Happy Birthday Rekha: Her life is a heady story of success
Rekha has acted in more than 180 films in her career spanning over 50 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.
Rekha appeared as a child (credited as Baby Bhanurekha) in the Telugu film Rangula Ratnam (1966). Rekha made her debut as heroine in the successful Kannada film Operation Jackpot Nalli C.I.D 999 with Rajkumar in 1969. In that same year, she starred in her first Hindi film, Anjana Safar. She later claimed that she was tricked into a kissing scene with the leading actor Biswajit for the overseas market,and the kiss made it to the Asian edition of Life magazine. The film ran into censorship problems, and would not be released until almost a decade later in 1979 (retitled as Do Shikaari).
And 2010, she was honoured with the Padma Shri by the Government of India.