Happy Birthday Rekha: Most iconic roles of the Bollywood actress

As Rekha turns 66 today, we take a look at some of her best performances in the world of cinema

Umrao Jaan

Rekha won a National Award for playing the character of a courtesan named Umrao Jaan in Muzaffar Ali's period film.

The film was made into a remake with Aishwarya in Rekha's role but it failed to create the magic of the original movie. Umrao Jaan established Rekha as an actress who can single-handedly run a movie without any male lead.



Simple and non-glamorous, Rekha played the role of Naseeruddin Shah's wife who struggles to keep their relationship intact even after his ex-lover enters their life.

Penned down by Gulzar, the movie industry praised Rekha's acting in the film.


Khoon Bhari Maang

Rekha effortlessly moves from the sari-clad damsel to wild and fierce revengeful woman when her husband tricks her and leaves her to die.

Rekha made even a mediocre script turn into a blockbuster with her acting prowess.



Starring alongside Vinod Mehra, Rekha played a coy woman who is working with her husband to mend their relationship after she is assaulted and raped.

Rekha was nominated for a Filmfare Award for her stellar performance.



Rekha has never been one to shy off from essaying difficult roles. In the movie, she played a wife from middle-class income group who turns to prostitution in order to fund her craving for luxuries.

Rekha brings out innocence, guilt, passion, indulgence with ease.



This film changed Rekha and directed her to explore possibilities. The sensuality and boldness displayed by her on screen were pathbreaking for Bollywood at the time.

Some even say that actor Shekhar Suman found a leg in Bollywood because of Rekha's work in this movie which made everyone stop and notice the film.


Mr Natwarlal

She was first seen in Muqaddar Ka Sikandar with Amitabh Bachchan, then did Mr Natwarlal the next year. It is believed by industry insiders that her back-to-back films with Amitabh made the two fall in love with each other.

The song Pardesia from this movie became quite popular among masses.



Silsila took the spotlight even before it hit the theatres.

The Yash Chopra classic brought together the on-screen and off-screen love triangle between Amitabh Bachchan, wife Jaya and Rekha. It was speculated at the time that the lovers Amitabh and Rekha were at the peak of their alleged affair during the time of shooting of the film.


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