Born Free And Flying High….
Ali Peter John
Years later and if I have a second life in which I can tell stories to my grandchildren or great grandchildren, the story of Bhanurekha Ganesan will certainly be one of them,a story I am sure I will not forget even if I have three or more lives to live and I am sure my grandchildren and great grandchildren will believe that I am telling them a fairy tale and some of them may even call me a big bluff and a lair for creating the story of a women who could not be a part of normal life and could only be possible if God, the creator would make a special exception and made her to be an example of his power to excel in his job of creation. Bhanurekha who later took on the name Rekha is and always be a woman like that, a woman even God who created her would not be able to describe. I have been trying to know the real Rekha, I have even tried desperately, even at times spending days together to know what this woman was all about and taking a flight back without fulfilling my dreams of knowing the Rekha behind the hundreds of Rekha in her…..
- I first saw quite an ugly looking young woman shooting at the Mohan Studios and discussing her like all the others, some of whom claimed to be great astrologers, analysts and know-alls..
I next saw her in the same studio shooting for Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s “Namak Haram” with the superstar Rajesh Khanna and the struggling actor, Amitabh Bachchan. They all made fun of her and even called her a ‘kaali bhains’ and an ‘ugly duckling’, but I saw only two men giving her the respect she deserved as a co-artist and a woman, Hrishikesh Mukherjee and the struggling actor.
- She went on to do any number of films with almost all the big directors and stars but they were still not willing to take her seriously and some even said that she would never be able to make it as an actress.
- Rekha had not even completed her studies. She learned all that she knew only from practised. She never went to any acting school, she had no mentors, she was never trained in dancing, even though there were others in her family who were very good dancers.
- She had a rankling hatred for her father, Gemini Ganesan who was known as the ‘Adonis of the South’ and the ‘God of Love’, but he had neglected his family and left his wife, Pushpavalli who was also an actress and their children who fend for themselves. Rekha never forgave her father for what he did till this writer organised an unusual meeting in which she was to present a lifetime achievement award to her father and the two cried bitterly but didn’t speak to each other. That was the last meeting between the father and the daughter because Gemini Ganesan died some time later and Rekha didn’t even atend his funeral..
- Rekha kept signing films, but if she remembers a few films of the staggering 400 films she is supposed to have dinner, she only remembers “Ghar” and “Umrao Jaan”.
- She was the favourite of the gossip magazines because of her various affairs with actors like Kiran Kumar, Vinod Mehra and ‘The Ultimate Affair’ which the world knows about now even after forty years, but which they deny in public and she still makes all out efforts to draw his attention towards her and the look in her eyes say it all. But the man proves what a great after he is in real life too when he knows that she is very much close to him or around him and yet behaves as if he has not taken notice of her at all and the more he tries to avoid her, the more she shows that she could kill herself if he just looked at her once..
- She has not been in the limelight because of any other affairs because as she says she has had no affair after that “divine affair with him.”She has always referred to him as ‘he’, ‘him’ or even ‘god’ at times. She has always been a great romantic who literally worships the one she loves and there was a time when she was doing several films with Jeetendra and called him ‘my God in white shoes’.
- She has been trying every way to keep away from men in all these years after the affairs between ‘him’ and ‘her’ ended.
- She had made it a rule to see that no men are allowed to enter her house, not even the male domestic helps or the security men. All the servants working in her bungalow are women and most of them are from the South.
- She has her own garden inside the precincts of her bungalow where she grows all the vegetables she needs and especially all the herbal plants which she says she uses for her makeup as she tries her best not to use cosmetic makeup.
- She was once a follower of Jane Panda who had initiated her into the art of aerobics which she followed for several years, but has now discovered her own ways of keeping herself fit and trim. A delegation from Hollywood once came to Mumbai only to have a look and a chat with her if possible and they were shocked when they were told that she had not completed her studies that she had not gone through any acting course and that she followed her own methods of keeping herself fit. They were absolutely bewildered when they were told that she was sixty-four!!!
- It is only her passion for her work that got her the Padmashri which was taken with mixed feelings by different classes of people. She has also been a member of the Rajya Sabha for one full term, but unfortunately made a poor impact when she did not raise even a single question in the Rajya Sabha. She has won countless private awards, but has won the National Award only twice.
- She has had a very tempestuous life right from the very beginning, what with a sad family life when she was a kid in Chennai, what with her countless insults and humiliations and what with her two attempts to commit suicide.
- She is the perfect picture of an Indian woman and her typical silk Indian sarees with the gajra in her hair and the vermilion mark on her forehead, she is the Bharatiya Naari at her best and there have been many women who have tried to imitate her without knowing and being foolish enough to not know that there was and there can be only one Rekha.
- And it was only recently when I asked the mysterious Rekha if she was still from about not writing her autobiography, she said, “Ali how many years have you known me for now? I never change my mind. When I said I would not write my autobiography, I said it after days and nights of thinking. Rekha can be salablea as a star or a body, but Rekha’s soul can never be sold and stripped in public. Rekha is Rekha, Rekha is god’s chosen one and Rekha can be n no one else and this Rekha which no one can know will never be a subject to sell a book for a few hundred rupees.”
- That then is the Rekha I have taken more than forty years to know and I don’t think she will let me or anyone more close to her know more about her.
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Tags: Bollywood, Bollywood News, Bollywood Updates, Television, Telly News, Rekha, Rekha Biography