Ageless Rekha turns 58: A look back at her success and struggle

New Delhi, Wed, 10 Oct 2012 NI Wire
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A 13-year-old girl came to Mumbai from Madras to work in Bollywood not by her choice but was forced as to support her family financially. Few new that this dark complexion and plump figured girl will be ruling the industry in coming years.

Rekha, a sex symbol in the Indian media, a diva who has defied all age barriers is celebrating her 58th birthday today on 10 October. Here is a look back of her life.

Bhanurekha Ganesan or Rekha was born on 10 October 1954 to Rangula Ratnam and Pushpavalli in Madras. Her parent never married and Rangula never accepted her during her childhood. This was the reason for a rift between her and her father.

The time when normal kids were going to school and enjoying their childhood, Rekha was working literally 24 hours from one studio to another. She later admitted in her interviews that starting days were like hell for her.

She acted in her first Telugu movie as child actress in the year 1966. Then she came to Bollywood and made her film debut as a lead with Sawan Bhadon in the year 1970. Even the film was a success and she became a star overnight, not much came along after it mostly because of her looks. Called ugly duckling in her starting years, it took serious dedication, yoga, strict diet and determination by Rekha to transform her to a glam doll.

In came films like Don Anjaane opposite Amitabh Bachchan, Ghar opposite Vinod Mehra that brought her to limelight and made her the first choice of directors. Film started rolling Khubsoorat (1980), Muqaddar Ka Sikander (1978), Suhaag (1979), Jaani Dushman (1979), Silsila (1981) , Mr. Natwarlal (1979) and others.

In between she acted in parallel cinema as well and showed her acting talent in films like Shyam Benegal's award-winning drama, Kalyug (1981), Govind Nihalani's Vijeta (1982), Girish Karnad's Utsav (1984) and Gulzar's Ijaazat (1987).

In 1981 came Umrao Jaan, one of the most successful films of her carried that won her the National Film Award for Best Actress.

Rekha went on to feature in over 180 films in her career spanning 40 years.

Considered one of the finest actresses in Hindi cinema, she has often played strong female characters in her films.

She won 3 Filmfare Awards, 2 for Best Actress and 1 for Best Supporting Actress.

Personal life of Rekha was not that successful. She was allegedly related to Amitabh even when he was married to Jaya. Rekha married Mukesh Aggarwal, an industrialist in the year 1990 but he committed suicide a year later. She never married again.

She has ruled the hearts of millions, often considered as one of the greatest actresses of Bollywood, Rekha will remain as a shining star in cinema history.

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