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Bella Donna: Rekha

Rekha might not be a famous name in American pop culture, but for millions of Indians, Rekha is synonymous with Bollywood fame. Born into an acting family in 1954, the Chennai native first appeared on screen at the age of 12. After taking a series of glamorous but relatively unchallenging roles, she received critical praise for her performance in the 1978 film Ghar. Her portrayal of a rape victim earned her a Best Actress nomination at the Filmfare Awards, sending her career to another level.

Though Rekha reached the height of her fame in the 1980s, she continues to work. Her involvement in more than 180 films has earned her the nickname "Queen of Bollywood." Known for her slim figure and ageless beauty, she credits her appearance to daily yoga and long-time vegetarianism. "I don't have to spend hours planning and executing my clothes and makeup," she has said. "I can't bring myself to spend more than 15 minutes on makeup and clothes." Beautiful and low-maintenance? My kind of Bella Donna.


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austerity austerity 6 years
She's an icon to me, still looks stunning at 50+ and her performance in Umrao Jaan will forever haunt me. aistea: I personally don't understand the beauty hype around Aishwarya either!
kristinb kristinb 7 years
Wow, I can't believe that you featured Rekha! It's also a bit 'hard' for me to understand her beauty but I can see how she is within her era, very beautiful. She also has the grace and presence that old film(i) stars used to have that new ones really don't. I also agree with the comments above that she always plays empowered, independent (if not a bit 'oversexualized'- um euphemism? women.) The relationship w/Amitabh is pretty hard to understand. Since this is bellasugar it's worth commenting on her makeup which was always so bold but I kind of think her skin was 'pocky' or weird. Whatever. I don't think she has aged that well. I really like Helen from that time because she seems to have a bit of a screw loose and seems to uninhibited when she dances.
aistea311 aistea311 7 years
Its true about the realtionship with Amitabh. Aishwariya is also known for being too close to her fellow co stars but then she marries the son of one of the biggest in Bollywood history. I personally do not think she is pretty but every single uncle of mine had a crush on her growing up. To this day they think she is pretty.
goatimpact goatimpact 7 years
I love Rekha. I think it must have been hard for her to be the "other woman" while everyone still idolized Amitabh. I respect her for not trying to sway the public by taking roles that were more sympathetic like doting wife, etc. She played some very powerful females.
bengalspice bengalspice 7 years
True ... I agree Hema Malini has probably aged the best ... but she's not getting the same kind of screen time as Rekha these days. I wish Jaya had aged nicer. She is adorable ... but it looks like she let herself go way too far. Sharmila Tagore is a cutie too ... I would think she would have been picked as Bella Donna before Rekha cuz Sharmila is one of the original sex symbols of Hindi film. She wore the first bikini. Her daughter looks like a carbon copy of her. [And don't believe the film sites ... she's not really related to the Nobel poet]
pharm_chick pharm_chick 7 years
bengalspice.. lol i personally thought the affair was true but idk there are naysayers out there for sure. okayyyyy did u see her cameo in om shanti om in that song with all the stars? personally i think she looks scary. hema malini has aged the best i think.. and jaya bachan is cute for sure. i never liked rekha.
bengalspice bengalspice 7 years
Don't forget how incredibly tall she is compared to Jaya. Rekha has always played the powerful woman ... which is so hott. Jaya [especially in her early Bengali films] has always been the quiet one. It's actually a shame that Amitabh managed to trump Jaya in fame. Rekha has really aged well compared to all the other actresses her age.
rc4480 rc4480 7 years
i feel like everyone who's commented is judging rekha on modern-day western standards of beauty, and also not necessarily understanding what her appeal was. she IS eh compared to today, bc well, those pics are like 20 years old...she didn't have a celebrity stylist, mac makeup, adobe photoshop, or hell, even a flat iron. eastern beauty (at that time) was more natural, anyway. people liked her long, wavy hair (that we would now consider frizzy), and her intense look. i guess the best way to compare amitabh bachan/rekha affair is that it's incredibly similar to the brad/angelina/aniston triangle...except if brad never left jen. amitabh bachan is married to jaya bachan, who's (in my opinion) the opposite of rekha - really sweet, cute, girl next door type. rekha's always been cast in the seductress roles, partially bc of her look and partially bc of that drama. personally, i love her bc of what she represents - she provided a depth to "acceptable" female roles. by building her career on being, basically, a "bad girl", she increased a sense of female empowerment, however limited by the culture and the times.
bengalspice bengalspice 7 years
Um pharm_chick ... it is true. That's why so many people went crazy for Silsila ... the movie was about a married man having an affair with his former girlfriend ... and Amitabh and Jaya played the married couple, while Rekha was the other woman.
pharm_chick pharm_chick 7 years
im indian too, and ive never been too crazy about her. prob. b/c of the widely known rumor/true story (more likely true though) that she had a long time affair with the married amitabh bachan, one of the most widely known bollywood actors (and the father in law of aishwaria rai).
lattegoodness lattegoodness 7 years
yeah, I'm with you aimeeb... I'm Indian, and though she's beautiful, she kinda looks like a b!tch. :oy:
aimeeb aimeeb 7 years
Hmmmm something about her...eh.
genesisrocks genesisrocks 7 years
Yay vegetarianism. I remember when I went vegetarian it helped me drop 10 pounds, which wasn't really necessary but it didn't hurt
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