From "Umrao Jaan"(1981)

Rekha is arguably the most fascinating figure in Bollywood. In Western film and entertainment terms it would be impossible to name a modern counterpart. One would have to go back to the golden age of motion pictures when there was a mythical stature attached to film stars and look at Garbo, who saw her screen persona as a different entity apart from herself. Rekha is very much the Garbo of Bollywood. Rekha herself sees her film persona in the third person.

* I began [the interview] by asking her about one of her favorite subjects - Rekha, a mythic being she had come to see as larger than herself. "Nobody can take my position, not even myself."... "Not even the human being that I am can ever take Rekha's position. No. That is only for her. She has taken that position for life." Although she viewed herself as a deity, Rekha was warm, friendly and so talkative that it was difficult to guide the conversation to a new topic... (reference cited at bottom of page)



From "Muqaddar Ka Sikandar"(1978)

Rekha has cultivated an otherworldly aura of mystery around her persona. She is reclusive like Garbo and will disappear from the social scene for months only to appear at the most important functions where she will hold court for a couple of hours, take the best photo opportunities for the fan magazines and then disappear like an apparition.

Much has been made of her "transformation" from (in her own words) "a round ball of flesh" (where I think she means a mere human) in the 70s into a toned and manicured ultimate fashion and beauty icon and screen 'star' in the 80s. She practiced yoga and mastered the art of make-up. She was media smart and kept herself in the top headlines for over a decade. She even attached herself as the mistress to the greatest film legend of Bollywood history, Amitabh Bachchan.

She was the undisputed number one film actress of the 80s and part of the 90s. She wasn't just an actress though, Rekha was and still is a LEGEND, and it has been a calculated and hard earned effort.



From "Silsila" (1981)

Justifiably there are a plethora of Rekha web sites where one can learn more about the person and the 'mythical' star. There are a few listed below.

What I wanted to attempt was a photo gallery that illustrated the famed Rekha 'transformation' in photos of her over the years. There is the self proclaimed "round ball of flesh" from the mid 70s in "Dharmatma" with the experimental attempts at finding the Rekha look in make-up. The Rekha finding her style and refining the elements in "Muqaddar Ka Sikandar"(1978). Then the complete transformation in 1981 with ""Silsila" and "Umrao Jaan". Rekha's was not an overnight metamorphosis it was a slow arduous journey of discovery that comprised the better part of Rekha's 20s.

go to the Rekha photo gallery

Now in the new millennium Rekha continues to fascinate. She still cultivates the myth that surrounds her and treats herself ( and her body) with utmost care, as if she is worshiping a deity. She has embodied for herself a certain 'godhead', the Bollywood Mega Star, and she consciously acts as it's most dutiful servant.



*Reference quoted in the first panel from Elisabeth Bumiller's book "May You Be the Mother of a Hundred Sons" page 187

Go to the Bollywood501 Rekha photo gallery



Mail to: Folder: Rekha, Size: 2MB one level up: classic_f (evergreen actresses) Directory:
first uploaded:01.03.03