Born in 1954 at Chennai, Rekha is considered to be the “Eternal Diva of Bollywood”. Being the daughter of the well known film superstar Gemini Ganeshan and actress Pushpavalli studio became her playground and she started nurturing her acting skills from a very young age. She started acting from as early as 1966 when she appeared as a child actor in the Telgu film “Rangula Ratnam”. Rekha made her debut as heroine in the successful Kannada film “Goadalli CID 999” with Dr. Rajkumar in 1969.
Her first Hindi release was “Sawan Bhado” in 1970 which was a mojor hit and made her a star overnight. During the perion 1970-1973 she starred in movies like Ammakosam, Barkha Bahar, Raampur ka Lakshman. Gora aur Kala, Dharma etc. Dahrma was a major hit and put Rekha in the limelight but the real big hit came with Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s “Namak Haram” in 1973 in which Rekha starred next to the Bollywood kings Amitabh Bachchan and Rajesh Khanna.
Her pairing with Amitabh Bachchan has been most successful of all and together they gave great hits like Muqaddar ka Sikandar, Mr. Natwarlal, Silsila etc. Silsila with its controversial subject again made Rekha the center of attention. She was rumored to be Amitabh’s real life flame and the film gossip column may have contributed to her success.
She bagged the Nation Film Award for Best Actress in 1981 for her outstanding performance in the bollywood blockbuster “Umrao Jaan”. The movie was commercially successful and was critically acclaimed as well.
Rekha is known to have played a variety of roles from police officer in ‘Insaaf ka Taraazu’, a perfect housewife in ‘Biwi ho toh Aisi’ to sensuous Mansi in ‘Aastha’. Rekha can claim to have one of the widest varieties of roles under her belt and she played each and every one of them with natural perfection.
Recently Rekha’s Bollywood career has taken a backseat with her appearing in very few movies with short roles of a widowed mother (Krrish) or a glamorous stage singer (Parineeta). Rekha’s forthcoming films include Yaatra, Bajirao Mastani and the much awaited Krrish 2.