Born as a love child to a Tamil actor and a Telugu actress, acting was something which came as an innate talent to Rekha.
Following in the footsteps of her father Gemini Ganesan- who was a successful actor, Rekha had made up her mind to venture into the same field. Forced by the difficult financial situations on the family front, Rekha was left with no other option but to leave her school to try her luck in films.
Little did people know that Rekha- who ventured into the film industry at a very young age without any Godfather -would become one of the top actresses of the film industry overcoming the language hurdle!
With a father, who never acknowledged her paternity and a critically ill mother, Rekha was out to fend against all the difficulties.
Recalling those knotty times, Rekha revealed in an interview that her initial days (when she was just 13 years old) in Bombay were ‘frightening’ and there were people who tried to take advantage of her helplessness.
Rekha’s first movie in the lead role- ‘Sawan Bhadon’ emerged as a Box-Office hit. However, this southern beauty was heavily criticised for her curvy frame and looks. She disclosed to a leading daily that she was called an ‘Ugly Duckling’ because of her dark complexion.
It was in the late 1970’s that Rekha’s image was transformed to that of a glamorous diva. From an ‘ugly duckling’, she turned into a beautiful Swan and since then there was no looking back.
She soon bagged meaty roles in ‘Do Anjaane’, ‘Ghar’, ‘Muqaddar Ka Sikandar’ etc, which helped her emerge as an actor par excellence and as a dream girl too.
With time Rekha touched new heights of success in her career with every movie she signed. ‘Khubsoorat’ helped her bag her first Filmfare Best Actress Award for effortless portrayal of a young bubbly girl.
In her filmi career, Rekha’s onscreen chemistry with Amitabh Bachchan was much appreciated by the audience. The duo did many films together and thus sprang rumours of their off-screen romance. ‘Silsila’ was their last movie together, which also starred Amitabh Bachchan’s wife Jaya Bachchan.
After ‘Silsila’, Rekha took up more challenging and mature roles like that of ‘Umrao Jaan’. She showed her versatility in acting by flawlessly depicting the character of a troubled courtesan onscreen. This heart wrenching story helped her bag the National Award for Best Actress.
After ‘Umrao Jaan’, Rekha worked in many films- ‘Ek Hi Bhool’, ‘Kalyug’, ‘Utsav’ etc. But it was her commendable performance in ‘Khoon Bhari Maang’ that helped her bag her second Filmfare for Best Actress.
Rekha’s cameo in ‘Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love’, a film by Mira Nair in the 1990s was much appreciated. ‘Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi’, a hardcore commercial flick, which released in the same decade saw her play the female lead opposite a much younger Akshay Kumar. While her contemporaries had started essaying character roles, Rekha was still romancing men onscreen.
In 2000, Rekha’s performance in ‘Lajja’ was appreciated by the audience as well as the critics. She received several nominations for her performance.
Coming to her personal life, Rekha tied the knot with Delhi-based industrialist Mukesh Aggarwal in 1990. Sadly, the marriage ended after Aggarwal committed suicide just a year later.
At present, the glamorous diva lives quite a secluded life, except for a few public appearances, which are generally- award functions.
Brand Rekha is a classic example of a self-created personality.
We wish the evergreen actress a very happy birthday!