She had taken some of the most unusual steps to the kind of stardom that no other female star had and was considered the ultimate female star even by the pessimistic media of the time – Ali Peter John
The change that had come over her was found difficult to believe and her fame had spread to the most remote corners of the world……
A festival of French films was on in Bombay in the early 80s and an entire delegation of stars, filmmakers, writers and technicians from France had flown down to Bombay to take part in the festival and have an interaction with the leading stars from India.
As usual , luck was on my side and I was appointed as the liaison officer whose job it was to take the French delegation around and introduce it to the stars they wanted to meet….
As I was introduced to the delegation, they all shouted like school children in one voice and said, ” Rekaa Rekaa” .
It was only after an hour of mixing around with them that I realized that they were all only interested in meeting Rekha.
I knew Rekha, but not well enough to ask her to meet an entire delegation . But I couldn’t give up a challenge before meeting it.
I went to Film City where Rekha was shooting for Shashi Kapoor’s most ambitious and expensive art film, “Utsav” in which Rekha played Vasantsena, a princess who was dressed only in different kinds of ornaments and this “costume” had become the talk of the industry while the shooting was on.
I first spoke to Shashi Kapoor as I was intruding on his precious time and he said , ” le lo, le lo, tum bhi le lo ek gareeb producer ka time, aise hi barbaad ho raha hoon, tum bhi barbaad karo “.
I felt guilty, but I couldn’t help it as I had to do my duty towards Indian Cinema. Rekha reluctantly agreed to give a joint interview to the delegation……
I took the delegation to Film City in an air-conditioned bus and the way they behaved reminded me of the days when we used to go for our school picnics.
Their cackling sounds of “Rekaa Rekaa” continued till we reached Film City and Rekha was ready for the interview.
The English language she spoke to the French delegation for more than two hours floored them and at the end of the interview, every member of the delegation told me that Rekha was wasting her talent and time in India and that she should working in Hollywood where she could beat the best of ” those dolls who have hay in their heads and chicken stew in their bosoms ” ( the French always had a strong dislike for American and English actors)
Rekha asked them what they thought about her interview and they lost all their ways of flattering her.
She then took them all by one big surprise when she asked them a general question which was, ” did you people interview Amitabh Bachchan ?
” And they looked lost. They neither knew Amitabh, nor were they interested in knowing him.
Rekha blew her top and said, ” how dare you interview a small time actress like me and neglect the greatest actor of India ? ”
If you don’t know Amitabh Bachchan, you don’t know anything about Indian Cinema. Please take my interview as cancelled.
I don’t want to be featured in an interview which doesn’t give a complete and true picture.
” And she walked back to where she was shooting and all the efforts made by Shashi Kapoor, Girish Karnad, the director of “Utsav” and other actors failed to make her change her opinion about what she believed about the man who she called ” my God”