Rekha, the legendary actress who has ruled Bollywood for over five decades, is celebrating her 69th birthday today.
Rekha, the legendary actress who has ruled Bollywood for over five decades, is celebrating her 69th birthday today. Known for her beauty, grace, versatility, and charisma, Rekha has delivered some of the most memorable performances in Indian cinema. From playing a vivacious tomboy in Khubsoorat to a tragic courtesan in Umrao Jaan, Rekha has proved her mettle as an actor par excellence. On her special day, let us take a look at some of the interesting facts about the evergreen diva.
Rekha was born out of wedlock
Rekha was born as Bhanurekha Ganesan on October 10, 1954, in Chennai. Her parents were South Indian actors Gemini Ganesan and Pushpavalli, who were not married to each other. Her father even refused to acknowledge his paternity towards Rekha and did not support her financially. Rekha has one real sister, five half-sisters, and one half-brother from her father’s side.
Rekha never wanted to be an actress
Rekha entered showbiz not out of passion but due to a poor financial situation. She started working at an early age to support her family. She made her debut as a child actor in the Telugu movie Rangula Ratnam in 1966, which also featured her mother. Rekha was fond of traveling and wanted to become an air hostess. However, destiny had other plans for her and she soon became one of the most sought-after actresses in Bollywood.
Rekha struggled with Hindi and her looks
Coming from the south, Rekha did not know Hindi and struggled to communicate with the cast and crew during her initial acting days. She also faced criticism for her unconventional looks and dark complexion. She was often called an ‘ugly duckling’ by the media and the industry insiders. However, Rekha did not let these hurdles stop her from achieving her dreams. She worked hard on improving her Hindi, grooming herself, and transforming her image.
Rekha dubbed for other actresses
Rekha was not only a talented actress but also an expert at mimicry. She has dubbed for other actresses in some of the movies. She lent her voice to Neetu Singh in Yaarana and Smita Patil in Waaris. She also dubbed for actress Jaya Bachchan in the movie Koi Mil Gaya.
Rekha is a style icon
Rekha is not just an actress; she is a style icon. Her blend of sensuality and elegance was a breath of fresh air in an era dominated by conventional standards of beauty. Her signature silk sarees, mesmerizing eyes, and scarlet lips became her trademark. She also experimented with different hairstyles, accessories, and outfits. She is often seen wearing traditional jewelry and sindoor on various occasions.
Rekha is a National Award winner
Rekha has won several awards and accolades for her stellar performances in various movies. She has been honored with the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian award, in 2010. She has also won three Filmfare Awards, two Star Screen Awards, and one Zee Cine Award. However, the most prestigious award that she received was the National Film Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Umrao Jaan in 1981. She is one of the few actresses who have won this award without any lobbying or campaigning.
Rekha is a trained classical dancer
Rekha is not only a brilliant actor but also a trained classical dancer. She learned Bharatanatyam from renowned guru Vempati Chinna Satyam. She has showcased her dancing skills in many movies like Khoon Bhari Maang, Silsila, Utsav, Parineeta, and others. She has also performed on stage at various events and functions.
Rekha is fluent in several languages
Rekha is a polyglot who can speak several languages fluently. Apart from Hindi and Tamil, she can also converse in English, Telugu, Urdu, Kannada, Malayalam, Bengali, French, and Russian. She has acted in movies of different languages as well.
Rekha is an avid reader
Rekha is an avid reader who loves to read books of different genres and topics. She has a vast collection of books in her library at home. Some of her favorite authors are Paulo Coelho, Khalil Gibran, Osho, Rumi, and Rabindranath Tagore. She also likes to write poetry and prose.
Rekha is a Rajya Sabha member
Rekha is not only a film personality but also a political figure. She was nominated as a member of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament, by the President of India in 2012. She is one of the few celebrities who have been bestowed with this honor. She has attended the sessions of the house and raised issues related to women’s empowerment, education, and health.
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