India Tribune is serializing profiles of top Bollywood sex symbols of all time. Bollywood sex symbols have been creating storms across India and worldwide. The list consists of female icons of Bollywood, who have impacted the history and changed the face of Bollywood.
Rekha: Bhanurekha Ganesan better known as Rekha, was born on October 10, 1954 in Chennai. Known as Madame Re, she initially entered the Bollywood film industry in “Sawan Bhadon” (1970), where people dismissed her for being overweight and dark skinned. She refused to be written off and transformed herself into an ageless beauty. In 1973, she made history by acting with Amithabh Bachchan in Namak Haram, which began their off screen love affair, making her the Big B’s mistress. Together, they’ve acted in 13 blockbuster films in Zameer (1974), Do Anjaane (1974), Alaap (1977), Maan Dharam (1977), Khoon Pasina (1977), Ganga Ki Saugandh (1977), Muquaddar Ka Sikander (1977), Mr. Natwarlal (1979), Suhaag (1979), Ram Balram (1980), and Silsila (1983). On her own, she received critical acclaim for her performances in Umrao Jaan (1981) as Umrao, a woman, who was forced into becoming a courtesan, based on an Urdu novel. In Zubeidaa (2000), she gave Karisma Kapoor’s character Zubeidaa insecurities as her husband’s controlling first wife.
Why she’s sexy? In Mira Nair’s Kama Sutra (1997), Rekha played a former courtesan, educating women about the art of Kama Sutra. She suited that role, because throughout her career, she embodied true sex appeal. She’s in total control of her image and is credited for doing her makeup for films and publicity shots. She is responsible for being a role model for Sridevi, who also began her career as an ugly duckling.
Her impact on Bollywood: She’s become such an icon that her name appears in American Desi (2000) as Saleem’s ultimate woman. She is a favorite among people, who grew up watching Bollywood movies in the 1970s and 1980s.
Interesting fact: The twice married Rekha has never had any children, but wanted a son like Hrithik Roshan. She got her wish in Koi Mil Gaya (2003) when she played his mother.