Rekha is an Indian actress. She is considered as one of the finest actresses of the Indian cinema. She is the recipient of three Filmfare Awards and one National Film Award. In 2010, she was honoured with Padma Shri by the Government of India for her immense contribution to the Indian Cinema.
Rekha receiving Padma Shri
Rekha was born on 10 October 1954 (age 64 years; as in 2018) in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Her zodiac sign is Libra. She attended Chennai’s Church Park Convent School. Rekha wanted to become an air hostess in her childhood days. However, she was rejected as she was too young at that time. She, then, thought of becoming a nun as her convent school housed many nuns but the troubled financial state of her family forced her to work in B and C grade Telugu films. She started her acting career at the age of 13 with the Telugu Film “Rangula Ratnam.”
Rekha in Rangula Ratnam
Height: 5’ 6”
Weight: 60 kg
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Brown
Family, Caste & Husband
Rekha belongs to a Hindu Family. Her father, Gemini Ganesan, was a Tamil Actor, and her mother, Pushpavalli, was a Telugu Actress. Rekha was considered to be the illegitimate child of her parents as Ganeshan refused to acknowledge his paternity during her childhood. She has a sister, Radha. Rekha also has one half-brother, Sathish Kumar Ganesan, and five half-sisters, Kamala Selvaraj, Jaya Sreedhar, Vijaya Chamundeswari, Revathi Swaminathan, and Narayani Ganesh.
Rekha’s sister Radha
Rekha with her half-sisters
After Rekha shared an on-screen kiss with Biswajit Chatterjee, they both fell in love. However, there love didn’t last for long.
Rekha’s ex-boyfriend, Biswajit Chatterjee
Rekha also fell in love with her co-star Navin Nischol. It was during the making of ‘Sawan Bhadon,’ but their relationship ended soon as Naviv was a married man.
Rekha with Late Navin Nischol
Rekha then found her love in Jeetendra. She was quite serious about the actor but he was already married to Shobha Kapoor when he met Rekha. Rekha was termed as a ‘home-breaker’ when rumours about their relationship started doing rounds among the public. As a result of which, their relationship died a bitter death.
Rekha with Jeetendra
Next, she found her love in Vinod Mehra. The couple was inseparable and even there were speculations about their marriage but the couple parted ways as Vinod’s mother did not approve of their relationship.
Rekha with Late Vinod Mehra
Rekha was completely shattered after her broken relationship with Vinod Mehra when Bollywood producer, Yash Kohli brought stability in her life. However, the couple parted their ways after some time.
Rekha with Yash Kohli
She even fell in love with the actor Shatrughan Sinha but their association didn’t last for long.
Rekha with Shatrughan Sinha
Sajid Khan was the most sought after actor when he returned from the US. Rekha dated him for a while and then the couple called it off. It was believed that the couple separated due to Rekha’s work commitments and busy schedule.
Rekha with ex-boyfriend Sajid Khan
Rekha’s affair with Amitabh Bachchan was one of the most controversial and talked about affairs of her life. They fell in love while shooting for the film Do Anjaane and their relationship changed Rekha’s life completely. Amitabh was a married man and Rekha didn’t want to be called the second women, so they called it quits.
Rekha with Amitabh Bachchan
After her breakup with Bachchan, Rekha settled down with Mukesh Aggarwal, a Delhi-based businessman, in 1990. But her husband committed suicide after one year of their marriage.
Rekha with ex-husband Late Mukesh Agarwal
After her husband’s death, she was also rumoured to be dating the Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar for a while.
Rekha with Akshay Kumar
Rekha made her acting debut in 1999 with the Kannada Film “Operation Jackpot Nalli C.I.D 999.” Next, she featured in a Telugu film “Amma Kosam.” Her Bollywood debut came with the film “Sawan Bhadon.” She had to learn Hindi for the film as she was not so good at speaking the language fluently. The film was a hit at the box office and established Rekha as an actress. Subsequently, she appeared in commercial hits films like “Raampur Ka Lakshman,” “Kahani Kismat Ki,” “Pran Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaye,” “Do Anjaane,” “Ghar,” and “Muqaddar Ka Sikandar.”
In 1980, she featured in the comedy “Khubsoorat” in which she played the role of ‘Manju Dayal,’ a young women that visits her married sister’s house and brings joy to the family. The film earned her a Filmfare Award for Best Actress. The next year, she starred in “Umrao Jaan.” Her portrayal of the role of ‘Umrao’ is considered one of the best performances of her career and it even earned her a National Award for Best Actress.
Rekha as Umrao Jaan
Rekha starred opposite Amitabh Bachchan in a number of films, most of which were huge hits. In 1981, they appeared in “Silsila,” one of the most scandalous films, in which Rekha played Bachchan’s love interest, which his real-life wife played Jaya Bhaduri played his wife. It was the last film that they did together. Not just acting, she even gave her voice for other veteran actresses. She dubbed her voice for Neetu Singh in Yaarana and for Smita Patil in Waaris.
Rekha also tried her hands in singing on the behest of R. D. Burman. She sang two songs in her movie “Khoobsoorat.”
15-year-old Rekha became the victim of controversy during the shoot of her film “Anjana Safar” opposite Biswajeet Chatterjee. It is mentioned in her biography, that a romantic scene featuring Rekha and Biswajeet Chatterjee was supposed to be shot with no intimate/offensive actions. However, as soon as the camera rolled, Biswajeet grabbed her from her back and pressed his lips against hers without giving her any time to react. The director kept yelling “cut” but Biswajeet did not stop for at least 5 minutes and the crew members kept whistling and mocking at the scene. It was further alleged in the biography that both the actor and the director had carved out this act for their personal and commercial benefits respectively.
Rekha’s love fling with actor Vinod Mehra was once the talk of the town. It was also speculated that the duo got married in a secret ceremony in Kolkata but when Vinod took Rekha to his house, his mother behaved with Rekha in a highly hostile manner. She pushed Rekha away when the actress tried to seek her blessings. She kept abusing and humiliating Rekha and even refused to let her enter the house. Vinod tried to keep the matter under control but his mother was too agitated that she even took off her sandals and almost assaulted Rekha with it.
Rishi Kapoor married Neetu Singh on 22 January 1980. It was during their wedding that many Bollywood personalities including Rekha, Amitabh Bachchan, and Jaya Bachchan were invited to the event. Rekha entered the venue in a White Saree with a Red Bindi on her forehead and Sindoor in her hair. She headed directly towards Amitabh and confronted him for around 5 minutes. Jaya could not bear the situation and ended up in tears. Till date, the exact conversation between the two is not known and thus have made their way to numerous speculations.
Rekha at Rishi Kapoor’s marriage
According to her biography, Rekha: The Untold Story, her husband, Mukesh Agarwal, was a patient of chronic depression and was even seeing a psychiatrist for the same. Cracks started appearing in their marriage just within 7 months of their association as Mukesh began exhibiting erratic behaviour. On 2 October 1990, a year after their marriage, Mukesh committed suicide by hanging himself to his bedroom’s ceiling fan following which people started blaming Rekha for this incident and even declared her a ‘man-eater witch.’
In the ’90s, Rekha along with Kajol shot for the cover of a popular magazine, where they both tucked themselves into one sweater. The cover created havoc throughout the country. However, no explanation was given for the idea behind the shoot.
Rekha Kajol on the magazine cover
Rekha again attracted controversy at the red carpet of an award function when she got so excited to see Hrithik Roshan there that when she leaned in to greet him, she almost had an ‘accidental’ lip-lock with the actor.