Star of the week - REKHA


Name: Banurekha Ganeshan
DOB: October 10, 1954
Star: Libra
Birthplace: Chennai, India
Occupation: Actress

Noted for: Her versatility and for being acknowledged as one of the finest actresses of Indian cinema.


• Rekha has acted in over 180 films in her career spanning over 50 years. Throughout her career, she has often played strong female characters and, apart from mainstream cinema, appeared in arthouse films, known in India as parallel cinema.

• She has won two Filmfare Awards for Best Actress and one for Best Supporting Actress for her roles in Khubsoorat (1980), Khoon Bhari Maang (1988) and Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi (1996), respectively.

• Her portrayal of a courtesan in Umrao Jaan (1981) won her the National Film Award for Best Actress. In 2010, she was honoured with the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award given by the Government of India.

Interesting facts:

• Rekha was born to Tamil actor Gemini Ganesan and Telugu actress Pushpavalli. Her father enjoyed considerable success as an actor and Rekha was to follow in his footsteps.

• At the age of 13, Rekha quit school to start a career in acting. She did not have any personal aspirations in this direction, but the troubled financial state of her family compelled her to do so.

• Rekha started her career in 1966 as a child actress in a Telugu film and her film debut as a lead actress three years later. She made her Hindi film debut with Sawan Bhadon in 1970.

• The 70s was a particularly hard phase for teenager Rekha in Bollywood. Coming from the South, she did not speak Hindi and struggled to communicate with co-workers, and was constantly missing her mother, who was critically ill. Moreover, she was required to follow a strict diet.

• Despite the success of several of her early films, she was often panned for her looks and it was not until the mid-to-late 1970s that she got recognition as an actress. She appeared in several commercially successful films at the time, including Raampur Ka Lakshman (1972), Kahani Kismat Ki (1973), and Pran Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaye (1974).

• This period marked the beginning of Rekha's physical transformation. She started paying attention to her make-up, dress sense, and worked to improve her acting technique and perfect her Hindi-language skills. To lose weight, she followed a nutritious diet, led a disciplined life, and practised yoga, later recording albums to promote physical fitness.

• Rekha’s most significant turning point came in 1978 with her portrayal of a rape victim in the movie Ghar.

• In that same year, she attained fame with Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, the biggest hit of that year as well as one of the biggest hits of the decade. Her portayal of a courtesan named Zohra earned her a Best Supporting Actress nomination at the Filmfare.

• In 1982, she received another Filmfare nomination for Jeevan Dhaara, in which she played a young unmarried woman who is the sole breadwinner of her extended family. In 1983, she took the supporting role of a lawyer in Mujhe Insaaf Chahiye, garnering another Filmfare nomination in the Supporting Actress category.

• The 1990s saw a drop in Rekha's success. She retained considerable success with her starring role as Namrata Singh, a young woman who joins the police force to avenge her husband's death in Phool Bane Angaray (1991). The film was a box-office hit and Rekha received a Best Actress nomination at Filmfare for her work.

• Halfway through the decade, Rekha managed to halt her decline with Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi (1996), an action film that was a major financial success and became one of the highest-grossing Indian films of the year. It featured Rekha in her first negative role, who, during the course of the film, romances the much younger Akshay Kumar. Her portrayal earned her several awards, including the Star Screen Award for Best Villain.

• In the 2000s, Rekha appeared in relatively few movies, including Zubeida and the critically successful Lajja and science-fiction films Koi... Mil Gaya and Krish.