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Era of Fame

 

1970's

Rekha first appeared as a child actor in the Telugu  film Rangula Ratnam (1966). Rekha made her debut as heroine in the successful Kannada film Goadalli CID 999 in 1969. She had two films released in 1970: the Telugu  film Amma Kosam and the Hindi :Sawan Bhadon was a hit and she becomes a star overnight.  Her roles were mostly used to be just of a glamour girl, a typical Hindi movie heroine. She appeared in several successful films, such as Kahani Kismat ki , Rampur Ka laxman  and Pran Jaaye Par Vachan Na Jaaye. Her first serious and performance oriented role came in 1976 when she signed Do Anjaane with Amitabh Bachchan. People noticed her in that and then came Ghar  in 1978. She got critical acclaim for her performance as a rape victim and received her first nomination for Best Actress at the FilmFare Awards ceremony.She first attained real fame in 1978 with Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, in which she co-starred with Amitabh Bachchan. The movie was the biggest hit of the year and Rekha was set as one of the most popular actresses of these times. She went on to co-star with Amitabh in a number of 1980s hits. She was rumoured to be Amitabh's real-life flame, and that's why the most scandalous of their films together was Silsila (1981), in which she played Amitabh's love interest and Amitabh's real-life wife, Jaya Bhaduri, played his wife. The film-column gossip may have contributed to her success. However, even critics had to admit that she had worked hard to perfect her Hindi and her acting, and that she had transformed herself from a "plump" duckling to a "sawan" in the early 1970s. Rekha's credits to this transformation were yoga, a nutritious diet, and a regular, disciplined life.

 

1980's

1981, she starred in the critically acclaimed Urdu film Umrao Jaan.Her role of courtesan with a heart of gold in films like Muqaddar Ka Sikandar and Umrao Jaan won her acclaim and she played similar roles in other movies.The post-Bachchan era marked the turning point where Rekha turned her career professionally. Apart from parallel cinema, Rekha took on other increasingly serious, even adventurous roles; She was among the early actresses to play lead roles in heroine-oriented films, delivering films such as Khoobsoorat, Khoon Bhari Maang, Mujhe Insaaf Chahiye She won  Film Fare trophies for her roles in Khubsoorat and Khoon Bhari Maang.

 

1990's

The 1990s saw drop in her success and she almost lost her stardom. She was part of some commercially and critically unsuccessful films, in spite of doing even more challenging roles. Unlike most of the actresses of her generation during the 70s and the 80s like Hema Malini and  Rakhi , who began making supporting roles as the mother or the aunty, Rekha was known for still playing the leading roles, at the same time as heroines Madhuri Dixit and Raveena Tondon were notable. The foreign film Kama Sutra : A Tale Of Love and the commercially successful Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi (1996). were some of her most notable films during the decade. While the former, was known for its controversial issue that Rekha played a  Kama Sutra  teacher in the film, the latter was a major grosser and earned her several awards in the Best Supporting Actress and the Best Villain categories for her first villain role.

 

    Recent Years

In recent years, she has appeared in relatively few movies, usually as a mother or a widow rather than a glamour queen. She was acting in films such as,  Zubaida (2001), Dil Hai Tumahara (2002), Koi .... Mil Gaya (2003) and Parineeta (2005). In 2006, she was seen in the sequel to Koi... Mil Gaya i.e  krrish , which was one of the most successful films of the year.

Rekha is thus one of the few hindi film actresses who had the versatility to carry with equal aplomb such diverse roles as that of the brattish schoolgirl of Khubsoorat, the sultry siren of Muqaddar ka Sikandar, the school-maarmish housewife of Ijaazat and classical   Courtesan  in Umrao Jaan. Her diction and dialogue delivery in Hindi and urdu, languages that were not natural to her, is an example even to native speakers of those tongues. She imbues every role she essayed with a dignity and characterization that makes it difficult to visualize anyone but her in those roles. In doing so, she has carved an indelible name for herself in the annals of Indian Cinema.