Elusive, Recluse, Aloof, Diva, Transformational, Regal, Versatile – These are only some of the adjectives associated with the beautiful Rekha whose birthday is today, the 10th of October. Let us go on our journey of relatively unknown trivia associated with her, and her 4 award winning movies.
Why “transformational”? This is because Rekha actually transformed herself. When she came to Bombay she did not know the language, the people, the culture and was totally at a loss. To make matters worse she was ridiculed. Her acting debut was in Saawan Bhadon and reportedly her co-star Navin Nischol called her a “namoona” (weirdo) and “kaali-kalooti” ( dark and ugly).
Rekha was aware she was being made fun of. As she herself says in an interview to the Telegraph, “I was called the ‘Ugly Duckling’ of Hindi films because of my dark complexion and South Indian features. I used to feel deeply hurt when people compared me with the leading heroines of the time and said I was no match for them. I was determined to make it big on sheer merit.”
Rather than getting discouraged and demotivated, Rekha gave importance to her looks, her dialogue delivery, her acting. She transformed herself and the results were there to see. Indeed, she made it huge on sheer merit.
Rekha has won awards in 4 movies. Lets take a look at her performances in them and associated trivia.
Muzaffar Ali’s movie with music by Khayyam, lyrics by AMU’s Urdu Professor Shahryar won Rekha the National Film Award for Best Actress. However, the Filmfare award went to Smita Patil for Chakra.
Umrao Jaan had some of the best songs ever such as “Dil Cheez Kya Hai“, “In Aankhon Ki Masti”,”Justaju Jiski Thi” and Yeh Kya Jagah Hai Doston“. The entire country fell in love with Rekha and her stunning performance. This movie is a high-point of Asha Bhosle’s career as well. Choreography by Kumudini Lakhia and Gopi Krishna was highly appreciated.
Hrishikesh Mookherjee’s movie which won best movie award also won Rekha the Best Actress Award. She played the role of a playful and naughty young girl who comes and stays in her sister’s in-laws’ house and transforms a strict dictatorial family atmosphere into one of love and belongingness. Sonam Kapoor and Fawad Khan’s 2014 movie Khubsurat is loosely based on the basic idea of playful stranger entering a highly disciplined household.
Khoon Bhari Maang
This revenge thriller saw Rekha transforming herself in the movie from an unattractive lady betrayed by her husband (Kabir Bedi) to a stunning model who takes revenge. Shatrughan Sinha and Sonu Walia (best supporting actress) played important roles. Rekha won Best Actress Award for her role. The movie was a re-make of the Aussie mini-series Return to Eden. Kabir Bedi was cast on Rekha’s advice and he returned to India only for this movie. Otherwise Deepak Parashar was originally supposed to play the role.
Khiladiyon ke khiladi
Rekha played the role of villain here and won Best Supporting Actress at the Filmfare awards and the Star Screen Best Villain award as well. This was one of the many Khiladi movies by Akshay Kumar. WWF Superstars the Undertaker and Crush featured in this movie. Rekha’s portrayal of criminal don, Maya, was well appreciated.