Rekha is a famous Bollywood Actress. Born as Rekha Ganesan on 10 October 1954, Rekha has had a life filled with ups and downs, not unlike a Bollywood drama. All through her film career, she has been under scrutiny by the paparazzi first for the success and then mostly for her personal life. Rekhas journey was not an intended one but rather a decision born out of financial troubles. Though she was the daughter of a famous and highly successful Tamil Director, she was not acknowledged by her father. Her mother, a Telugu actress Pushpavilli had not been doing well. It was due to such circumstances that Rekha decided to start acting at a young age of 13. Her first movie was a Telugu film Rangula Ratnam in 1966 where she was introduced as Baby Bhanurekha. She went on to do a lead role in Kannada movie Operation Jackpot Nalli C.I.D 999 with Rajkumar in 1969. The film was a critical success and Rekha was acknowledged for her role. However, the struggles were only just beginning for the south Indian actor with unconventional looks. She did get work and the next year two of her films released - Telugu film Amma Kosam and a Hindi film Sawan Bhadon. The latter also marked her debut in the Bollywood film industry. Though the movie was a success, the critics went into overdrive, commenting on Rekhas poor acting, dark skin and uncomely figure. She got several offers in spite of the rude reactions but most of them were rather inconsequential roles like Raampur Ka Lakshman in 1972, Kahani Kismat Ki in 1973, and Pran Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaye in 1974. By the end of this era, Rekha was being cast as a glamorous actor but with a limited role platter. She was constantly mocked for her looks and it was then that Rekha decided to transform herself. Following a strict diet and yoga regime, Rekha was able to shed a lot of unwanted kilos. She started paying attention to her dressing sense and make up and also more importantly on the kind of roles she said yes to. She was seen in this new avatar opposite Amitabh Bachchan in the adaptation of Bengali novel Ratrir Yatri in a movie titled Do Anjaane. She received moderate success both with the audience as well as the critics. Her career took a major jump in 1978 with the much acclaimed portrayal of a rape victim in Ghar opposite Vinod Mehra. Her acting of a traumatized rape victim who recuperates under the love and care of her husband was appreciated far and wide and she was effectively established as an actor. She even got a Filmfare nomination for the role. There was no turning back for the actress then when she delivered yet another commercial success opposite Amitabh Bachchan in Muqaddar ka Sikandar released in the same year. 80s was a decade that was ruled by Rekha. Be it the role of a jubilant young girl in Hrishikesh Mukherjees Khoobsurat or a courtesan with a heart of gold in Umrao Jaan. She won a Filmfare Award for Best Actress for the former while a National Award in the same category for the latter movie. She was undoubtedly the most successful actor in the role of a courtesan and has successfully portrayed the many facets of the role in a variety of movies. During this time her affair with superstar Amitabh Bachchan also became the talking point of Bollywood. The actor was married and the gossip magazines went wild running the illicit affair which added on to their success as an on screen couple. They went on to give many successful films together and the affair as well as the on screen pairing ended with the much hyped and successful romantic movies Yash Chopras Silsila. Rekha played the love interest of the male protagonist Amitabh Bachchan while his real life wife Jaya Bachchan played his on screen wife as well. The movie gained tremendous success and was touted even as the real life adaptation of the duos much talked about affair. Though the pairing ended, the affair continues to be one of the most talked bollywood affairs of all times. Rekha went on to do some parallel cinema after this and was much appreciated for her acting in offbeat cinema like Shyam Benegal's award-winning drama, Kalyug in 1981, Govind Nihalani's Vijeta in 1982, Girish Karnad's Utsav in 1984 and Gulzar's Ijaazat in 1987. The success was unparalleled and Rekha had built a strong fan following. Whether it was the sensual portrayal of women or indeed a strong portrayal of modern day Draupadi in Kalyug, she was favourite of the critics and the fans. In 1988 she brought to fore another facet of the female the avenging angel in Rakesh Roshans Khoon Bhari Maang. In the movie, she portrayed the role of a simpleton with tremendous fortune. A widow, her life is thrown into a whirlwind when she is proposed for marriage by a rather eligible bachelor Kabir Bedi. A mother of two, she agrees but is shattered when her husband along with her old friend transpires to kill her and take over her fortune. She returns then to avenge the wrong done to her and her family by becoming a successful model. The industry lapped up her performance and the movie was a big hit. Rekha even won a Filmfare Award for Best Actress for the movie. Her success in the role prompted a lot of similar roles in movies like Phool Bane Angarey and Ab Insaaf Hoga. However, there was a lull in her life after the success of the movie. Rekha married Delhi-based industrialist Mukesh Aggarwal in the year 1990 and one year later while she was in London, her husband committed suicide. The incident cast a long shadow in Rekhas life. Not only was the period a rather sad phase, she was widely ridiculed by media and there was a strong negative wave against the actor in the masses. She had continuous failures and her movies like Madam X, Geetanjali all bombed at the box office. Rekha was however not ready to give up yet and came back with movies like Mira Nairs Kama Sutra and Khiladiyon Ke Khiladi. While in the first she portrayed the role of a teacher who teaches her pupils the subtle art of love making, in the latter she played a negative role as Madam Maya who runs an illegal wrestling game in the USA. She was seen romancing a much younger Akshay Kumar and was hailed by all for her sexy avatar. She went on to win a Filmfare and Star Screen Award for the Best Actor in a negative role for the movie. Rekha had reinvented herself and positioned herself as timeless beauty of Indian cinema. Though the actor has failed to get any success in recent years, she continues to be considered a diva of the Indian Film Industry and invokes a nostalgic feeling amongst many a hearts even to this day.
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