The ever ravishing Bollywood actress Rekha who celebrates her 68th birthday today, refuses to fade despite nearing to be a septuagenarian. Rekha still captivates the audience through her silver-screen enigma and throws challenges to the young actors with her glamorous self. .
Despite her growing age Rekha’s magic and glamour fails do die down. Starting her career as a child artist in Telagu films she started as a lead actor in 1969 and has never stopped since.
Born on October 10, 1954, as Bhanu Rekha Ganeshan in the family of veteran Tamil actor Gemini Ganesan and Telugu actress Pushpavalli in Chennai, Rekha was the eldest of two daughters but her father did not acknowledge his paternity during most of their childhood.
Since her parents were mostly away on a shoot she often felt lonely and longed for parental affection. It is when her parents split up and the family faced financial troubles that she was pulled out of school in ninth grade and forced to become an actress.
At the age of 13, she debuted as a child actress in the Telugu film Rangula Ratnam. She was only 15 when she landed her first Bollywood role in Anjana Safar. As her mother was critically ill she moved to Mumbai and Bollywood with a distant relative. Her new life in Mumbai was nightmarish. The heavy-duty cosmetics gave her an allergic reaction she worked long hours and was put on rigorous diets. She was also tricked into doing kissing scenes without her consent.
At the age of 16 she appeared in her 1st to lead role in Sawan Bhadon, the film was a big hit but she was named the ugly duckling because of her dark skin, curvy figure, and also for weak Hindi.
When she was 22 she played an ambitious wife in Do Anjane with superstar Amitab Bachan. Their onscreen chemistry fuelled talks about their off-screen romance. But neither of them publicly confirmed this in the media.
The audience was often judgemental of her rumored affairs and her bold media statements while directors complained about her lack of punctuality. This harsh criticism drove her to take up more versatile roles.
When she was 27 her portrayal of a tragic courtesan in the 1981 film Umrao Jaan finally earned her critical rise and earned her a national film award for Best actress. As several young actresses debuted on screen she started losing out on lead roles. But she craved a niche in India’s independent cinema.
She was 36 when she married businessman Mukesh Agarwal but just a year later Aggarwal committed suicide after battling chronic depression. The incident caused the Bollywood fraternity to blame her for the tragedy, her film poster was blackened and the public shaming drove her to drastically limit her public appearance.
Since then she was only seen in comic roles on the big screen. She was also seen on various reality shows recently and was loved by everyone. Having such a dramatic and controversial life, her charismatic character and remarkable acting skills made countless fans who gave her the title of an ageless actress in Indian Cinema.