Star of the week - RAKHEE GULZAR


DOB: August 15, 1947
Star sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ranaghat, West Bengal
Occupation: Actress


• Born Rakhee Majumdar, she primarily appeared in Hindi, as well as many Bengali films. In four decades of acting, she won three Filmfare Awards and a National Film Award, among others. At Filmfare, Rakhee has been nominated 16 times (eight for Best Actress and eight for Best Supporting Actress), making her the overall most-nominated performer in the female acting categories, alongside actress Madhuri Dixit.

Interesting facts:

• Rakhee was born in a Bengali family in the Nadia district in the early hours of August 15, 1947, just hours after the declaration of independence of India. She received her early education in a local girls school. Her father had a flourishing shoe business in his native village in East Bengal, modern-day Bangladesh, before the partition of India, and thereafter he settled in West Bengal. While still a teenager, Raakhee had an arranged marriage to Bengali journalist-film director Ajay Biswas, which ended shortly thereafter.

• In 1967, 20-year-old Rakhee acted in her first Bengali film Badhu Baran, after which she was offered the lead role in her first Hindi film Jeevan Mrityu (1970) with Dharmendra.

• In 1971, Rakhee played a double role opposite Shashi Kapoor in Sharmilee, and in the same year she also acted in Lal Patthar and Paras; all three films were popular and she therefore, became one of the leading actresses of Hindi Cinema in the 1970s. In films such as Jurmana, her name is even credited ahead of the heroes.

• Films Shehzada (1972) and Aankhon Aankhon Mein (1972), both showcased her comic abilities. She displayed versatility with Heera Panna (1973), Daag: A Poem of Love (1973), Hamare Tumhare (1979), Aanchal (1980), Shriman Shrimati (1982) and Taaqat (1982). Rakhee regards her performances in Blackmail (1973), Tapasya (1976) and Aanchal to be her best.

• She formed a popular pair with Amitabh Bachchan and acted in around 10 movies with Shashi Kapoor and quite a few with Dev Anand, too. In one of her interviews in 2012, she said that her favourite co-stars were Rajesh Khanna and Shashi Kapoor. "Rajesh was like one of the seven wonders for the industry. There was magic in his face and mannerisms. He was shy and conservative, but misunderstood," she quoted.

• In 1981, the 23-year-old aspiring director Anil Sharma asked her to star in the leading role in his debut film Shradhanjali; Rakhee agreed to take the part despite lack of funding for the film project, and the film became successful. Her last film as the lead female heroine was Pighalta Aasman in 1985 with Shashi Kapoor.

• At the peak of her career as heroine, she surprised everyone by agreeing to play strong characters such as playing sister-in-law to Rajesh Khanna in Aanchal, which was followed by playing sister-in-law to Shashi Kapoor in Shaan (1980), mother to Amitabh in Shakti (1982), sister-in-law to Mithun Chakraborty in Dhuan and mother to Rishi Kapoor in Yeh Vaada Raha (1982).

• Towards the late 1980s and 1990s, she played strong character roles as the elderly mother, usually a bereaved and bitter widow whose husband died at the hands of ruthless villains, or a woman of principles in commercially successful films such as Ram Lakhan (1989), Anari (1993), Baazigar (1993), Khalnayak (1993), Karan Arjun (1995), Border (1997), Soldier (1998), Ek Rishtaa: The Bond of Love (2001) and Dil Ka Rishta (2002).

• Her last film was Shubho Mahurat in 2003, for which she won the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress. She has since retired from the film industry.