Veteran Bollywood actress Rekha is set to be honoured with the Yash Chopra Memorial Award…
Mumbai: Rekha set the screen ablaze with several hits and is now back in another prominent role in Aaj Phir Jeene Ki Tamanna Hai. Says the gorgeous actor, “I play a modern singer in love with a rich man played by Shatrughan Sinha in this film, which is his home production. It is directed by Ramesh Talwar who returns after a long break.”
Four years have passed since Rekha was seen as Lajwanti in Goutam Ghosh’s Yatra, a forgettable film by any standard except for the memorable performances by Rekha, Deepti Naval and Zohra Sehgal. Rekha smiles at the mention of Yatra, “It could have been a brilliant film, but unfortunately it was not handled well. My last two scenes in Yatra were memorable in the sense that I had ample scope for emoting.”
The ugly duckling of the 1970s who turned diva has completed four decades in the industry. She competed successfully with other gifted actors such as Sharmila Tagore, Raakhee and Jaya Bachchan and was able to carve a niche for herself in Hindi cinema. Her first few films such as Sawan Bhadon, Do Shikari and Kashmakash were insipid. Rampur Ka Lakshman and Do Anjane established her as an actor of merit.
Remembers Rekha, “Based on a taut screenplay by Nabendu Ghosh, Do Anjane was a Hindi adaptation of Nihar Ranjan Gupta’s famous Bengali novel, ‘Ratrir Yatri’. It was my first chance to rub shoulders with the immensely talented Amitabh Bachchan and we went on to become a super hit pair.”
Coming back to Aaj Phir Jeene Ki Tamanna Hai, Rekha says, “My character is devoid of the stereotyped sati savitri. There are positive as well as negative shades which make it realistic and appealing. Besides, it is great to work with a competent actor such as Shatrughan Sinha.
Khubsoorat showcased Rekha’s flair for light-hearted comedies. Her most memorable performance was in Umrao Jaan (1981), directed by none other than Muzaffar Ali. Says Rekha, “After reading the script, I had a strange feeling that I had Umrao in me. And the film created history.”
Rekha’s other memorable performances include Shashi Kapoor’s Kaliyug and Vijeta. She says, “Both were directed by the likes of Shyam Benegal and Govind Nihalani. In Vijeta, I gave a performance which is one of my personal favourites.” Rekha has proved her versatility in intense, comic as well as action-oriented characters. She made an impact in her brief appearance in Parineeta as she danced and lip-synched the breezy number, Zoo, Zoo, Zoo.
Choosing her roles
Rekha is choosy about her roles. Ask her why she attempted a small role in Dev Anand’s Censor, and she smiles, “Simply because it was a film by the iconic Dev Anand. Three of my films with him, Kamyab, Mr. John and Ab Meri Baari, never saw the light of day. I did not want to miss the chance of acting with my idol. So I opted for Censor and really enjoyed working with him.”
What does she regret as an actor? She pauses for a while and says, “That Aag Ki Daryia never got released. It was my first film opposite thespian Dilip Kumar and I very much wanted viewers to judge our histrionic confrontation.”