Rekha: The enigmatic, aloof and beautiful actress 

Born on October 10, 1954, Rekha, the beautiful and talented actress who made Yoga a fashionable word in the film industry believes that being alone and remaining alone is her biggest achievement

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PTI photo
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Iqbal Rizvi

Her performance as an actor has been praised as multi coloured, multi dimensional, bindaas and par excellence. About her personal life, usually it is said that she is a mysterious and lonely woman who has constantly suffered rejection in love. But all these words are insufficient to describe Rekha’s personality.

Rekha was born on October 10, 1954, to Jemini Ganeshan and Pushpavati. Both her parents were very well established names of the South Indian film industry.. Both were very occupied in their work. Rekha grew up mostly alone in her parent’s absence, gradually getting enveloped in a feeling of insecurity and longing for being loved and pampered. Meanwhile, differences between her parents started growing. Subsequently, her mother took Rekha along with her and separated. For some reasons, the house was caught in financial crises.

Now it became imperative for Rekha to work to overcome the financial crises. Although Rekha had already started her film career as a child artiste in 1966 with the Telugu film Rangula Ratlaam but that she did on her mother’s insistence because Rekha was not at all interested in working in films. At the age of 15, Rekha debuted as an actress with Kannada film Operation Jackpot CID 999. This film was released in Hindi also with the title Agent 999. Rekha also started working in a Hindi film called Anjana Safar. But this film took a long time to complete and was finally released in 1978 with the title Do Shikari.

How a hit film changes the destiny of an actor—nobody knows it better than Rekha. Her first Hindi film Sawan Bhado was released in 1977 and it proved to be super hit on the box office. Young and emotionally insecure Rekha developed a fondness for the handsome Naveen Nishchal while enacting romantic scenes with him.

But Naveen showed no interest in her. Rekha’s heart broke in love for the first time. After the success of Savan Bhado, Rekha was flooded with film offers. In 1971 Rekha acted in many films like Elaan, Saaz Aur Sanam and Haseeno ka Devta. During the filming of Elaan, Rekha looking for an emotional anchor drew closer to actor Vinod Mehra.

Gradually, this relation reached on the verge of marriage. According to the film magazines of that time Rekha married Vinod Mehra in a temple but Vinod Mehra’s mother did not accept Rekha and did not even let her enter the house. Vinod Mehra could not sort out the matter and as a result, Rekha, crying bitterly, left the house. Rekha was young and inexperienced and she did not have any support in Bollywood during that time. She was not even able to speak in Hindi properly. The relationship broke but Rekha or Vinod Mehra never spoke bitterly about each other. After a few years Vinod Mehra started treating her as a good friend but Rekha did not need a friend only. She needed a person as an anchor with whom she could settle down and have a family.

After her relationship snapped with Vinod Mehra, Kiran Kumar supported Rekha. Because of a strong desire of affection from childhood, she fell in love again with Kiran Kumar. Kiran Kumar agreed to marry Rekha but Kiran Kumar's father, the popular villain of Hindi films, Jeevan did not approve of this relationship. Rekha’s heart broke once again. By then, Rekha had worked hard on her Hindi accent and looks, she had established herself as an actor who had mastered the art of performing romantic scenes on screen.

And then Amitabh entered Rekha’s life. Despite being on the height of fame, Rekha got obsessed with married Amitabh Bachhan. Soon she realised that Amitabh would not marry her, but for her Amitabh’s companionship was enough. Amitabh was older than Rekha, more educated and mature. He always advised Rekha to be professional. He helped her in selecting roles and cultivated sophistication and suavities in her personality .

For Rekha, it meant a world. But this relationship had to end at some point or the other. After Amitabh got injured during the shooting of film Coolie, Rekha went to meet Amitabh at the Hospital. Although she could not meet him but she wrote good wishes for him in the visitors’ book. This incident put a full stop to Rekha-Amitabh relationship.

Rekha had achieved everything except a family. She then happened to meet Mukesh Agarwal, a young entrepreneur from Delhi and taking the whole world by surprise, Rekha suddenly got married to Mukesh. Rekha thus did fulfill her long-cherished desire of getting married but Mukesh Agarwal committed suicide seven months after marriage. Maybe, Rekha was not destined to enjoy a domestic life. She could not connect permanently with anyone.

As Rekha grew older, her beauty blossomed more. A few years later, Rekha’s name started to pop up with younger actors, but Rekha continued to work in Bollywood as a mysterious river. Gradually, Yoga, painting and gardening became her hobbies but her most favourite friend is aloofness. Today, Rekha claims that being alone and remaining alone is her biggest achievement.

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Published: 10 Oct 2018, 3:53 PM