Rekha

- Vikram Chandiramani 

Born on October 10, 1952 at Madras. Made her debut with 'Saawan Bhadon' and went on to do inconsequential films like 'Haseenon Ka Devta' and 'Zorro'. Rekha also earned tags like man-eater and nymphomaniac because of her liaisons with various men including Vinod Mehra, who she married briefly. She would have continued in the same vein but there was a metamorphosis as she came close to Amitabh    

Bachchan during the making of 'Do Anjane'.The new Rekha was suave, polished, perfectly made-up and went on to cultivate a mannequin look. Some of her impressive performances were in 'Ghar', 'Jhoothi', 'Khubsoorat', 'Utsav' and 'Muqaddar Ka Sikandar'.

The way Rekha played a tawaif is said to have been imitated by the singing girls in Bombay's Congress House. She perfected it in Muzaffar Ali's 'Umrao Jaan'. At least three singing girls changed their names to Umrao, and Rekha got the National Award for her performance.

Her most talked-about romance with Amitabh culminated in an equally controversial film : Yash Chopra's 'Silsila', which had the casting coup of Amitabh, Jaya and Rekha. The Indian audience, though, rejected the film. 'Silsila' was their last film together. After his near-fatal accident on the sets of 'Coolie', Bachchan has not signed any film with her.

On rebound, Rekha got married to a Delhi-based industrialist Mukesh Agarwal. But tragedy struck soon. Mukesh committed suicide, hanging himself with her dupatta and Rekha became the 'black widow'. She touched rock-bottom in popularity but bounced back with K C Bokadia's 'Phool Bane Angarey'. She shifted to small budget films like 'Aastha' and 'Kamasutra' and even played a central but negative character in 'Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi'. At the moment Rekha has just a few films, and spends her time doing photo-sessions. Distributors refused to touch her last release as a heroine ('Mother 98') forcing the producer to distribute it himself. The film got an initial of 14 percent and was considered a turkey. Her last major release 'Bulundi' in which she plays second fiddle to Raveena Tandon too didn't fare well at the box office. .

Rekha also worked with Mallika Sherawat in 'Bachke Rehna Re Baba' which was a washout.

Rekha has not been able to live that movie down and continues to be defensive about it in her interviews. She is currently part of a movie called 'Kudiyon Ka Ha Zamana' which also has Mahima Chaudhary, Vasundhara Das, Kim Sharma and Ashmit Patel. The movie is believed to be similar to Mithun Chakraborthy starrer Shaukeen (1981).