Skip to main content

Replies sorted oldest to newest

Lynn

Rekha was born Bhanurekha Ganesan in Madras (present-day Chennai) on 10 October 1954 to South Indian actors Gemini Ganesan and Pushpavalli, when the couple were unmarried.[3][4] Ganesan was previously married to T. R. "Bobjima" Alamelu and had four children: the Illinois-based radiation oncologist Revathi Swaminathan, the gynecologist Kamala Selvaraj, The Times of India's journalist Narayani Ganesan, and the medical doctor Jaya Shreedhar.[5][6] He had two more children with actress Savitriβ€”Vijaya Chamundeswari, a fitness expert, and Sathish Kumaar.[6][7][8] Meanwhile, Pushpavalli had two children (Babuji and Rama) from her earlier marriage to the lawyer I. V. Rangachari.[9] Ganesan and Pushpavalli had another daughter, Radha (born 1955).[10][11] Nagaprasad and the actress Shubha are her cousins, while Vedantam Raghavayya and his wife Suryaprabha are her uncle and aunt, respectively.[12] Rekha's mother tongue is Tamil,[13] but she has mentioned that "at home we used to talk in English, barely spoke in Telugu",[14] and that she thinks in English.[15] She is also fluent in Telugu and Hindi.


Rekha did not reveal her family background until mid-1970s.[16][17] During her unstable childhood, her relationship with her father Ganesan was poor. Ganesan did not want to recognize her as his daughter and give her a living.[18][19] He rarely met both of his children with Pushpavalli, who subsequently married K. Prakash, a cinematographer from Madras, and she legally changed her name to K. Pushpavalli. She gave birth to two more children, Dhanalakshmi (who later married to the actor Tej Sapru) and the dancer Seshu (died 21 May 1991).[20][21] Due to her mother's hectic acting schedule at the time, Rekha would often stay with her grandmother. Asked in an interview by Simi Garewal about her father, Rekha believed he was never even aware of her existence.[22] She recalled that her mother often spoke about him and added that despite never having lived with him, she felt his presence all through.[22][23] Even so, the relationship started to improve five years after Pushpavalli died in 1991.[21] He told a Cine Blitz interviewer of his happiness about this and stated, "Rekha and I have such a good rapport. We are really close."[24] He died in 2005.[25]

Rekha was one year old when she played a small role in the Telugu-language drama Inti Guttu.[26] Directed by Vedantam Raghavayya, the film was released in late 1958 and became a commercial success.[27] She was enrolled at a kindergarten when she was at the age of three and next joined the Presentation Convent School in Madras during her adolescence.[28][29] She also met Narayani, Ganesan and Aramelu's second daughter,[30][31] at the school when the latter was around nine or ten years old.[29] Always an awkward and lonely girl, she admitted that she experienced childhood obesity. In a 1990 interview to The Illustrated Weekly of India, she called herself as "the fattest girl in the school". In this period, she developed a love for dances and sports, although never participated in them due to her weight.[28] Because of this, she was bullied by many of her schoolmates, who called her lotta (Tamil for "bastard").[29] Rekha, describing herself as a "firm believer" in God and destiny, used to spend her time at the school's chapel.[28] Another brief screen role came with the release of Rangula Ratnam (1966)β€”a political satire which was popular among the audience[32]β€”co-starring Pushpavalli and sister Radha.[23][33]

According to her biographer Yasser Usman, Rekha was asked by Pushpavalli to start an acting career when their family faced financial troubles in 1968, as the latter was sure that it would help them.[22][34] Although never had interest for acting, Rekha (who was initially aspired to be a flight attendant)[35] obeyed her desire and, at the age of 13 to 14β€”while she was in ninth gradeβ€”she dropped out from school to start a full-time career in acting;[34][a] she later regretted not having completed her education.[37] A protective sister, she did not allow her younger sister Radha to join her, because she wanted Radha to finish hers.[22]

Lynn

Personal life and off-screen work

In 1990, Rekha married Delhi-based industrialist Mukesh Aggarwal. Aggarwal was a self-made entrepreneur and owner of the kitchenware brand Hotline.[168] He is believed to have had a long-standing struggle with depression and according to Rekha's biographers, she only found out about his mental health after marriage. He was introduced to Rekha through a mutual friend and fashion designer Bina Ramani who termed him Rekha's 'crazy fan'.[168] Their marriage took place on 4 March 1990, and a few months laterβ€”while she was in Londonβ€”he died by suicide, after several previous attempts, leaving a note, "Don't blame anyone".[169] She was pilloried by the press at that time, a period which one journalist termed as "the deepest trough in her life."[170] Bhawana Somaaya observed the period speaking of "a strong anti-wave against the actress β€” some called her a witch, some a murderess," but added that soon "Rekha came out of the eclipse once again unblemished!"[171]

She was rumoured to have been married to actor Vinod Mehra in 1973, but in a 2004 television interview with Simi Garewal she denied being married to Mehra referring to him as a "well-wisher". Rekha currently lives in her Bandra home in Mumbai.[172][173]

She was also famously rumoured to have been in a relationship with Amitabh Bachchan, who was married, after they first acted together in Do Anjaane, and later in Silsila.[174][175][176]

Critics noted Rekha for having worked hard to perfect her Hindi and acting, and media reporters often discussed how she had transformed herself from a "plump" duckling to a "swan" in the early 1970s. Rekha's credits to this transformation were yoga, a nutritious diet, and a regular, disciplined life. In 1983, her diet and yoga practice were published in a book called "Rekha's Mind and Body Temple".[177] Rekha has no children.[178] She is a self-proclaimed eggetarian.[179]

In 2012, Rekha was nominated as a Member of Parliament to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of India.[180][181] She was appointed to the position by PresidentPratibha Patil on the recommendation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for her contribution in the field of art (in accordance with article 80 of the Constitution of India which allows the President to nominate 12 members to the House for their expertise in specific fields).[180][182]Her tenure started on 27 April 2012 and ended on the same day in 2018.[183] She took part in the Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution committee, but, like with other nominated members, her six-year term concluded amidst criticism for her low attendance as well as minimal participation in the House.[183] This concern had been previously raised with respect to Rekha and other nominated members during their incumbency, but several elected members came to their defense, asserting that the active presence of those nominated to the House was not obligatory and that they could contribute in other ways through their position.[184][185]

Lynn

Add Reply

×
×
×
×
×
Link copied to your clipboard.
×
×