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Rekha-tober: The Navrang of Rekha

Rekha - Utsav

Remember Mr.Mathur in Mast? Arre, Aftab’s Papa, who goes to his wardrobe in the closing scenes of the movie, and stares at his hidden poster of Rekha, as the soundtrack plays on – Uske Sivaa, Kuch Yaad Nahi !!! Yes, to a whole generation of desi cinephiles and beyond, Rekha is an inspiration, an intoxication which has been making us ‘Mast’ for ages. She is beauty personified, and she is the personification of the word ‘ Heroine’. In a career which has spanned across almost five decades, she is an institution in itself. It is almost impossible to confine her body of work in just a list of Navrang ( Nine shades ). But here I am, doing that exact ‘khata’. The only reason to have my list restricted to 9 types is because of the existence of the word Navrang itself. And also, it looks a bit more clean, tidy and organised innit.

So here we go, ..

The Navrang of Rekha

1. The Chulbuli-cious

Rekha - Khusoorat

Of course, the one that stands out in this category is the awesome and bindaas Manju in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Khubsoorat (1980). Manju is a free spirit, whose infectious enthusiasm fills each frame of this movie with sheer joy and playfulness. Her intelligence is beyond comparison. She is well trained in Kathak, loves to rhyme, excels in Bridge and is sharp and spontaneous with her sarcastic comments. And oh, she is the love interest of the Doctor Baabu in the story too. Sigh! Manju –  Hui Baanwari, Hui Baanwari !

2. The Courtesan

Rekha - Umrao Jaan

Probably the most prominent image with which Rekha is associated, is the Courtesan or Tawaaif. Rekha’s peaks in her career can be unquestionably attributed to Umrao Jaan (1981) and Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (1979). Umrao Jaan for obvious reasons, was one of Rekha’s ‘one-woman-show’ performance movie. The songs of Umrao Jaan goes a step forward to showcase her onscreen diva status and her tragic portrayal of ‘lost-in-love’ Tawaaif won her many accolades including the National Award.

Rekha - Salaam e Ishq

A few years back, her supporting role as Zohrabai in Muqaddar Ka Sikander was sort of a modern take on Sarat Chandra’s Devdas. Amongst all the Amitabh/Rakhi-Memsaab/Vinod Khanna tussle, Rekha as Zohrabai, yet again becomes the ‘lost-in-love’ tragic woman – much like Chandramukhi. And yes, very much like Chandramukhi, she does have her dance moment with Dev Babu, I mean Sikandar. Yes, the song which every single one of you know – Salaam-E-Ishq. The jalwa of Kishore da and Lata ji, in one of Kalyanji-Anandji’s best compositions translates into one of the legendary movie moments of all time.

3. The Sexy-oomph seductress

Rekha - Utsav

C’mon, this one’s pretty obvious. She has been and continues to be a sex symbol even today. Her naughty looks and bejeweled appearance in Utsav(1984) as Vasantsena ( also a courtesan), and her romantic courtship with Charudutt inspires Vatsyayana to write the Kamasutra – that’s like the flipping Bible of sex..or something like that. And then, in Mira Nair’s Kamasutra, she preaches and teaches sexual positions. Not to forget, even in her 40’s, she scorched the screen with her ‘In-The-Night’ performance with Khiladi Baba Akshay under the shower, in the mud, by the pool et al.

4. Her Royal Graciousness

Rekha - Silsila

Silsila has a lot to do with this particular ‘Ras’. Her Saris made my sister go mad, well, until Sridevi invaded that space with Chandni – possibly, named after Rekha’s character in Silsila. Her hair, her misty smile and all the shabang! And then, there’s Ghar - her rumored offscreen love with Vinod Mehra translates into cracking onscreen chemistry (I’m getting technical now). And then there are a zillion and a half images of Rekha, not related to any movie specifically, which highlight her limelight factor. Take a few as examples.

Rekha - Deewangi Deewangi

Rekha - Deewangi Deewangi

And then, she makes a heart-stopping appearance in Deewanagee Deewanagee – Om Shanti Om.

5. The Bad-Ass Avenger

I know this is BollywoodDeewana‘s favourite ‘Rang’ when it comes to Rekha, hai naa? Rekha has no apprehensions in turning around and transforming from a sexy oomph, or even a shy and coy bitiya, or bahu raani, to ‘your worst nightmare’ (ok, just don’t do that Stallone voice). She kicks ass in a very unapologetic way, and makes you repent for all the bad deeds you did, or the bad things you did to her, in this life or past ones. Good examples would be the crocodile-survivor turns into 80’s fashion icon, or as Rakesh Roshan named it – Khoon Bhari Maang. Man, that Kabir Bedi got some payback! And of course, there’s the horse-riding female cop which inspired Sarah Connor, Lara Croft and Xena – the Warrior Princess. I am talking about Ma’am Namrata ( from Phool Baney Angaray -1991 ).

Rekha - Madam X

There are many others in this category, but the ones which deserve a mention are the hilarious yet unmissable Madam X (1994) ( a must watch if you love 90s crap, just as much as I do), and Khiladiyo Ka Khiladi (1996) ( yes, where she handles Undertaker, and does that ‘In the Night’ song too ). Speaking of Khiladiyo Ka Khiladi, take this.

Rekha - In the Night

Rekha - In the Night

6. The Pyar karne waali/ marne waali / jalne waali

As far as love goes, she has not been quite that lucky with having a happy ending and living happily ever after with our hero dude. Zohrabai dies (oh noes spoiler? ) by swallowing a ‘Heera’, Chandni ends up with her a-bit-boring Doctor dude, and Umrao Jaan (sigh!) – her tragedy is that she has no words to express her misery. Then, in Ghar she is a victim of a rape incident, and her khush-pariwaar is turned upside down. But when she does get to show off her love, she does it like no one else could.

Rekha - Pardesiya

Take this – Pardesiya, ye Sach Hai Piya, Sab Kehte Hai Maine, Tujhko Dil De Diya ( no, noooooo.. stop thinking about Rakhi Sawant NOW!)

7. The not-so-conventional Bahu

Yes, she can be the ideal and very good Bahu-rani. But Sasu-Maa Bindu, if you try messing with her, you are in for a well reconciled payback. Case in point – Biwi Ho To Aisi. So, she might be the village belle who falls in love with your Sehri Beta, but she’ll bowl you over with her ‘Angrezi’ ( at the climax, obviously). And she’ll give tit for tat a new level of meaning.

Rekha - Biwi Ho To Aisi

Oh, if you thought she can only straighten up Saasu maa, then you couldn’t be more wrong. She also knows how to discipline her own Pati-parmeshwar and in the process, bring the family together. Case in point – Sansar. This is one of Rekha’s must watch movies..trust me. She almost single handedly tackles her ‘nihaayat-hi’ selfish Raj Babbar husband, in collaboration with Gangu Bai – Aruna Irani, arranges wedding for her Devrani Rajni ( Archana Joglekar), and all this while, there’s awesome father-son tussle scenes. [ I really need to do a post on Sansar. Someone send me the DVD please! ].

And not to forget, if her Pati is tormented by an evil-ex who is now a Ghost, she can totally bitch-slap her too. That’s the power of her Mangalsutra.

8. The Item number 1

You knew this was coming right? This maybe a subset of the seductress category (if you were to be really technical ). But c’mon. LOOK. AT. THIS.

Rekha - Parineeta - Kaisi Paheli

And THIS.
Rekha - Parineeta - Kaisi Paheli

And THIS.
Rekha - Parineeta - Kaisi Paheli

And THIS.
Rekha - Parineeta - Kaisi Paheli

Worthy mention – Amol Palekar’s dream – in Golmaal’s (Sapne Mein Dekha Sapna). Not strictly a item number, more like a guest appearance. And of course,

9. The Best Mother of ALL TIME

Rekha - Koi Mil Gaya

And last of all, Amma jee. With age, Bollywood actors do slide into the mother role routine. But she is no ordinary Maa. She is Maa of Scientist Rohit, and Grandma of Krrish.

She is Saritaji, widowed and single mother who raised two very naughty daughters.

And if you mess with her kids, you know she’s not gonna like you (Refer to that crocodile/alligator movie).

So there you go, those were the Nav-Ras of Rekha. And with that we come to the end of Rekhatober. I have worked really hard to create these GIFs, so if you share them, please credit me or my website for the same. Even if this is the end of our awesome Rekhatober, I will definitely be exploring more and more Rekha movies in the future. Thanks to all the lovely Bolly Bloggers who contributed to Rekhatober. All their posts can be found here. Hope you liked this post. Leave your comments, and kindly share the love by sharing it on Twitter, Tumblr, Digg, Facebook et al.

Cheerio!

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9 + = fifteen

  1. Vah vah vah vah!! the post that put all other Rekhatober posts to shame, i really love this, and i do have to say i love my Rekha in many flavours too, the bad ass avenger just might be nearer the top (not no. 1) than the others ;+). Your comments on biwi ho to aisi really makes me want to check it out i always dismissed it but i want to see the stand off between her and Bindu and please dvd companies in india release madam x on dvd with subs PLEASE

    [Reply]

    Sujoy Reply:

    Hehe. Thanks BD. Of course, we all adore Rekha in her many shades. She is the effin rainbow :)
    Biwi Ho To Aisi was quite fun when I watched it as a boy. It was I suppose Salman Khan’s first movie.
    And I am quite desperately seeking Madam X DVD. Sigh!
    I am glad that you liked this post :)

    [Reply]

  2. Fantastic post! Rekha is so complex and difficult to categorise. And sometimes scary. Thanks for leaving out the mud-wrestling and grabbing bit of the Khiladiyo Ka Khiladi clip. I’m still a bit fragile after seeing that…three years ago…

    [Reply]

    Sujoy Reply:

    Thank you, Shukriyaaa, Meherbaani :)
    That mud wrestling was a bit too much, and the subsequent ahem ahems :P
    Rekha could be scary??? Hmmm….Donno about that. Maybe she could play a ghost in a Ram Gopal Varma movie :P
    Oh wait, she played that female tantrik in Bhoot. So, there you go :)

    [Reply]

  3. I must admit that this happens to be a an awesomely (intended to be read as “precisely”) well put-up collection to Rekha’s milestone existence. She is indeed a major part of the turnaround phase of the Indian Film Industry IFI (i hate the word bollywood , so i like referring to it as it was rightly supposed to be called ).
    A brilliant write-up buddy….I applaud.
    Would you be putting up stuff about other landmark artists of the IFI..to name a few Devanand , Guru Dutt , Mr Bachchan(ofcourse, the elder Mr Bachchan…;)…) , Jaya Bhaduri(Bachchan), Madhuri Dixit, Kajol……aaah…how could I forget Shahrukh Khan….Raj Kapoor(the Kapoor’s alone would take up the complete blog space.)?
    Not sure if you have already covered a few of them , but, would definitely read them.
    Buddy, it was nice reading your post…..cheers and keep writing…
    tc…
    Bora

    [Reply]

    Sujoy Reply:

    Hehe. Thanks Bore for those awesomely appreciating adjectives that you have generously showered upon me :)
    Other artists of IFI. Well, I have done one on Shashi Kapoor, you can read it here: Shashi Kapoor – The Man, The Myth, The Legend
    .
    It is not as flashy as the Rekha post, but I’ll probably do some of Shashi jee’s films later.
    Now that you’ve incepted the idea in me, I want to do posts Dev Anand definitely. And also of Raj Kapoor, Guru Dutt, Madhuri, Jaya Bhaduri, and Hema Malini.
    Not sure about Kajol or SRk – not a big fan of either of them.
    You can find a post I did on Big B here – the Dashavatars of Big B.

    Thanks again for those lovely words bro!
    And hope to see you frequent the comments section :D

    [Reply]

    Siddharth Bora Reply:

    @Sujoy,

    dude…i will an absolute regular to your posts….i quite enjoyed this 1….need to catch up on the other posts by you… there is a word around that your are quite a movie critic…..
    tu bus likhta rehe..hum comments provide karte rahenge…
    I do get to get a lil cynical at times..lol….i hope you don’t end up kicking my backside for that….;)…

    [Reply]

    Sujoy Reply:

    Hehe. Thanks. I donno where you heard about that movie critic thing. I cannot possibly qualify as a movie critic. I am more kind of a movie basher. If they waste 2 hours of my life, I’ll eat their two ears :P Try reading the Dabangg post to start with. A lot of hard work has gone into doing that :)
    If you can’t find it, then shame shame :)

    P.S. Its the fourth post on the homepage rt now .
    And kicking backside is our national hobby :P

  4. I find the world of Bollywood very confusing. It is so strange and different from mainstream cinema. But the choreography and the costumes are wonderful.

    [Reply]

    Sujoy Reply:

    Thanks for visiting my blog.
    I am intrigued by your comment about finding Bollywood to be confusing. Is it the language barrier which is confusing?
    As far as being strage and non-mainstream is concerned, well – Bollywood is mainstream if we go by sheer number of movies produced each year.
    On the contrary, Bollywood cinema is often criticised for being overtly simplistic and dumbing down.
    I would like to know which Bollywood movies have you been watching, so that I could possibly help with your confusion.
    And if that list includes that abomination of a movie called Bride and Prejudice, then I must say – indeed it is confusing :)

    I am glad that you do like the choreography and the costumes. I think that itself makes you a perfect audience for Bollywood. But let’s not get trapped into that stereotype. Bollywood has so much more to offer. Please do come back for more recommendations, and most importantly what to avoid :)

    Cheerio!

    [Reply]