One looks at Raakhee and are immediately drawn to her
gaze. There is a melancholy there, an exquisite languid beautiful
sadness. Her oval face, doe shaped honey colored eyes and
perfectly shaped royal Begali nose captures the attention.
In the 70s, what close-ups she could take! ("Sharmilee"
 , a star vehicle entertainer for her and Shashi
Kapoor had in it's length over 1/2 an hour devoted to
close-ups and medium shots of her face.) She was truly a photographers
Raakhee starred and co-stared in 5 Yash Chopra films from
the 70s, notably "Daag"  "Kabhi Kabhie"
 and "Trishul"  that are all considered
great classics of Hindi 'Bollywood' cinema. In Yash Chopra's
"Kaala Patthar"  the love story sequences
between Raakhee and Amitabh
Bachchan in their quietly subtle and naturalistic delivery
are some of the most touching acting moments in Bollywood
film. "Kaala Patthar" was Amitabh and Raakhee's
third film together under Yash Chopra's direction and marked
acting peaks for both actors.
In a film and social culture where marriage often means
retirement for an actress. Raakhee who was already married
and divorced by the time she was 18 was one of the few married
woman to become a star in Bollywood. In fact she took the
retirement route after her second marriage to the script writer/
director Gulzar. She had a child but Raakhee couldn't stay
away from acting and made a film comeback that strained and
eventually ended her second marriage.
Raakhee became an alcoholic and for a time drank heavily.
During this mid-career period Raakhee excelled in dramatic
roles and was compared to the 'queen of tragedy' Meena Kumari.
Ironically both of her ex-husband's reportedly had affairs
with Kumari. This comparison rankled Raakhee to no end and
must have caused her great angst as Raakhee was a great dramatic
actress in her own right.
Raakhee has won three Fimfare acting awards and unlike
most all of the actress' who were beauty queens of the 60s
and 70s she continues to act in films to this day. She is
a true troubadour with over 30 years in the film industry.
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