Rekha is the daughter of renowned Tamil actor Gemini Ganesan and the Telugu actress Pushpavalli.
In 1990 she married Delhi-based businessman Mukesh Aggarwal, who committed suicide in 1991.
She has a younger sister who resides in California.In 1966, Rekha appeared as a child actor in the Telugu film Rangula Ratnam.She started acting very early, at the age of Thirteen.
She did not even know Hindi at that time. But she was a quick learner and learnt Hindi in three months and dancing in one month.In 1970, Her first film Sawan Bhadon done with Navin Nischol was released.
Throughout the 70s, she remained an insignificant entity in Bollywood with nothing but moderate success to her credit.She acted in over 20 films with the then reigning superstar Amitabh Bachchan and their hits together like Mukaddar Ka Sikandar, Mr. Natwarlal, Khoon Paseena and Silsila made Amitabh-Rekha one of the hottest pairs on the Hindi screen.
In 1978, the movie Ghar was considered her first notable milestone, as she got critical acclaim for her performance, and received her first nomination for Best Actress at the Filmfare Awards.In 1978, she first attained real fame with Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, the movie was the biggest hit of that year, as well as one of the biggest hits of the decade, and Rekha was set as one of the most successful actresses.
Apart from being a commercial success, the film opened to positive critical reception, and Rekha's performance earned her a Best Supporting Actress nomination at the Filmfare.
In 2001, she acted alongside Karisma Kapoor in Shyam Benegal’s Zubeidaa. She next starred alongside Preity Zinta in Kudan Shah’s Dil Hai Tumhara, playing the role of Sarita, a betrayed woman who takes into her custody a child born from her husband’s extra-marital affair.
In 2003, she played Hrithik Roshan’s mother in Rakesh Roshan’s Koi…Mil Gaya, a performance which won her the Best Supporting Actress Award. The film was the biggest hit of that year.
Noted for her versatility and acknowledged as one of the finest actresses in Hindi cinema, Rekha started her career in 1966 as a child actress in the Telugu movie Rangula Ratnam, though her film debut as a lead happened four years later with Sawan Bhadon (1970).
Despite the success of several of her early films, she was often panned for her looks and it was not until the mid-to-late 1970s that she got recognition as an actress.
Since the late 1970s, after undertaking a physical transformation, she has been featured as a sex symbol in the Indian media.
Rekha has acted in over 180 films in a career spanning over 40 years. Throughout her career, she has often played strong female characters and, apart from mainstream cinema, appeared in arthouse films, known in India as parallel cinema.
She has won three Filmfare Awards, two for Best Actress and one for Best Supporting Actress, for her roles in Khubsoorat (1980), Khoon Bhari Maang (1988) and Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi (1996), respectively.
Her portrayal of a classical courtesan in Umrao Jaan (1981) won her the National Film Award for Best Actress. Though her career has gone through certain periods of decline, she has reinvented herself numerous times and has been credited for her ability to sustain her status.
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