Bollywood's Celebraty Rekha, arguably termed India’s Greta Garbo, continues to be Bollywood’s ever-graceful style diva even at 54. She is considered to be the eternal diva of the Bollywood film industry. Throughout the 1970s till date she has been known for her beauty, acting talent and dancing skills. She has acted in over 180 films in her career, taking part both in the Indian mainstream cinema as well as in parallel cinema. She has had commercial success as an actress, as well as critical acclaim for her strong performances down the years. The actress, who is synonymous with style and beauty for her fans, surprised many when she bagged the MTV Lycra Maha Style Icon Award in 2004. In 2006, British magazine Eastern Eye listed her as one of “Asia’s Sexiest Women”.
Born in 1954, in Chennai, India, Bhanurekha Ganesan (later known simply as "Rekha") is the daughter of renowned Tamil actor Gemini Ganesan and the Telugu actress Pushpavalli. Her father enjoyed phenomenal success and Rekha was to follow in his footsteps. Rekha's parents were not married, and her father did not acknowledge his paternity during her childhood. It was during the early 1970s, when she was looking for a footing in the Bollywood film industry, that she revealed her origins. Goadalli CID 999, a Kannada film was her first film in which she played the lead role. In 1970 she appeared as a full-fledged leading lady in Hindi movie Sawan Bhadon. The film hogged the limelight for all the wrong reasons and the critics wrote off this dusky, plump girl who later ruled the silver screen. Undeterred by criticism, Rekha pursued her career in Hindi films and signed films with big stars like Rajendra Kumar, Dharmendra and many more. She was seen in films like Gora Aur Kala, Raampur Ka Lakshman, Kahani Kismat Ki, Pran Jaaye Par Vachan Na Jaaye. Though the films were not big hits but did satisfactory business at box office. However, her major break came with Muqaddar Ka Sikandar in which for the first time she appeared opposite Amitabh Bachchan. Both, the audience and the critics, appreciated their on screen chemistry. After that Rekha and Amitabh worked in nine films together including Mr. Natwarlal and Khoon Paseena. Very soon their on screen closeness translated into an off screen affair which was beautifully depicted by Yash Chopra in Silsila (1981) in which real life couple, Amitabh and Jaya played husband and wife.
Her most memorable role, so far, is of the courtesan she played in Umrao Jaan. Her stupendous performance was appreciated with a National Film Award. Apart from success, the average looking, plump and dark girl, who could hardly be called attractive, underwent a remarkable transformation and emerged as the ageless beauty of Indian screen. The makeover was not just physical, the actress also enhanced her acting capabilities. She imbues every role she essayed with a dignity and characterisation that makes it difficult to visualise anyone but her, in those roles. In doing so, she has carved an indelible name for herself in the annals of Indian cinema. A rare blend of beauty and talent, Rekha also hogs the limelight for her timeless beauty and mysterious lifestyle. Today, Rekha lives all by herself in her ivory tower, leading a reclusive life. But that's the way she prefers. And as long as her enigmatic per-sona continues to dazzle us on screen, she'll never have a dearth of fans. She will always re-main one of the greatest stars of all time.