Real Name: Bhanurekha Ganeshan
Birthday: 10th October 1954
Marital Status: Widow of Mukesh Aggarwal
Trivia: Rekha was rumoured to have married Vinod Mehra, with whom she shared a fabulous chemistry in Ghar. She was also the focus of attention owing to her alleged high profile relationship with Amitabh Bachchan. Recently, she was said to be in a relationship with Akshay Kumar.
She does Yoga regularly and credits this for her youthful appearance.
In Films such as Utsav and Kamasutra: A Tale of Love; she played bold characters.
Rekha has one brother and six step-sisters. Her father Gemini Ganeshan was a well known actor while mother Pushpavalli also acted in many films. Gemini Ganeshan never married Rekha’s mother and never gave Rekha recognition, which made Rekha bear resentment towards her father till his last breath.
Biography: Unlike most actresses, Rekha started her career as a child artist. She later revealed that this was more out of need than her desire. After initially struggling to come to terms with the industry norms, she soon established herself. Her first movie was the Telugu film Rangula Ratnam where she played the role of a child. Goa Dalli CID 999 was her first successful hit as a lead heroine, where she was paired opposite Rajkumar. Do Shikaari, which had quite a lot of songs, was her first Hindi movie. She had to share a kissing scene with actor Biswajit, which she later revealed to have done owing to her naivety back then.
According to the norms back then, Rekha was deemed to be too fat, not having a complexion or face for cinema and was termed an ugly duckling. As is the problem with heroines from down south, Rekha too had her share of troubles reciting dialogues in Hindi.
After working and drawing some praise for her performances in movies such as Praan Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaye and Do Anjaane, she still had to bear a lot of criticism. She was criticised for her physical features and comparisons with her contemporaries made her sadder.
Her portrayal of a gang raped married woman in Ghar is considered by many as the turning point for her career. The movie did very well at the box office and her performance, chemistry with Vinod Mehra and the brilliant song sequences were widely praised. She later played myriad variety of characters in movies such as Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Khubsoorat, Silsila and Umrao Jaan; all of which were huge hits. The significant factor about all these films was the portrayal of roles. While in Muqaddar Ka Sikandar she played Zohra Bai a courtesan, in Khubsoorat she had to play a girl next door. Yash Chopra cast her in a very complex role of a slightly unfaithful wife in Silsila while in Umrao Jaan she had the central character of a courtesan. The choice of roles coupled with her linkups with her co-stars Amitabh Bachchan and Vinod Mehra ensured that she stayed in the media limelight.
She moved to a slightly unconventional genre of parallel cinema in the mid 1980’s. While some of the movies had a bold theme, they all worked for her. She got to share the screen space with some of the finest directors of the era. After parallel cinema, she tried her hand at action movies by starring in films such as Madam X, Khoon Bhari Maang (Which fetched her filmfare award) and Khilaadiyon Ka Khiladi.
Rekha sparingly appeared in movies since the turn of the century. She did few films such as Lajja, Bachke Rehna Re Baba, Koi… Mil Gaya and Krrish. Her achievement stems from the fact that she has worked in as many as 180 films over a career spanning 4 decades.