Gorgeous Rekha turns 61; a look at her award-winning film roles

The gorgeous diva of Bollywood Rekha who has charmed the nation with her beauty and skills turns 61 on Saturday. The ‘Khoobsurat’ actress has got acting in her blood. She was born to Tamil actor Gemini Ganesan and Telugu actress Pushpavalli on October 10, 1954. She was born out of wedlock as her parents were not married at the time of her birth.

Rekha started her acting career as a child artiste in a Telugu film. Although her first Hindi film was ‘Anjana Safar’ happened in 1969, which did not release until a decade later due to censorship issues, her next release ‘Sawan Bhadon’ is considered her debut Bollywood movie. She appeared in some more successful films, but despite that she was ridiculed for her dusky features and was called an ‘ugly duckling’. Rekha shut the mouth of her detractors by transforming herself into a beautiful swan and appearing as a glamorous woman in ‘Do Anjaane’ which made her an overnight sensation. Ever since, she has mesmerised the audience with her versatility as an actress, not just in commercial films but in parallel cinema as well. Since 2000, she started appearing in character roles and was appreciated for her performances in ‘Lajja’ and ‘Koi...Mil Gaya’. She will be next seen in Abhishek Kapoor’s ‘Fitoor’ starring Aditya Roy Kapur and Katrina Kaif.

Till today, she continues to enthral fans with her style and glamour. As Rekha celebrates her 61st birthday, let’s take look at her award-winning roles in her Bollywood career of over four decades.

Umrao Jaan (1981)

‘Umrao Jaan’ was a film adaptation of Mirza Hadi Ruswa’s Urdu novel ‘Umrao Jaan Ada’. Rekhan played the eponymous role of a courtesan and poetess of Lucknow in this Muzzafar Ali directorial. The film fetched her the prestigious National Film Award for Best Actress.

Khoobsurat (1980)

Acclaimed filmmaker Hrishikesh Mukherjee cast Rekha as a free-sprited bubbly girl opposite Rakesh Roshan in ‘Khoobsurat’. She showed that she is good at comic timing with this film. Rekha won the Filmfare Award for Best Actress for her role as Manju.

Khoon Bhari Maang (1988)

Rakesh Roshn’s film ‘Khoon Bhari Maang’ proved that for a film to be hit, a superstar isn’t necessary. It can be done with good actors and good script. Rekha played the role of a simple and coy Aarti in the first half, who transforms herself as a fashionable and glamorous lady Jyoti later to take on her enemies. She received her second Filmfare Best Actress Award for her performance.

Khiladiyo Ka Khiladi (1996)

Directed by Umesh Mehra, ‘Khiladiyo Ka Khiladi’ cast Rekha in her first negative role. Rekha played the role of a don Maya who hosts illegal wrestling matches in Canada. The film also starred Akshay Kumar and Raveena Tandon. Rekha received two awards for her performance – Filmfare Best Supporting Actress and Star Screen Award for Best Villain.

Utsav (1984)

Produced by Shahsi Kapoor and directed by Girish Karnad ‘Utsav’ had an ensemble cast of Rekha, Shekhar Suman, Shahsi Kapoor, Neena Gupta, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Anupam Kher, Sanjana Kapoor among others. Based on a Sanskrit play, the film was way ahead of its times and was released with an ‘A’ certificate. Rekha once again played the role of a courtesan Vasantasena. She was bestowed with the Bengal Film Journalists’ Association Award for Best Hindi Actress for the film.

Koi...Mil Gaya (2003)

The science-fiction film ‘Koi...Mil Gaya’ directed by Rakesh Roshan starred his son Hrithik Roshan. Rekha played the role of Sonia Mehra, mother of Hrithik’s character Rohit, who is a mentally disabled. Rekha won the Bollywood Movie Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the film.