Born to veteran Tamil actor Gemini Ganesan and Telugu actress Pushpavalli on 10th of October 1954, Bhanurekha Ganesan alias Rekha is considered as the eternal diva of indian film industry. As her parents were not married she had to face many difficulties in her childhood. It was only when she was struggling to get a foothold in the film industry she exposed about her parenthood, they being famous in their era. Rekha 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 with Dr. Rajkumar in 1969.
She had two films released in 1970: the Telugu film Amma Kosam and the Hindi Sawan Bhadon. Sawan Bhadon was a hit and she becomes a star overnight. She got a lot of offers but nothing of substance. 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, Raampur Ka Lakshman, 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 which got critically acclaim and she was nominated for filmfare best actress award. She first attained real fame in 1978 with Muqaddar Ka Sikandar , in which she co-starred with Amitabh Bachchan.
She went on to co-star with Amitabh in a number of 1980s hits. The most scandalous of these was Silsila, in which she played Amitabh’s love interest and Amitabh’s real-life wife, Jaya Bhaduri, played his wife. She also starred in the film Umrao Jaan. The film was considered one of her best performances and she received the National Film Award for Best Actress. In films such as Muqaddar Ka Sikandar and Umrao Jaan, her portrayal of courtesan with a heart of gold won acclaim and she played similar roles in other movies. Apart from the mainstream cinema she also enacted in various Art films like Basera, Ijjazat, Ghar, Aastha to name a few. Till date she delivers all her roles with the same sincerity as she used to do before. In the year 1982 she received the National Film Award for Umrao Jaan.
Other Filmfare Awards which she received were Filmfare Best Actress Award, for the film Khubsoorat (1980), Filmfare Best Actress Award, for the film Khoon Bhari Maang (1988), Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award for the film Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi (1997),Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in the year 2003.Bollywood Movie Award as the best Supporting Actress for the film Koi Mil Gaya(2004) Star Screen Award Best Villain, for the film Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi, Zee Cine Award for Lifetime Achievement(2006),Forever Diva Award (2007).She has the credit of acting in more than 180 movies. Be it acting or dancing she did each of them with same elan and finesse.
Get to see her Gallery: Bollywood
Throughout her life she has had lots of rumoured relationships with her co stars namely Amitabh Bachchan, Jeetandra,Vinod Mehra, Kiran Kumar to name a few. A gossip runs in Bollywood that she married actor Vinod Mehra in 1973 which she later denied in a recent television show. She married a businessman Mukesh Agarwal in 1990 who committed suicide in the year 1991.Her personal life was never a bed of roses. Presently she lives with her secretary, Farzana in Bandra Mumbai. Till date she is as graceful as she was during her early days. The secret behind her flawless beauty is her disciplined life, routine of yoga and meditation which she follows strictly. Each and every upcoming actress takes her as a role model and follows her style of makeover. 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.
More on Rekha and Others at : Indian Masala Gallery