If you're ever looking for inspiration and a role model, then Rekha is probably one of the most iconic women in our film industry to look up to. Not only is she a talented actor, her personal growth journey is extremely inspirational.
Bhanurekha Ganesan was born in Madras to Tamil and Telugu actors Gemini Ganesan and Pushpavalli. She has done around 115 films, and you can literally see her slowly transition to to the fabulous woman she is today. But it's not just about how she changed her appearance. Rekha started her career from the South film industry, and so she wasn't too great at Hindi or Urdu. The actor even dubbed for other actors who could not speak Hindi, to better her skills.
Her first Hindi film was Sawan Bhadon, which released in 1970 and was a commercial hit. But she had many more successes that came her way post this. Rekha's most notable films have been Umrao Jaan (1981), Khubsoorat (1980), Ijaazat (1987), Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (1978), Namak Haraam (1973), Silsila (1981) and Utsav (1984). The actor has won 7 awards, out of which 4 are Filmfare awards, 2 IIFAs and one national award in 1981.
She has spoken about being labelled as an 'ugly duckling,' and as someone who simply did not meet the beauty standards that our film industry had set for women back then.
I was called the ‘Ugly Duckling’ of Hindi films because of my dark complexion and South Indian features. I used to feel deeply hurt when people compared me with the leading heroines of the time and said I was no match for them. I was determined to make it big on sheer merit
As you may have noticed, her most successful films released post the 1980s. That is exactly when the actor underwent a whole transformation. She went deeper into the hard work that was required of her. Both in terms of her talent, and her appearance. In an interview with Simi Garewal, Rekha spoke about how she started focusing on her diet, workout routine and beauty regiment to change her herself inside out.
It took me two and a half years to really lose binging on junk food and chocolate. And then slowly, by the time Ghar was released, that’s when it hit people that it’s overnight. But it’s not overnight, it took about two-and-a half years.
- Rekha told Simi Garewal
Also, her eyebrow and lash game is obviously supreme!
Such a hardworking and talented woman!