Movie Award for Finest Actress.[105][106] She later claimed that the movie was a turning level.[63]

Rekha’s alleged love affair hypothesis with Amitabh Bachchan culminated after they starred collectively in Yash Chopra’s romantic drama Silsila.[107] It was essentially the most scandalous of their movies collectively because it mirrored the rumours by the press: Rekha performed Bachchan’s lover, whereas Bachchan’s real-life spouse Jaya Bachchan performed his spouse.[108] The movie was filmed secretly throughout 1980–1981, with Chopra not permitting the media to go to the taking pictures.[109] Silsila was regarded by many journalists as “a casting coup”,[110][111] and this was the final collaboration between Rekha and Bachchan.[107][112] The movie premiered in July 1981 to vital and industrial failure, and Chopra attributed this to the casting, feeling the viewers’s consideration was strictly targeted on the hypothesis relatively than the plot.[107][113][114] India Right this moment‘s Sunil Sethi noticed that Rekha was “as artificial as [Amitabh Bachchan’s] tiresome chauvinism”.[108] Different movies starring her that 12 months embrace Ramesh Talwar’s Baseraa, Tatineni Rama Rao’s Ek Hello Bhool (a remake of the 1981 Tamil movie Mouna Geethangal)[115] and Saawan Kumar Tak’s Saajan Ki Saheli, all box-office successes.[116] She obtained one other Filmfare Finest Actress nomination for Jeevan Dhaara (1982), wherein she performed a younger single girl who’s the only real breadwinner of her prolonged household.[117]

Amongst her work in artwork movies, Shyam Benegal’s Kalyug is a modern-day adaptation of the Indian mythological epic Mahabharata, depicted as an archetypal battle between rival enterprise homes.[118] Rekha’s position Supriya relies on Draupadi.[97] Benegal solid her within the position after seeing her work in Khubsoorat and took additional notice of her being “very eager, very severe about her occupation”.[119] Critic and creator Vijay Nair described her efficiency as “a masterful interpretation of the trendy Draupadi”.[120] Madhu Trehan complimented her for taking part in “flawlessly” the a part of “a girl of intelligence, power and a barely suppressed craving for her younger brother-in-law”.[121] The 1982 coming-of-age movie Vijeta noticed her as Neelima who struggles by means of her marital issues and tries to assist her adolescent son, who, undecided about his future plans, ultimately decides to hitch the Indian Air Power. She has since described the position as one in every of her favorite.[66]

In Girish Karnad’s erotic drama Utsav, primarily based on Śūdraka’s Sanskrit play Mṛcchakatika from the fourth century, she portrays the courtesan Vasantasena and, for her efficiency, was acknowledged because the Finest Actress (Hindi) by the Bengal Movie Journalists’ Affiliation.[122][123] The movie attracted huge protection for its sensuality and Rekha’s intimate scenes; she took this as a solution to compete with feminine newcomers on the time. Utsav polarized each the viewers and movie reviewers with its script and route; her work and costumes, nonetheless, had been effectively obtained.[124] A evaluation in Asiaweek famous Rekha “wearing little greater than glittering jewelry”.[125] In 2003, Maithili Rao wrote, “Rekha—endlessly the primary alternative for the courtesan’s position, be it historical Hindu India or Nineteenth-century Muslim Lucknow—is all statuesque sensuality…”[126] In Gulzar’s drama Ijaazat, Rekha and Naseeruddin Shah star as a divorced couple who meet unexpectedly for the primary time after years of separation at a railway station, and recall collectively their life as a married couple and the conflicts which led to their eventual cut up.[127]

Setback and resurgence (1985–1989)

Aside from parallel cinema, Rekha took on different more and more severe, even adventurous roles; she was among the many early actresses to play lead roles in heroine-oriented revenge movies, the primary of which was Khoon Bhari Maang in 1988.[128] She gained her second Filmfare Award for her efficiency within the movie. Rekha went on to explain Khoon Bhari Maang as “the primary and solely movie I concentrated and understood all all through.”[129] One critic wrote about her efficiency within the movie, “Rekha as Aarti is simply flawless and that is one in every of her greatest performances ever! Within the first half because the shy and never so attractive Aarti she is great and after the cosmetic surgery because the mannequin and femme fatale she is great too. Some scenes present that we’re watching an actress of a really excessive calibre right here.”[130] M.L. Dhawan from The Tribune, whereas documenting the well-known Hindi movies of 1988, remarked that Khoon Bhari Maang was “a crowning glory for Rekha, who rose like a phoenix … and bedazzled the viewers along with her daredevilry.”[131] Encyclopædia Britannica’s Encyclopædia of Hindi Cinema listed her position within the movie as one in every of Hindi cinema’s memorable feminine characters, noting it for altering “the notion of the ever-forgiving spouse, turning her into an avenging angel.”[132] In the same record by Display screen journal, the position was included as one in every of “ten memorable roles that made the Hindi movie heroine proud.”[133]

In later interviews, Rekha typically described the second she obtained the Filmfare Award for this position as a turning level, explaining that solely then did she begin genuinely having fun with her work and seeing it as greater than “only a job”: “…after I went up on the stage, and obtained my award for Khoon Bhari Maang… Increase, it hit me! That is the primary time I realised the worth of being an actor and the way a lot this occupation meant to me.” In 2011 she additional acknowledged, “I felt much more charged to provide my greatest and knew proper then, that this was my calling, what I used to be born to do, to make a distinction in folks’s lives, by means of my performances.”[134][135]

Profession fluctuations and brief revival (1990–1999)

The Nineteen Nineties noticed a drop in Rekha’s success. Few of her movies had been profitable and plenty of of her roles had been condemned by reviewers. Critics did notice, nonetheless, that in contrast to a lot of the actresses of her era, like Hema Malini and Raakhee, who succumbed to enjoying character components, sometimes of moms and aunts, Rekha was nonetheless enjoying main roles at a time when youthful feminine stars rose to fame.[101] The primary 12 months of the last decade noticed 4 releases that includes Rekha, together with Mera Pati Sirf Mera Hai and Amiri Garibi, all of which went unnoticed. Nonetheless recovering from the latest suicide of her husband and combating the following press antagonism in the direction of her, Rekha retained appreciable success along with her starring position as Namrata Singh, a younger girl who joins the police drive to avenge her husband’s dying in Ok. C. Bokadia’s Phool Bane Angaray (1991). The movie was a box-office hit and Rekha obtained a Finest Actress nomination at Filmfare for her work, in reference to which Subhash Ok. Jha remarked, “Khaki by no means appeared sexier”.[136][137] The Indian Specific wrote that she “rides horses, wields swords and does justice to the title in being phool (a flower) and turning into angaarey (burning coal)”.[138]

The general public’s acceptance of Phool Bane Angaray and Khoon Bhari Maang prompted a number of filmmakers to come back with related gives to Rekha, and he or she performed such roles—labeled “avenging angels”—in a number of of her continuing initiatives to a a lot much less consequential impact. These included her subsequent movie Insaaf Ki Devi (1992), and later movies reminiscent of Ab Insaf Hoga (1995) and Udaan (1997), all of which had been main duds.[139] She adopted with a twin position of dual sisters in Shakti Samanta’s Geetanjali reverse Jeetendra and the title position within the box-office catastrophe Madam X, wherein she starred as a younger girl employed by the police to impersonate a feminine underworld don.[140]

Midway by means of the last decade, Rekha managed to halt her decline when she accepted a number of highly-controversial movies, together with Kama Sutra: A Story of Love and Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi (1996). Kama Sutra, a overseas manufacturing directed by Mira Nair, was an erotic drama, and plenty of felt her position of a Kama Sutra instructor within the movie would harm her profession.[141] She was undeterred by the criticism. Todd McCarthy of Selection described her as “exquisitely composed” within the half.[142] Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi, an motion movie directed by Umesh Mehra, was a significant monetary success, turning into one of many highest-grossing Indian movies of the 12 months.[143] It featured Rekha in her first damaging position as Madam Maya, a vicious gangster girl operating a secret enterprise of unlawful wrestling matches within the US, who, throughout the course of the movie, romances the a lot youthful Akshay Kumar. Her portrayal earned her a number of awards, together with the Filmfare Award for Finest Supporting Actress and the Star Display screen Award for Finest Villain. Regardless of the optimistic response to her efficiency from each followers and critics, she maintained on multiple event that she didn’t like herself within the movie, noting that her work was lower than her personal, private requirements.[144][145]

One other controversial movie at the moment was Aastha: Within the Jail of Spring (1997), the place Basu Bhattacharya, making the final movie of his profession, solid her as a housewife who moonlights as a prostitute. As soon as once more, she confronted some scrutiny by sectors of the press and the viewers for the character of the half and for a number of the express love scenes within the movie. She later reacted: “…folks had rather a lot to say about my position… I haven’t got issues enjoying something. I’ve reached a stage the place I might do justice to any position that got here my manner. It could possibly be position of a mom, a sister-in-law; damaging, optimistic, sensational or something.”[146] Her efficiency earned her optimistic evaluations and a Star Display screen Award nomination,[147] with India Right this moment referring to her work as “her best efficiency in years”.[148][149] She subsequent acted in Qila (1998) and Mom (1999).[150][151][152]

Recognition for character roles (2000–2006)

Within the 2000s, Rekha appeared in comparatively few motion pictures. She began the last decade with Bulandi, directed by Rama Rao Tatineni. The opposite was Khalid Muhammad’s Zubeidaa, co starring Karisma Kapoor and Manoj Vajapayee enjoying the primary spouse Maharani Mandira Devi of the King.[153]

In 2001, Rekha appeared in Rajkumar Santoshi’s feminist drama Lajja, an ensemble piece impressed by a real incident of a girl being raped in Bawanipur two years earlier than.[154] The movie follows the journey of a runaway spouse (Manisha Koirala) and unfolds her story in three major chapters, each presenting the story of a girl at whose place she stops. Rekha was the protagonist of the ultimate chapter, round which the movie’s inspiration revolves, enjoying Ramdulari, an oppressed Dalit village girl and social activist who turns into a sufferer of gangrape. Talking of the movie, Rekha commented, “I’m Lajja and Lajja is me”.[155] Extremely praised for her portrayal, she obtained a number of nominations for her work, together with the Filmfare Award and the Worldwide Indian Movie Academy Award (IIFA) for Finest Supporting Actress.[156] Taran Adarsh wrote that “it’s Rekha who walks away with the glory, delivering one of many best performances the Indian display has seen within the latest instances.”[157][158][159]

In Rakesh Roshan’s science-fiction movie Koi… Mil Gaya, Rekha performed Sonia Mehra, a single mom to a developmentally disabled younger man, performed by Hrithik Roshan. The film was a monetary and demanding success and have become the most well-liked movie of the 12 months; it gained the Filmfare Award for Finest Movie, amongst others.[160] Rekha obtained one other Finest Supporting Actress nomination on the Filmfare for her efficiency, which Khalid Mohamed described as “astutely restrained”.[161]

In 2005, Rekha visitor starred in an merchandise quantity in reference to the track “Kaisi Paheli Zindagani”, in Pradeep Sarkar’s “Parineeta”. In Bachke Rehna Re Baba (2005), Rekha performed a con girl who, alongside along with her niece, makes use of one scheme to rob males of their property. The movie was a significant vital failure.[162] Mid-Day remarked, “why Rekha selected to signal this movie is a surprise,” noting that she is “riddled with unhealthy dialogue, horrible cakey make-up and tawdry styling”.[163] This was adopted in 2006 by Kudiyon Ka Hai Zamana, a poorly obtained intercourse comedy about 4 feminine buddies and their private troubles. In a scathing evaluation, Indu Mirani famous that “Rekha hams like she was by no means going to do one other movie.”[164] In a 2007 article by Each day Information and Evaluation, critic Deepa Gahlot directed an recommendation to Rekha: “Please decide motion pictures with care, another like Bach Ke Rehna Re Baba and Kudiyon Ka Hai Zamana and the diva standing is underneath severe risk.”[165]

In 2006, she reprised the position of Sonia Mehra in Krrish, Rakesh Roshan’s sequel to Koi… Mil Gaya. On this superhero characteristic, the story strikes 20 years ahead and focuses on the character of Sonia’s grandson Krishna (performed once more by Hrithik Roshan), whom she has introduced up single-handedly after the dying of her son Rohit, and who seems to have supernatural powers. Krrish grew to become the second-highest grossing image of the 12 months and, like its prequel, was declared a blockbuster.[166] It obtained principally optimistic notices from critics, and Rekha’s work earned her one other Filmfare nomination within the supporting class. Ronnie Scheib from Selection famous her for bringing “depth to her position because the nurturing grandmother”.[167]

Occasional work; hiatus (2007–current)

In 2007, she as soon as once more portrayed a courtesan in Goutam Ghose’s Yatra. Not like the preliminary success she skilled in enjoying such roles within the early levels of her profession, this time the movie did not do effectively. In 2010, Rekha was awarded the Padma Shri, the 4th highest civilian award given by the Authorities of India.

Rekha has additionally been nominated as a Rajya Sabha member. She presently is the member of the Rajya Sabha (Could 2012).[168]

Rekha starred within the 2010 movie Sadiyaan alongside Hema Malini and Rishi Kapoor. The movie marked the debut of Shatrughan Sinha’s son Luv Sinha. The movie did not do effectively on the field workplace.

In 2014, Rekha was engaged on Abhishek Kapoor’s Fitoor, however left the movie on account of unknown causes and later Tabu was signed as her substitute. In 2014 she additionally labored in Tremendous Nani launched on Diwali (24 October). Tremendous Nani was a household drama, wherein the grandmother (Rekha) is unappreciated by her kids and husband, Randhir Kapoor. Her grandson, Sharman Joshi convinces her to vary. The grandmother ‘transforms’ herself right into a glamorous mannequin.

In 2015, she appeared in R. Balki’s Shamitabh, the place she performed herself.

Private life and off-screen work

In 1990, Rekha married Delhi-based industrialist Mukesh Aggarwal. Aggarwal was a self-made entrepreneur and proprietor of the kitchenware model Hotline.[169] He’s believed to have had a long-standing battle with melancholy and based on Rekha’s biographers, she solely discovered about his psychological well being after marriage. He was launched to Rekha by means of a mutual good friend and dressmaker Bina Ramani who termed him Rekha’s ‘loopy fan’.[169] He proposed marriage to her on March 4, 1990, and some months later—whereas she was in London—he dedicated suicide, after a number of earlier makes an attempt, leaving a notice, “Do not blame anybody”.[170] She was pilloried by the press at the moment, a interval which one journalist termed as “the deepest trough in her life.”[171] Bhawana Somaaya noticed the interval talking of “a powerful anti-wave towards the actress — some referred to as her a witch, some a murderess,” however added that quickly “Rekha got here out of the eclipse as soon as once more unblemished!”[172]

She was rumoured to have been married to actor Vinod Mehra in 1973, however in a 2004 tv interview with Simi Garewal she denied being married to Mehra referring to him as a “well-wisher”. Rekha presently lives in her Bandra house in Mumbai.[173][174]

She was additionally rumoured to have been in a relationship with Amitabh Bachchan after they first acted collectively in Do Anjaane, and later in Silsila.[175][176][177]

Critics famous Rekha for having labored onerous to good her Hindi and performing, and media reporters typically mentioned how she had reworked herself from a “plump” duckling to a “swan” within the early Nineteen Seventies. Rekha’s credit to this transformation had been yoga, a nutritious food regimen, and a daily, disciplined life. In 1983, her food regimen and yoga apply had been revealed in a e book referred to as “Rekha’s Thoughts and Physique Temple”.[178] Rekha has no kids.[179]

Picture and artistry

In 1986, The Illustrated Weekly of India wrote: “There has by no means been anybody fairly like Rekha. Tempestuous girl. Troublemaker extraordinary. A lady as soon as identified, by no means fairly forgotten. And an achieved actress who can typically startle you with a really nice efficiency.”[180] In 2011, Rediff listed her because the ninth-greatest Indian actress of all time, noting, “It is onerous to not be greatly surprised by Rekha’s longevity, or her means to reinvent herself… the actress took on a person’s job and did it stunningly effectively, holding her personal towards all the highest actors and being remembered regardless of them.”[181] Filmfare described her performing fashion, writing, “…in terms of fashion, sexiness or sheer onscreen presence, she’s unparalleled… [she is] a fierce, uncooked, flinty performer with unbridled honesty. Her performing is not gimmicky.”[182] Critic Khalid Mohamed commends her technical management: “She is aware of the way to give and to what diploma. She has all that it takes to be a director. There’s a sort of vulnerability in her management. She explores when she is performing.”[183] Shyam Benegal, who directed her in two motion pictures, believes she is “a director’s actress”.[184] M.L. Dhawan from The Tribune wrote, “Rekha’s flowering as an actress put up Ghar and Khubsoorat climaxed in […] Umrao Jaan. As a tragic courtesan she gave a efficiency of high quality artistry, adopting a much-admired huskiness and despondency of tone. Rekha communicated a lot with a carefully raised eyebrow.[185] In 2010, Filmfare included two of her performances—from Khubsoorat (1980) and Umrao Jaan (1981)—of their record of “80 Iconic Performances”.[186][187] Her work within the latter was included on Forbes India’s record of “25 Biggest Appearing Performances of Indian Cinema”.[188]
Rekha has typically been in comparison with Greta Garbo, and has been cited by media as her Indian equal.[178][146] Hindustan Occasions described her bodily change and lack of weight as “one in every of cinema’s and maybe
actual life’s most dramatic transformations,” arguing that “Rekha morphed from an chubby, darkish peculiar woman right into a glamorous and delightful enigma, shrouding her life in an intriguing Garbo-like thriller.”[189] Based on Rediff, “Rekha’s reclusive nature has gone a good distance in the direction of constructing an aura of thriller round her.”[190] Rekha hardly ever provides interviews, and he or she principally avoids events and occasions. Requested as soon as about her mysterious picture, she denied a number of instances making an attempt to stay as much as this picture, asserting it’s press-created: “What thriller? The media is the one which creates this picture. It is simply that I’m mainly shy by nature, an introvert and fiercely non-public.”[191] Movie journalist Anupama Chopra, who visited Rekha in 2003, wrote that whereas tabloids had portrayed her as “a reclusive girl twisted bitter by lecherous males and loneliness”, in actuality Rekha was “none of those”, describing her as “chatty and curious, excited and energetic, cheerful and virtually illegally optimistic”.[184]

Writing for The Tribune, Mukesh Khosla spoke of her transformation, writing, “From the laughing village belle in Saawan Bhadon to one in every of nation’s reigning actresses, Rekha has come a good distance.”[192][193] Based on critic Omar Qureshi, “the time period diva (in India) was coined for Rekha.”[178] Mira Nair, who directed Rekha in Kama Sutra (1997), likens her to a “Jamini Roy portray” and says, “Like Marilyn Monroe is shorthand for intercourse, Rekha is shorthand for charisma”. Filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali labels her the “final of the nice stars”.[184]

She was known as the reigning Queen of Indian Cinema on the 2012 IIFA Awards held in Singapore, the place she was given the “Excellent Contribution to Indian Cinema (Feminine)” award, additionally known as the Lifetime Achievement Award.[194] In 1999, the columnist-turned-author Mohan Deep revealed the primary biography about her, titled Eurekha!: The Intimate Life Story of Rekha (1999).[195] One other biography was launched by the journalist Yasser Usman in 2016 underneath the title of Rekha: The Untold Story.[196]

See additionally

  • Checklist of Indian movie actresses



  • Deep, Mohan (1999). Eurekha!: The Intimate Life Story of Rekha. Shivani Publications. ISBN 978-81-90107-90-7.
  • Bumiller, Elisabeth (1 June 1991). Could You Be the Mom of a Hundred Sons. Penguin Books. p. 185. ISBN 978-0-14-015671-3.
  • Chaudhuri, Diptakirti (2014). Bollybook: The Huge E book of Hindi Film Trivia. Penguin Books. ISBN 978-93-5118-799-8. Archived from the unique on 20 April 2021. Retrieved 1 November 2020.
  • Dasgupta, Rohit Ok.; Datta, Sangeeta (2018). 100 Important Indian Movies. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-1-4422-7799-1.
  • Dwyer, Rachel (25 July 2019) [2002]. Yash Chopra: Fifty Years in Indian Cinema. London, United Kingdom: British Movie Institute. ISBN 978-1-83902-131-2.
  • Dwyer, Rachel (25 July 2019) [2005]. 100 Bollywood Movies. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 978-81-7436-433-3.
  • Gahlot, Deepa (2015). Sheroes: 25 Daring Ladies of Bollywood. Westland Publication. pp. 29–34. ISBN 978-93-85152-74-0. Archived from the unique on 20 April 2021. Retrieved 1 November 2020.
  • Ganti, Tejaswini (2004). Bollywood: A Guidebook to Common Hindi Cinema. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-28853-8. Archived from the unique on 10 October 2019. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  • Garga, Bhagwan Das (1996). So Many Cinemas: The Movement Image in India. Eminence Designs. ISBN 978-81-90060-21-9. Archived from the unique on 22 October 2021. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
  • Gulzar; Nihalani, Govind; Chatterjee, Saibal (26 February 2003). Encyclopaedia of Hindi Cinema. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. ISBN 978-81-7991-066-5.
  • Ok. Jha, Subhash; Bachchan, Amitabh (2005). The Important Information to Bollywood. Lustre Press. ISBN 978-81-7436-378-7.
  • Rajadhyaksha, Ashish; Willemen, Paul (1999). Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-135-94325-7.
  • Ray, Bibekananda (2005). Conscience of The Race. Publication Division. ISBN 978-81-230-2661-9.
  • Usman, Yasser (24 August 2016). Rekha: The Untold Story. New Delhi, India: Juggernaut Books. ISBN 978-81-93284-18-6.

Additional studying

  • Raheja, Dinesh (17 Could 2003). “Rekha: The divine diva”. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
  • Verma, Sukanya (10 October 2001). “An enigma referred to as Rekha”. Retrieved 20 July 2007..
  • Joshi, Meera (25 June 2002). “The One and solely… Rekha”. The Occasions of India. Archived from the unique on 5 November 2012. Retrieved 20 July 2001.
  • Raheja, Dinesh (18 October 2009). “Enigma at 55”. Mid-Day. Archived from the unique on 8 March 2012. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
  • “At 55, Rekha nonetheless an engima, an icon”. Deccan Herald. Indo-Asian Information Service. 9 October 2009. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
  • Das Gupta, Ranjan (6 October 2010). “Ever attractive”. The Hindu. Chennai, India. Archived from the unique on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
  • Gangadhar, V. (24 April 2004). “Queen bee – The legend of Rekha”. The Tribune; Spectrum. Retrieved 8 September 2011.
  • Sharma, Amit (10 October 2006). “Rekha: The Journey of a Girl”. Retrieved 10 October 2007.

  • Rekha at IMDb
  • Rekha at Bollywood Hungama

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