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Art is not a luxury, but a necessity.

If She is Not a Miracle, What is ???

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Ali Peter John

– It is difficult to believe, but she never wanted to be an actress, she didn’t even want to be a dancer or a singer even though she was the daughter of ” The Adonis of the South”, Gemini Ganesan and his actress/wife Pushpavalli and all her sisters were dancers.

– She didn’t finish school and was forces by circumstances to take to acting when she was hardly ten and worked in a Tamil and a Kannada film with the legendary actor Rajkumar.

– Circumstances again made a role and she landed in Bombay, looking for work as an actress even though she did not know a word of Hindi or English.

– She kept looking for a break, whatever the demands made were, and ended up doing the leading role in a film called “Anjana Safar” with Biswajeet, who was 20 years older than her as her hero. She was only 13 but looked more than her age and people had already started calling her names like “ugly duckling, black buffalo”, besides the many Hindi expletives used to describe her. A kissing scene was forced into the script on the demand of the powerful hero and it went on to become one of the longest kissing scene as the hero refused to leave her. The film had to go through many censor hassles and was finally released after ten years renamed as “Do Shikaari”.

– The film did no good for her or for the film itself. The next time however she hit the target when Mohan Segal, the veteran director who had rejected Amitabh Bachchan without even giving him a chance to give an audition, signed her to play the lead role in his film ” Saawan Bhaadon”. Segal took more than three months to convince the then big time hero, Navin Nischal, to work with the new heroine who Navin and other hero’s like him did not consider it a very good thing to work with a ugly heroine like her, but Segal finally convinced him and the film was a silver jubilee hit and Rekha was a star, like her or not.

– For the next 9 years, she kept working “Just like a puppet in the hands of men who could not see anything but a sex symbol in me “.

– It was during this time that she became the favourite of the gossip press and it kept writing all kinds of nasty things about her, her affairs and her bedroom stories. She was so disgusted that she even thought of quitting at one time. Among the hero’s she was supposed to be having roaring affairs according to press were ” Kin kin” ( Kiran Kumar) and ” “Vin Vin”( Vinod Mehra) who she was even married off to. She tried her best to fight back the yellow press but when she found it difficult to stop them from writing what they wanted about her, she decided to neglect them and concentrate on her career as an actress.

– It was during this time that she was also talked about for her attempt at consuming poison with her Upma. ( Breakfast) and her being cheated and robbed by her own staff.

– She was still looking for good opportunities to be known as an actor and her career took one big leap when she was first cast with Amitabh Bachchan in “Do Anjaane” it was an offbeat subject about a relationship between a husband and wife. She worked with Amitabh in many other films, but the most notable were Mr. Natwarlal, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar and the ultimate film with them together and with Jaya Bachchan playing Amitabh’s wife, Yash Chopra’s ” Silsila”. It was enough for the gossip mills to spin out as many stories as their imaginations could work out about the two “great lovers” as they were called and some believe that they are still very much in love and have their own meeting places outside Mumbai, stories which they treat with utter contempt, especially Amitabh. Rekha however loves being linked with him even now and still refers to him as “Him, He and even God “. She makes sure that she is given a seat either in the same row or at least in the row behind as she feels it is the only way left to her now to be close to him. After their so called affair came to an end there were many other attempts made to cast them together at any price and completely on their terms, Amitabh even went on record to say that he was willing to work with her if there was a subject that suited their age and the changing circumstances, but no one has succeeded in bringing them together again.

– Rekha has also gone on record to say that it was “he ” who had brought about a complete transformation in her whether it was as an actress, her command over the Hindi and English languages and her way of life. The one time ugly duckling was now known as the queen of fashion and the last word in acting.

– She has done over 200 films during the last 50 years,but the only films which are real to her are all the films she has done with Amitabh, ” Ghar” in which she was teamed with Vinod Mehra at a time when the rumour was that they were married and one of the reasons she loved this film was because of the realistic way in which the director had picturised her rape scene,” Khoon Bhari Maang” , “Khoobsurat” in which she blatantly immitated Amitabh in every scene, ” Silsila”, “Umrao Jaan” the only film for which she won the National Award and all the films produced by Shashi Kapoor like “Vijeta”, “Kalyug”and “Utsav” in which she played Vasansena and for her costume in the film, Shashi Kapoor and his wife Jennifer who were the producers had to get her all dressed up in pure gold ornaments. She was appreciated by audiences both in India and abroad, but “Utsav” ( a celebration) marked the beginning of the end for Shashi Kapoor as a saviour of art cinema or parallel cinema. He was doubly hurt because Rekha got the national award for her performance in the same film while his wife Jennifer who had headed the cast of his film 36, Chowringhee lane directed by Aparna Sen lost the award by only one vote. It was also the beginning of the destruction of Shashi Kapoor as a man and a maker.

– Rekha worked with directors as different as Prakash Mehra, Manmohan Desai, Rakesh Kumar, Govind Nilhani , Gautam Ghosh, Gulzaar, Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Girish Karnad among many others. But the director who holds the record of working with Rekha ,” the difficult to handle actress” was director T. Rama Rao who directed her in nine big films and holds his achievement as his greatest in the 100 odd films he has directed with all the big stars of the South and from Mumbai.

– Rekha started her own classes in aerobics inspired by the Hollywood actress, Jane Fonda, but couldn’t run it for long. She now only depends on the products which she has grown in her own garden in her bungalow on Bandstand facing the sea. She says she doesn’t have to depend on any unnatural chemical cosmetics to keep herself beautiful because she has her own creams and powders and other cosmetics all created from nature.

– Rekha did her last film with Shatrughan Sinha, called Aaj Phir Jeene ki Tamanna Hai. It is said that Rekha and Shatru were like real shatru’s during the making of the film, but they were perfect professional throughout the shooting of the film by Ramesh Talwar with who she had done one more of her memorable films called Baseraa in which she had to complete with Raakhee and had emerged a winner.

– Their have been hundreds of offers to write her biography, but she has not given any permission to authors to write books about her and the two writers who made an attempt were not only rejected, but are also facing defamation charges .

– She is happy the way she is. She still looks more gorgeous than she was at sixty five and when she makes an appearance at any gathering, award functions, Birthday parties, poojas and even weddings, she is the one who automatically becomes the centre of attraction.

– Rekha is very fond of being photographed in her different moods and costumes and has tried every best photographer in the country to capture her as she wants to. At this age, she still has the best designers making clothes and costumes for her. The most loved one being Manish Malhotra.

Ali Peter John & Rekha

– And if any Rekha fan or critic is still waiting for her to write her autobiography, it must be known that in this age when every second star or even those who consider themselves stars either write their autobiographies or get them biographies written by retired journalists, Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha are the only two who have vowed never to write their autobiography.

And the story of the miracle woman goes on.


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Tags: Bollywood, Bollywood News, Bollywood Updates, Television, Telly News, Rekha, Amitabh Bachchan, Happt Birthday Rekha, Veteran Actress

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