Born: October 10, 1954
Age : 60
Birthplace : Chennai
Height: 1.70 m
Rekha is a well-known and popular versatile actor from B Town who has her original name as Bhanurakhi Ganesan. She was born in Chennai in a family of actors, as her father was a popular Tamil actor called Gemini Ganeshan, while her mother too was from the similar line known as Pushpavalli. However, her father never accepted Rekha as her daughter since she came to birth without her parent’s marriage. As per reports and even from Rekha’s several interviews, her father has not accepted her still and doesn’t recognises her feat in the Bollywood world. She brought up in Chennai and did her brief schooling from Church Park Convent based in the same city.
This was the reason, she had to quit her school early and start working as a child actor despite having no personal inclination towards this field. Her first movie as a child actor was a Telugu film called Rangula Ratnam in the year 1966 when she was barely 12 years old. The same year she was seen in one Hindi movie called Anjana Safar, however, the movie turned controversial for having a kiss scene in it, which later was re-titled after a decade’s time to hit the theatres in the name of Do Shikaari. She took the work only for her sustenance and had to work hard a lot while working with the co-workers since she barely spoke Hindi for being a south Indian origin actor. However, she rose up against all odds she proved her niche in acting by taking up good scripts and did performance-based roles to prove her worthiness in the film industry.
In the seventies, she had only two movies, one was Telugu movie called Amma Kosam and other was a Hindi movie called Sawan Bhadon, which is considered to be her debut movie in Hindi Cinema. Sawan Bhadon turned a big hit, which made Rekha a celebrity overnight. However, she was considered as an ugly duckling of Hindi Cinema due to her dark complexion and plumb look. All her movies in early seventies were made giving her a glamorous image, which didn’t work in her favour as she was not recognised for her acting but the sensual roles she did in those movies. Soon, she started working on her looks and thus got her physical transformation. With her improved Hindi language skills, weight loss and better acting techniques, she was able to garner a good response for her movies. Her movie Do Anjaane with Amitabh Bachchan turned a big hit wherein she was recognised as a good actor by both the audience and critics.
Her next movie was Ghar wherein she played the character of a rape victim made her popular as an ace actress, since then it was no looking back for her as she gave a number of hits. These hits include Muqaddar Ka Sikander, Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Khubsoorat, Umrao Jaan, Silsila, Basera, Ek Hi Bhool, etc. She bagged her first Filmfare award for the movie Khoobsurat while got her National Award for Umrao Jaan for her incredible performance in the said movie. In the eighties, she dominated with so many hit films, which continued till the nineties especially when actresses of her batch were doing the roles of mother and elder sisters. She maintained her fame along with the actresses of nineties including Madhuri Dixit and Sridevi playing lead roles in movies like Khiladio Ka Khiladi, Kama Sutra, Aastha, etc. In 2000’s she appeared in relatively lesser movies including Bulandi, Lajja, Koi Mil Gaya, etc. while also seen playing as an item girl song in Parineeta.
Her personal life is full with controversies and tragedies. First she was linked with Amitabh Bachchan as had a good onscreen chemistry with Big B, however, her off screen chemistry too was discussed and criticised in the media for having an affair with a married man. She remained unmarried for long and finally married a Delhi based businessman called Mukesh Aggarwal in 1990. After one year, her husband committed suicide leaving a letter not to blame anyone for this. She was even rumoured to married with Vinod Mehra to which she denied claiming that the actor is just his good friend and well wisher. She now lives along in her Bandra based home in Mumbai. Rekha is currently the Rajya Sabha member.