Rekha, the leading actress of the
Hindi film industry who was sworn in as a Member of Parliament
recently, courted controversy related to her seating arrangement
in the Rajya Sabha.
Rekha was nominated to the upper
house along with industrialist Anu Aga and cricketer Sachin
Tendulkar. Her seat fell right behind her contemporary actor and
MP, Jaya Bachachan, who changed her seat to avoid the same camera
frame. Jaya Bachchan is a Rajya Sabha member of the Samajwadi
Party from Uttar Pradesh.
According to gossip mills that are
churning out stories, the action of the Samajwadi MP was prompted
by the fact that Rekha in yesteryears was romantically linked with
her husband Amitabh Bachachan.
The 57-year-old Rekha was allotted
seat 99, which was behind Jaya Bachchan, who was earlier seated on
seat 91. When Jaya Bachchan came to know this fact she shifted
herself to avoid being in the same camera frame.
In fact on the Rekha’s swearing in
day the TV camera’s focused on Jaya Bachchan for considerable
period of time that led to some ask why she was given undue
prominence,. Little, they realize that there was more to tale to
tell, then what the eyes could see.
The two leading ladies of the Hindi
cinema were gossiped to be caught in a love triangle as reportedly
Rekha was madly in love with the superstar Amitabh Bacchan, who
was married to Jaya Bhaduri.
Rekha and Amitabh Bacchan shared a
fine on screen chemistry. Her first film with Amitabh Bachchan was
Do Anjaane, where she plays an ambitious wife. They worked
in several movies, such as Mr Natwarlal and Muqaddar Ka
Sikandar etc. The two were termed as the hottest on screen and
off screen couple. There are many gossips doing the rounds about
their alleged affair.
This story was beautifully captured by Yash Chopra in the movie
Silsila (1981). The movie, starring all three showed the real
life relationship. The movie became a super hit due to the off
screen romance that raged on between Rekha and Amitabh Bachachan.
It was around same time another romance flourished in Bollywood
and that was between Dharmendra and Hemamalini. Dharmendra who was
married, went on to sire children with his costar outside the
wedlock, Amitabh Bachchan restrained and maintained a working
relationship with Rekha.
The Rajya Sabha, seating controversy was taken lightly by Jaya
Bachchan. She reportedly had said that she changed her seat due to
the demise of party colleague Brij Bhushan Tiwari, who used to sit
next to her and refused to be drawn into unnecessary controversy.
Rekha was born in Madras to Tamil
actor Gemini Ganesan and Telugu actress Pushpavalli. Her parents
were not married and her father did not acknowledge his paternity
during her childhood.
It was in early 1970s, when Rekha
was looking for break in Bollywood, that she revealed her origins.
Later, she reportedly said that her father's neglect still haunted
her. No wonder she never showed up at his funeral in 2004.
In 1990, Rekha married Delhi-based
industrialist Mukesh Aggarwal. A year later, while Rekha was in
the US, Aggarwal committed suicide, leaving a note, "Don't blame
As a new member of the Rajya Sabha,
Rekha took the pledge in English. The heartthrob of 70s and 80s
who has acted in around 180 films in her film career spanning four
decades was at her charming best.
She received a warm welcome from the
members of the house that included Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Her Silsila rival, Jaya Bachchan, did not greet her!
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a
journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org