She was born on October 10, 1954 in Chennai to Tamil actor Gemini Ganesan and actress Pushpavalli. However, since she was born out of wedlock, her father refused to accept her as his child, hence pushing her family into serious financially troubling conditions. Due to that, Rekha was compelled to discontinue her education and enter the film industry.
She first appeared as a child actress in the Telugu film, Rangula Ratnam but her first debut as a heroine was in the Kannada film, Goa dalli CID 999. That very year (1969), she acted in her first Hindi film, Anjaana Safar which ran into censorship problems, hence prolonging the release date to almost a decade! It was finally released in 1979 (retitled Do Shikaari). Rekha also claimed that she was tricked into kissing actor Biswajit in the film to gain overseas popularity!
In 1970, she acted in another two film. One, the Telugu film, Amma Kosam and another Bollywood movie which was considered her debut into the Indian film industry, Sawan Bhadon. The latter became a successful hit and made Rekha a star overnight! Despite appearing in numerous commercially successful films of that time, her acting was never considered! She was only seen as a 'glamour girl'. Another major reason for that was also her looks, which according to the critics of that time were too 'South Indian' compared to the famous actresses in the industry already! And then came the time when Rekha completely transformed herself to gain the fame she is at today! Along with a physical transformation, she began to choose her roles with care as well!
Her first performance oriented role happened to be in 1976 opposite Amitabh Bachchan in Do Anjaane, where she played the role of Amitabh's greedy wife. Critics and audience were pleasantly shocked to see the change in Rekha - her acting style and her looks! In 1978, she appeared opposite Vinod Mehra in Ghar, in which she portrayed a rape victim. The film earned her a Filmfare Award for Best Actress for the first time! In that same year, she was seen in one of the most successful films of that decade, Muqaddar Ka Sikander opposite Amitabh Bachchan once again. That film was the piece of work that finally gave Rekha her due credit - as one of the most famous celebrities!
After that, there was no looking back! She was then seen in many movies, including the highly acclaimed Umrao Jaan, Utsav, Baseraa, Ek Hi Bhool, Mujhe Insaaf Chahiye, Koi..Mil Gaya, and Krrish.
It was first rumoured that Rekha was married to actor Vinod Mehra in 1973, but in an interview she denied all rumours and stated that he was a 'well wisher'. In 1990, she got married to Delhi based Industrialist, Mukesh Aggarwal. Only a year after the wedding in the US, Aggarwal committed suicide leaving a note saying 'Don't blame anyone'. Currently, she lives in Bandra in Mumbai.
- Rekha has acted in over 180 films
- In 2011, she was rated as the 9th greatest actress of Indian cinema in the Redcliff list
- Rekha had to learn Hindi due to the fact that it was not her native language
- She was given the title of being a 'Sex Symbol' after her transformation in the 70s.
- She was referred to as the Reigning Queen of Indian Cinema at the 2012 IIFA Awards.
We hope there are many more years to come in the success of this beautiful actress that has won the hearts of millions with her charm and charisma! With a final salute to the Queen of Bollywood, BollyCurry signs off.
Editors: Shreya S. & Gunia M.
Graphics: Virina R.