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Art is not a luxury, but a necessity.

Some dramatic moments from the life of the unbelievable queen

36

Ali Peter John

I think God (Khudah) is a very benevolent and kind God who once in a way gives some of his creations who are called human beings the unique opportunity to be almost or atleast a little like him, unless they take advantage of his goodness and abuse or misuse the gift he has given them . I have seen some human beings make the best use of their God-given gift and lead themselves to a stage when they can remind even the most staunch atheist that there is a God .

And topping my own list of these favorites of God is the eternal enigma Rekha Ganesan who has been enchanting the world for almost half a century and who continues to baffle and mystify people of all ages and all kinds .It still not clear what makes Rekha the Rekha she is , but I have a feeling that it is some of the dramatic moments in her life that have led her to reach the cult status she has reached today .I pause to take a quick galance at some of the dramatic moments in her ife and career …….

Rekha , the daughter of Gemini Ganesan , the “Adonis of the South “and
Pushpavalli was one of their daughters and had hradly any education and was working in her first Tamil flm ,but it was her mother who wanted her daughter to be a star in Bombay and in Hindi films .It was the little girl’s first dramatic step when
she left Madras (it was not Chennai then ) to reach Bombay to chase her destiny

It was an uphill struggle , but she got her first break in a film made by Shatrujit Pal in which she had the big star of the time Biswajeet as her hero.There was a scene in which the hero had to just touch her lips with his lips . The new heroine was helpless and agreed to do the scene but once the hero started kissing her,he didn’t stop even after the director called “cut”several times and the unit looked on aghast and the new actress Rekha left the floor in tears . Any other young woman in her place would have given up all hope but she was being guarded and guided by some divine force which had promised to lead her to unprecedented heights……

She had many more reasons to give up when all the first eight films she did failed to get her any kind of recognition and she was just another face in the crowd and she was even called an ugly woman who stood no chance in a world where women were recognised only by their beauty and their complexion

Destiny however showed how it was guiding her when she had her first big hit in “Saawan Bhaadon”. Naveen Nischol was her hero , but she stole the thunder from right under his nose and she who was neglected and even insulted by many had to stand up and respect her .

Her struggle with her inner self however continued .She wanted to be recognised as a good actress and the divine force which continued to guide her fulfilled her wish when she played a newly married woman who is raped in the film “Ghar”. This film also brought her close to Vinod Mehra ,her hero in the film , who later also became her hero in real life .There are stories about their getting married ,(as I often say I don’t believe in stories about which I don’t have any proof ) .I only remember that when Vinod Mehra died , his last journey did not start before Rekha arrive .

Her career had taken a new turn , but stories about her old affairs with men like Kin Kin and Vin Vin and others continued to haunt her and the “yellow press” left no opportunity to harass her or humiliate her.It was at this time that the story about her consuming poison with her” upma” spread far and wide , but the story died like yesterday’s and cold “upma “.

She had worked with an actor called Amitabh Bachchan for the first time in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s “Namak Haram “in which Rajesh Khanna was the star and Amitabh and she were like any other character actor who were playing important characters . But the divine force was still guiding her . Years later , Rekha was teamed with Amitabh in “Do Anjaane “and it was during the shooting of the film that Rekha realised and believe that her quest for happiness had ended with the man who was married , with two children and with the whole world in love with him.

But nothing could deter her in keeping her away from being madly in love with him , who she only referred to as “Him”or even God.They did eight films together and with every film showed how much they were in love (I know I am treading on holy land, but what I say about their love is only based on my belief in true love which I always say can be seen in the eyes of the lovers which can never lie ).

How many more moments of an unusual life can I remember and put down on paper now ?
How can I reveal some of her moments which have a place of their own in my heart , which refuses to give me permission to let them out ?

But,I vividly remember that dramatic moment in my friend Rekha’s life .I don’t know how and why it happened , but it was a major happening not only in her life , but in the lives of millions who loved and worshipped her . She had got married to a young industrialist called Mukesh Agarwal who had no contacts with the industry except that he was suppose to be a friend of the actress Deepti Naval .

And just days after the marriage , her newly married husband was found hanging by the ceiling fan (it is high time we stopped using ceiling fans and found safer ways of bringing in air into our bedrooms and other rooms). The country was still grieving , gossiping and talking about the death of Mr.Agarwal, but three days after his death , Rekha was in Udaipur shooting for a film called “Phool Bane Angare”with Rajnikant as her hero.And she was doing the most dare -devil action scenes without any duplicate .I remember this whole sequence of events because I was with her in Udaipur for four long days when she had opened up like she had not to any other journalist,I think and would like to believe for which I have my own grounds.

The other great moments in madam Re…’s life have been her moving into her on bungalow facing the sea which she once told me was her best and most reliable friend ,her winning the National Award for her performance in “Umrao Jaan “, her being nominated to the Rajya Sabha (I wish she could have done much more than she can even claim to have done, her turning into the ultimate symbol of beauty which I sometimes feel is God’s way of letting human beings know that he can be more than a good God if his creations are good ).

And I will always remember that scene when I had taken a team of French actors and directors to meet her and how she had floored them with her knowledge , wisdom and her command over the English language about which she knew nothing when she had begun her life and career a full fifty long years ago and had finally proved how much she was still in love with “Him”, when she asked them if they had interviewed Amitabh Bachchan and when they had showed that they had not even heard of him ,She had shown her mercurial side and had said ,”if you have not heard about  , you have no right to know me or know anything about Indian Cinema please erase the interview I have given you”.I still remember the look of consternation and sheer disbelief on the faces of the delegation

I had not met her after I left “Screen “in 2007 and rarely attended any events even if I was invited .I had made an exception for Manisha Koirala who I had seen taking her baby steps in films and who had written a book about her battle with Cancer .I met many of my friends of the good old days , but my old eye shone out when I saw the dazzling Rekha and I felt she would not recognised me (which is an incurable disease which many of our stars and other celebrities suffer from when they in their infinite knowledge realise that you are of no use for them ).

It was my young associate Rajan who kept asking me to go and meet Rekha. She was about to leave the party when she suddenly saw me in a corner and came running back to me and kept talking about the days when we talked about love and life and promised me that she would talk to me again .I am still waiting for that promise to be kept . And I will not lose patient or the hope to meet the woman who was beautiful when I first met her, who is still beautiful and who I hope and know will be beautiful for all time to come