Bhanurekha Ganesan, daughter of the Tamil matinee Idol Gemini Ganesan( he by no means acknowledged her ) and in style Telugu actress Pushpavalli who dreamt of turning into an air hostess or a nun appeared as a baby actor in a Telugu movie Itni Guttu in 1958 when she was barely 9 years outdated.
She debuted as a heroine in a Kannada movie Jackpot Nalli CID 909 reverse Raj Kumar in 1969.
Her first Bollywood movie Anjana Safar (1969) with Biswajit when she was 15 yr outdated featured a 4 minute lengthy kissing scene which made it to the Asian version of the well-known Life journal; she claimed in interviews to have been tricked into doing it. This movie was finally launched as Do Shikaari, virtually a decade later, and sank and not using a ripple.
Ever since, controversies appear to have adopted her fifty yr lengthy movie profession through which she has acted in round 200 movies
Her first Hindi movie: Sawan Bhadon with Navin Ninschol (1970) was a hit with a number of hit songs. Her Raampur Ka Lakshman with Randhir Kapoor (1972), Kahani Kismat Ki with Dharmendra(1973), and Pran Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaye with Sunil Dutt (1974) which targeted extra on her cleavage and thunder thighs and fewer on her expertise catapulted her as a bankable actor of the early Seventies.
Right this moment’s final Bollywood Diva Rekha- truthful, slim & trim-considered an embodiment of nafasat, nazakat, tehzib and adas wasn’t all the time like this; it has been the results of her painstaking and decided efforts over a number of years.
Initially, she was, darkish, dusky and plump with Tamilian options who was ridiculed by a sexist society as an unpleasant duckling with a garish costume sense. Apparently, the harm of fixed humiliation motivated her to show all her detractors unsuitable. Strict weight loss plan management, rigorous regime of workouts and yoga, a disciplined life type and therapy for lightening the color of her pores and skin facilitated her transformation.
She additionally learnt the artwork of make-up and bought an impeccable costume sense.Pink lipstick, darkish flowing geshus , crimson sindoor,bangles on her arms and kanjeevaram sarees turned her vogue assertion and at present she carries an unmistakable aura which makes heads flip even now when she is previous 65.
Many consider that Rekha’s bodily look and performances started to enhance along with her first movie with Amitabh Bachchan Do Anjane ,a criminal offense thriller, in 1976. However it was with the movie Ghar (1978) with Vinod Mehra whom she was rumoured to have married secretly (she has denied this hearsay in her interview with Simi Grewal),directed by Manick Chatterjee that Rekha was taken severely as an actress. Her delicate, calm and nuanced portrayal of a fortunately married lady whose life is all of a sudden devastated by a rape introduced her a nomination for Filmfare’s Finest actress award.
The identical yr got here Amitabh Bachchan,Vinod Khanna,Rakhee starrer block buster Muqaddar Ka Sikandar which provided an creator backed function for Bachchan. However Rekha because the nautch lady, Zohra, stole the thunder below his nostril along with her bewitching adas and oomph. Her music Salam e Ishq and the final scene when Zohra dies within the arms of her lover stay etched within the thoughts of viewers. In some ways, Zohra was the precursor of Umrao Jaan in Rekha’s movie profession.
In Amitabh’s field workplace hit Natwarlal Natwarlal(1979), a certain masla cocktail of motion, comedy and romance.
In Hrikesh Mukherjee’s Khoobsoorat (1980, dialogues by Gulzar),Rekha as Manjari Dayal ,with two pony tails seems in a very new avatar- chirpy.chatty,naughty,vivacious and vibrant who tries to make everybody completely happy. She reminds of Rajesh Khanna’s function in Hrikesh Da’s movie -Bawarchi with Jaya Bachchan. For her pure and easy portrayal, Rekha received her first Fimfare’s greatest actress award that yr.
1981 marked the height of Rekha’s ascendancy as an actress and a star who may carry a whole movie on her shoulders and maintain her personal in opposition to the very best male protagonists of her time. She was featured in Muzaffar Ali’s Umrao Jaan based mostly on well-known Urdu novel Umrao Jaan Ada written in 1905 by Mirza Hadi Ruswa with stalwarts like Naseeruddin Shah and Farooq Shaikh. In addition to in Yash Chopra’s Silsila, an intense love triangle that includes Rekha,Amitabh, Jaya Bachchan , Shashi Kapoor and Sanjeev Kumar which had shades of rumoured actual life additional marital relations.
As Umrao, donning probably the most embellished and engaging clothes of that interval, talking dialogues in chaste Urdu, conveying the turmoil inside by delicate gestures, facial expressions, notably her eyes and unforgettable ghazals sung by Asha Bhosale below the baton of Khayyam, Rekha received the hearts of thousands and thousands of filmgoers who felt none may have been higher than Rekha as Umrao Jaan.
It was robust for Rekha to get below the pores and skin of Umrao Jaan, she lived each inch the character she was portraying and convincingly conveyed her longing, craving, melancholy, unhappiness and loneliness of coronary heart amidst the dazzling trappings & environment of the highest courtesan .
The credit score for creating this basic goes as a lot to Rekha, she mastered Urdu and picked up the minutest mannerism and nuances of a courtesan as to its Director Muzaffar Ali ,music director and the ghazals –Dil Cheez kya hai Aap meri jaan lijiye and Yeh kaun sa muqaam hai – all gems for ghazal lovers.
No surprise,Rekha received the nationwide award for greatest appearing although Shashi Kapoor felt it ought to have gone to his spouse, Jennifer Kendal for 36 Chowringhee Lane.
Rekha seemed gorgeously lovely ,oozing with intercourse enchantment whereas portraying the function of Woh, in Pati ,Patni aur Woh type of love triangle. At a time when gossip columns had been stuffed with their off display screen romance,it was a coup of types for Yash Chopra to influence Jaya to hitch Amitabh and Rekha whose physique language and chemistry was electrifying and infectious.
Curiously, the movie’s songs convey the emotions of the characters extra aptly than the dialogues: Yeh kanha aa gaye hum; Neela aasman so gaya; Dekha ek khwab to silsile huye.Ever since this movie’s launch,hardly any Holi pageant has ended with out taking part in Rang barase bhige chunar wale in Bachchan’s baritone voice..
Whereas scaling enviable heights in mainstream cinema,Rekha additionally lent help to the parallel cinema by doing a number of movies which provided her alternatives to reinvent and discover new vistas of her appearing expertise. It was an acknowledgement of her metamorphosis as an actress that Shashi Kapoor who as soon as puzzled how this darkish and plump actress may ever be a profitable star himself signed her for 2 of his movies Kaliyug(1981) a contemporary interpretation of Mahabharata directed by Shyam Benegal through which she was featured as Supriya based mostly on the character of Draupadi and Utsav,the Little Clay Cart, based mostly on a 2nd Century BC Sanskrit play. And once more in Mricchakatika by Sudraka directed by Girish Karnad.
In Kaliyug,Rekha acquitted herself nicely within the face of a number of celebrated actors. In Utsav, dressed as Vasant Sena , the courtesan, Rekha exudes sensuality and eroticism. Although, these movies received applause and kudos from connoisseurs of Parallel cinema, they proved a catastrophe on the Field Workplace; Shashi Kapoor by no means recovered from his money owed.
Gulzar’s Ijaazat(1987) based mostly on a Bengali story Jatugriha by Subodh Ghosh) which featured Rekha and Naseeruddin Shah as a separated couple who by accident meet one another at a Railway station after a few years and traverse on a nostalgic journey on the reminiscence lane was marked by very good understated performances by each; it’s music Mera kuchh saman was a success.
In Raj Kumar Santoshi’s Lajja (2001) a saga of girls’s exploitation that includes Jackie Shroff,Anil Kapoor,Madhuri Dixit,Manisha Koirala ,Gulshan Grover and Danny Denzongpa, Rekha as Ram Dulari, the midwife, who protects girls from exploitation, is brutally raped and finally burnt alive by the highly effective native leaders .Right this moment when rapes are on the rise, this movie sounds so modern. Although deglamorized, Rekha gave a shifting and restrained efficiency.
The movie which proved a watershed in her profession and, in her personal phrases, made her notice the depths of her histrionics capabilities was Khoon Bhari Maang(1988),a criminal offense thriller directed by Rakesh which allegedly bore a resemblance to the Australian mini television collection Return to Eden .
Rekha performed a double function, one among a quiet, and trusting spouse whom her husband (Kabir Bedi) conspires to kill to inherit her wealth and the opposite of a resolute, vengeful excessive society lady out to take revenge on her tormentors. For her very good portrayal of two contrasting characters, she received her second Filmfare award for greatest appearing.
Underlining her braveness to take dangers and discover unconventional roles, Rekha appeared in Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi (1996) in opposition to a a lot youthful Akshay Kumar and carried off the vampish function with aplomb. The a lot talked about mud wrestling scene with Akshay was supposedly her suggestion. For her unconventional function on this movie,Rekha received Filmfare’s greatest supporting actress award.
Rekha has by no means shied away from doing what she wished to do for concern of attracting criticism or controversies. Her resolution to do Meira Nair’s Kamasutra, a story of affection proves this level. In accordance with Nair the movie was about love and eroticism that’s within the spirit of poets of the sensual like Bihari and Jaidev. Of Rekha, she mentioned,” her character may be very Zen. Her magnificence, to my thoughts was contemporary flowers, darkish hair, and earth colors, Jamini Roy face.”Like Marylyn Monroe is shorthand for intercourse, Rekha is brief hand for charisma.”
Regardless of daring scenes and lavish manufacturing high quality, Rekha as Rasa Devi, the instructor who explains the finer points of erotic pleasures to her college students to be courtesans didn’t click on along with her followers. For them completely coated Umrao was way more enticing than the scantily dressed Love Guru Rekha. The movie was banned in India and Pakistan.
Her function as Mansi in Aastha (1997), with Om Puri ,Dinesh Thakur and Navin Nischol directed by Basu Bhatatcharya of Teesri Kasam and Avishkaar fame unfolds the story of a fortunately married lady who’s drawn to prostitution to fulfil her fantasies. Although Rekha was applauded for her brave portrayal, the movie bombed on the field workplace and he or she misplaced a lot of her followers.
Within the twilight of her profession, she acquired kudos for her transient visitor look within the music “Kaisi Paheli Zindagani”, in Pradeep Sarkar’s Parineeta and as Hrithik Roshan’s mother in Krrish.
After reaching her peak, Rekha selected to be reclusive, attended only a few events and saved the media at arm’s size.This reclusiveness, scorching gossip about her off display screen romance with Amitabh Bachchan and linking of her identify along with her different co-stars, her quick lived marriage with Mukesh Agarwal ending together with his sudden suicide created a thick fog of thriller round her which she selected to not dispel. Not surprisingly, some movie critics have likened her to Greta Garbo and Cleopatra.
In her interview on Rendezvous with Simi, she admitted having been in love with Amitabh: “duniya bhar ka love aap le lijiyega and add some extra -I really feel that for that particular person…He was one thing I had by no means seen earlier than.I’ve by no means met anybody like him.” However she provides a pinch of thriller, “there was by no means a private reference to him, that’s the reality.”
Famend movie director Shyam Benegal quips,”Rekha is a query mark, an exclamation mark, a coma, by no means a full cease! To know her is to be seduced by life.”
In an interview with Anupama Chopra, Rekha weaves a shroud of thriller, “He’s completely oblivious of what I really feel for him. He has all the time been and can all the time be”. It feels like Karan Johar’s “Ishq wala love”!
It’s a pity; Amitabh and Rekha who loved fabulous on display screen chemistry haven’t labored collectively after Silsila.
Rekha, one of many best actresses of her technology, was honoured with a Padma Sri in 2010 and IIFA life time excellent achievement award in 2012.She has additionally been a nominated Member of the Parliament.
Ambassador Surendra Kumar is retired from the Indian International Service.