Rekha’s Marriage: The Complex Love Story Of The Resilient Beauty

Rekha is one actress whose persona is made of two contrary notions that are as disparate as black and white. While some see her as a mystique figure dogged by an unfortunate past, many see her as a paradigm of charisma that is matched by no other actress of her league or anyone else ever. She has grown from being that plump struggling starlet in her early acting years to someone who reinvented herself to become a noticeable ethereal beauty. Her story is intriguing and her love life has been infamous yet tumultuous, which has made her an enigma shrouded in mystery. Let’s delve deeper and learn more about her early life and her turbulent love life, and see if Rekha’s marriage was on the cards.

Early Life & Foray Into The Film World

Rekha’s Marriage - Rekha

Rekha was born on 10th of October in the year 1954 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Her birth name is Bhanurekha Ganesan and she’s the daughter of the popular Tamil actor Gemini Ganesan and Telugu actress Pushpavalli. Rekha was born out of wedlock and for that reason Gemini Ganesan did not acknowledge his paternity. She and her sister were raised by their mother. Her family had financial troubles and that forced the young Rekha to quit school and venture out to find a footing in the film world. She started her career as a child artist in the year 1966 with the Telugu film Rangula Ratnam and in just three years she appeared as the lead female protagonist in a Kannada film Operation Jackpot Nalli C.I.D 999 in the year 1969. Her first Hindi film was Anjana Safar, which was not released till 1979, retitled as Do Shikaari, due to censorship problems, making Sawan Bhadon in 1970 her first Hindi feature film.

[Read: Lara Dutta Marriage]

There has always been a buzz and curiosity about Rekha’s love life. A lot has been written and though there might be some truth somewhere, most of it is gossip. Let’s take a closer look at all the link-ups, the affairs and Rekha’s marriage rumours as reported by various media sources over the years. We kick-off this list with the Rekha’s supposed first crush and end it up with the story of her alleged affair with a much younger Bollywood actor.

Rekha Marriage – Her First Crush

Rekha’s Marriage - Rekha And Inset Sajid Khan

Rekha made a foray into the Hindi film industry in the year 1970, and it was during that time that she met Sajid Khan who was the adopted son of the big-time Bollywood producer Mehboob Khan of the Mehboob Film Studios fame. They most probably had their first encounter at the set of a movie and Sajid was hot property back then since he had just returned from the US. The duo started seeing each other for some time but Rekha had just started-off her Bollywood career and her busy work schedule led to a speedy breakup. Nothing much ensued between them after then; and no rumours of a much younger Rekha’s marriage made the rounds.

[Read More: Rajesh Khanna’s Marriage]

The Kiss That Sparked Love

Rekha’s Marriage - Rekha And Biswajit Chatterjee In A Still From Anjana Safar

Rekha’s first Hindi film was filmed in the year 1969, a year before her supposed début film in 1970. The 1969 film had the title Anjana Safar in which she shared screen space with the popular Bollywood and Bengali film actor Biswajit Chatterjee. Rekha and Biswajit were shown getting into a lip-lock in a scene from the movie, and since cinema was far more conservative back then, the censor board officials stalled its release for a decade. Irrespective of that, the scene created some serious sparks between Rekha and Biswajit and it is said Rekha felt dizzy for real after the kiss. The spark would have blossomed into a flame had it not been for the publication of the sizzling scene’s stills on the cover of Life magazine’s Asian edition. Rekha saw it to be something that could jeopardise her career and released a statement that she was tricked into filming it. Either way, curtains fell on the duo’s fling, and both of them went their separate way.

[Read More: Bhagyashree’s Marriage]

Rekha Marriage – The Crush On That Married Man

Rekha’s Marriage - Rekha And Navin Nischol

Rekha eventually found some love lurking on the movie sets in the form of Navin Nischol. In fact, Navin was the actor with whom she shared screen space in her first Hindi film Sawan Bhadon. Navin was known for his suave nature compounded by his calm demeanour. He was though a married man and it is said his wife would always accompany him at work. It is rumoured that on days when Mrs. Nischol would be absent, Navin used to receive a lot of attention from the young Rekha. But the supposed fling had a dead-end anyway and soon the married Navin would go on to lead a sober espoused life.

The Affair With Jeetendra

Rekha’s Marriage - Rekha And Jeetendra

Rekha soon met the rising star of Bollywood, Ravi Kapoor, popularly known by his screen name of Jeetendra. Jeetendra carried the Playboy tag and in spite of having a childhood sweetheart he was known for his flirtatious disposition. Rekha soon fell for him. It is said she was quite serious about this relationship but Jeetendra is said to have maintained his penchant for flirting. The relationship didn’t go on for long and soon fizzled out, not without a few fun page3 tit-bits about a possibility of Rekha’s marriage to Jeetandra taking up the nation’s teatime.

A Brief Fling With Mr. Sinha

Rekha’s Marriage - Rekha And Shatrughan Sinha

Rekha found a shoulder to cry on in none other than Bollywood’s upcoming actor Shatrughan Sinha. This was a relationship of extremely minimal length – the blink and miss types. The relationship actually didn’t take-off beyond that status. Till date, both have stayed tight-lipped about it and in fact have meticulously avoided any discussion about it with anyone.

Rekha Marriage – True Love. Finally!

Rekha’s Marriage - Rekha With Vinod Mehra

During mid-1970’s, Rekha worked with actor Vinod Mehra was known for his method acting and calm demeanour even off-screen. It is said that Vinod fell for Rekha and her growing stardom had nothing to do it; it was her delicate beauty that charmed him, and soon even Rekha developed feelings for him. The couple was said to have been inseparable and were going strong; at one point there was a real probability of Vinod and Rekha’s marriage happening, but Vinod’s family did not approve of the relationship and Vinod soon broke up with Rekha. While most have that with a pinch of salt, many Bollywood conspiracy theorists believe that Rekha would hang out with a certain Yash Kohli in the absence of Mehra, who one day discovered it and immediately dumped Rekha. So who was this guy? Enter the next heading.

Rekha Marriage – The Rumoured Secret Marriage

Rekha was seeing a certain Yash Kohli who was the nephew of none other than the legendary film-maker and actor Dev Anand. Rekha lived in Juhu, the same Mumbai suburb where Dev Anand lived with his brothers and nephew Yash Kohli. Yash was into the film production side and while it is not known when and where they met, it is believed they met at one of their suburban social gathering. Rekha apparently felt that she finally found the love of her life, and though nothing has been proved nor reported, it is said that Rekha’s marriage to Yash, her first marriage, was a done deed before the year was over. The pair secretly tied the knot. Reports of the supposed secret marriage were soon followed by news of subsequent divorce too. We don’t know what’s true and what’s not and leave it there.

[Read More: Farah Naaz’s Marriage]

Time To Spark Some Jealousy

Rekha’s Marriage - Rekha And Inset Kiran Kumar

After her divorce, Rekha went straight to the arms of Vinod Mehra’s best buddy Kiran Kumar who was the son of Jeevan, the popular movie villain of 50s to 70s circa. Due to Kiran’s proximity with Vinod, this was a rebound love affair for Rekha and it is said she had this fling just to spark the fire of jealousy inside her rumoured ex-husband Yash Kohli. The affair was as hollow as it seemed at the surface and soon it went down the breakup lane like her other affairs in the past. Albeit, the man who then entered Rekha’s life outright overshadowed every fling, every crush she had ever had till date.

Rekha Marriage – Liaison With The Superstar

Rekha Marriage - Rekha And Amitabh In A Still

It 1975, Rekha signed a film titled Do Anjaane. It was her first film with the actor Amitabh Bachchan. Little did she know that the two real world strangers would soon kick-off one of the most talked about illustrious Bollywood love affairs of all times. It is not known what triggered the infatuation between Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha but it is quite likely they fell in love while the filming of the movie. Such was their rapport that Rekha starred in a total of 10 films with the much married Amitabh Bachchan. It is said that Rekha and Amitabh were very much in love and used to regularly meet at the bungalow of one of their common friend.

There was not much limelight on the entire matter until one day Mr. B lost his cool when one of the fellow actors tried heckling Rekha. This gave gossip-mongers enough fodder to let their imagination go wild. Eventually, rumours started doing the rounds that Amitabh and Rekha’s marriage had happened, hush-hush. It all seemed hearsay up till Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh’s wedding, where Rekha turned up wearing sindoor and mangalsutra. This definitely raised a lot of eyebrows.

Rekha Marriage - Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh’s Wedding, Where Rekha Turned Up Wearing Sindoor And Mangalsutra

Their relationship seemed to have grown stronger and stronger and culminated with their last film together i.e. Silsila. This was the epic conclusion, the focal point of all the energy, since here was a movie about a man (Amitabh Bachchan) who had a girlfriend (Rekha), but is forced to marry a woman (Jaya Bachchan), in spite of which he maintains an amicable relationship with his girlfriend. It was a movie by Yash Chopra, and although it can’t be said affirmatively whether the real life happenings were an inspiration for his story but it was definitely something that transcended onto the screen. Yash Chopra, in an interview, admitted that the pair was very much in love and he was a very scared during the filming of this movie. “Anything could have happened because they are working together.” he added.

Once the filming of the movie was done, the love between the pair began to fade. It is believed that Rekha was not interested of having the tag of ‘other woman.’ She wanted Amitabh to marry her, but Amitabh was a married man with an untarnished reputation. The duo decided that it was in their best interest to separate and live their respective lives by putting their past behind them. Since then, Amitabh Bachchan has forever maintained silence on this matter and has seldom precisely spoken about it in public. It was an end of a love affair whose ripples still linger today. But there is still some music left in their love story and we will come to that a bit later.

The Tragic Wedlock

By late 1990s, Rekha had grown more desolate than before. She was seen in movies that seemed borderline racy and her personal life seemed more tightly wrapped around layers of mystique. It is in circa 1990 that Rekha was introduced to a Delhi-based businessman Mukesh Aggarwal by designer Bina Ramani. The first meeting had more of an impact on Mukesh than Rekha and he was left dumbfounded by her beauty and charisma. It was not very long that he proposed to Rekha, who is said to have been looking for an escape into a comfortable oblivion. She said ‘yes’ with alacrity; Rekha’s marriage to Mukesh went through, and soon enough Rekha was sporting the title of Mrs. Aggarwal.

Rekha Marriage - Rekha And Mukesh Aggarwal

Mukesh Aggarwal ran a successful electronics business in Delhi and was an exemplar of a typical rags-to-riches story. Though the couple seemed very happy outwardly, the joy didn’t last long much and in 1991, Mukesh committed suicide just a year after their marriage. Rekha was in the US at that time. Not much was known about the exact cause but it is said the couple grew estranged just few weeks after marriage. They even separated for many months and would communicate through phone calls and letters only. Rekha’s image took a huge blow in the aftermath, which was fuelled by her past deeds and her current image that tipped on being borderline racy thanks to her film choices at that time. But like before, Rekha survived the scandal through her fortitude and within no time had turned her back on it.

Flinging With The Khiladi

Rekha’s Marriage - Rekha And Akshay Kumar

In just five years, Rekha had completely turned her back to the events of her past. She was seeing reinventing herself by taking roles that were sassy yet unique. In 1996, she appeared in Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi opposite Akshay Kumar who was the reigning heartthrob then. Akshay had been in and out of several relationships by this time and at that time was dating the ravishing Raveena Tandon. But this did not stop the Casanova Kumar to flirt with his co-actress, older by a decade, who reciprocated every move with equivalent zeal.

Their affinity grew so strong day by day that Akshay’s then girlfriend Raveena had to intervene and she kinda asked Rekha to back off. It was a short lived fling and one of the those fly-by-night affairs incited by some on-screen affiliation unknowingly trickling out to real life, albeit temporarily.

[Read More: Raveena Tandon’s Wedding]

Bouncing Back And Staying Graceful

Rekha has since led a quiet and uneventful life. After her inferior choices of movies in 1990s, she went on to take more mature roles by early 2000s. She shifted her focus on nurturing her off-screen persona, and is often considered to be the woman who made it hip to wear ethnic wear even to the most westernised events. Rekha is seen wearing her trademark Kanjivaram saree to almost every event and ceremony. She also wears sindoor and that does raise a lot of questions and eyebrows every time. It is said that she wears sindoor for none other than Amitabh Bachchan. They might not have formally tied a knot (at least not as far as the public know of), but somewhere in her mind Mr. Bachchan has taken over the designation of husband. This point got some ratification when in 2004, Rekha appeared on the hit TV talk show Rendezvous with Simi Garewal and confessed to have a fallen in love with Amitabh Bachchan and said:

“Absolutely. Duh, that’s a dumb question. I have yet to come across a single man, woman, child who can help but fall completely, passionately, insanely, desperately, hopelessly in love with him. So why should I be singled out? What do I deny? I’m not in love with him? Of course I am.”

But she also stressed on to the point there was no affair as such since there was no ‘personal connection’ and all there was just some cooked-up controversy. She was vocal about her admiration of Amitabh Bachchan saying that he was someone like she had never met before. When quizzed about the interview and about what Rekha had to say about Amitabh, Simi Garewal said:

“After all that controversy, I don’t think it was an easy thing to happen. He is a married man with children and grandchildren. So much hungama happened that we couldn’t expect that to happen again but I do agree they make a lovely pair on-screen,”

Rekha maintained a refined composure when quizzed about the matter and replied to every question with absolute grace.

No matter how many flings Rekha might have had, it is agreeable that her affectionate affiliation with Amitabh left a deep mark on her mind. In spite of it, she has always maintained a refined public image. Irrespective of the notorious popular opinion about her, Rekha has always been a stellar epitome of beauty, gracefulness and sheer aplomb and she continues to fascinate people even till today. No better way to sign-off this article than this quote about Rekha by none other than Shyam Benegal himself:

That sums it all.

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