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Monday, October 25, 2021

What Rekha said about growing up without dad Gemini Ganesan: ‘My father never noticed me..’

On her 67th birthday, we take a look at what Rekha said about her difficult childhood and her father, of whom she has no memory as he left her and her mother when she was just a baby.

By: Entertainment Desk | New Delhi |
October 9, 2021 10:25:39 pm
rekha birthdayRekha was born as Bhanurekha on October 10, 1954. (Express archive photo) *** Local Caption *** Film star Rekha in AAG KA DARYA. Express archive photo

The yesteryear diva Rekha has had an illustrious journey in Indian cinema. She debuted as a teenager with the film Anjana Safar and until now she has acted in 180 films. Today, the actor has much-deserved fame, respect in the film industry and the love of her many fans. But her beginnings were not as smooth. She had a troubled childhood and had to enter a profession she never desired to get into. Rekha, one of the finest leading ladies of Bollywood, got into the acting business not because she wanted to become an actor, but because the financial condition of her family was not good after her father abandoned them.

On her 67th birthday, we take a look at what the Umrao Jaan of Bollywood said about her difficult childhood and her father, of whom she has no memory as he left her and her mother when she was just a baby.

Rekha, who is now dubbed an enigma, was born as Bhanurekha to Tamil superstar, Gemini Ganesan and Telugu actor Pushpavalli. She was a very shy and a loner. Despite having to grow up without a father and having to drop out of school to support the education of her siblings, Rekha described her ‘little’ childhood as “wonderful” to actor-anchor Simi Garewal on her show Rendezvous with Simi Garewal.

rekha child artist Rekha and Sachin as child artists in the movie Ek Akela. (Express archive photo)

When Garewal asked Rekha how was the relationship between her parents, the actor replied, “It was a romantic relationship, and anything filled with romance is not easy.” When asked what does she remember of her father, she said, “I was a baby when he moved out of our lives. I don’t even remember the time when he was at home.” But the actor never got the impression that her family was dysfunctional. Instead, she heard interesting stories about her father from her mother, who was “dizzy and drunk in the love of my father.”

Though Rekha has no memory of Gemini Ganesan as a father, she remembers the superstar as a ‘fabulous’ lover both on and off-screen. “He was a fabulous lover of my mother or a fabulous lover on screen, I was totally fascinated watching him on the screen,” Rekha told Garewal.

rekha parents Rekha is the daughter of Tamil superstar, Gemini Ganesan and Telugu actor Pushpavalli. (Express archive photo)

The Muqaddar Ka Sikandar actor’s first impression of her father was when she saw him dropping her stepbrother and stepsisters to school. Gemini Ganesan married three times, Alamelu, actor-singer Savitri and actor Pushpavalli. “All the children, we are a dozen of them, were in the same school. A couple of times he came to drop other kids, so that was my first impression of him, I was like, ‘oh this is appa..’ But I never had a chance to meet him. I don’t think even he noticed me there. He never saw me,” Rekha recalled.

Asked if it ever bothered her that her father never noticed her, she said, “Maybe I blanked it out. At that age, I don’t think it makes a difference. I was more worried about my homework or why my sister is prettier than me.” However, Rekha thinks she ‘may be’ missed her father though she also believes, “When you don’t taste something, you don’t know what it means. I didn’t know what the word father meant. For me the only father was the one in the church, that’s all I know of a father. A father’s love must be very different from a mother’s love. but I really have no idea about it.”

Rekha spent most of her childhood with her grandmother and aunt since her mother was out for shooting, and the only male influence in her early days was God. “If God can be called a man, then I guess God. My elder brother was also not a role model. He looked up to me and depended on me. I think he still does,” said Rekha when asked about the male influence in her life. Later in the interview, she revealed that it was filmmaker Mohan Sehgal who was the ‘first father figure’ in her life.

The actor is an ageless beauty. Among her contemporaries, Rekha is the one who has aged gracefully. But she never took the acting profession voluntarily. It was because of the difficult financial situation at the house that she had to start working the films. “There were six children and their education, so my mother said you have to do it. I said I will do only one film (Anjana Safar),” Rekha shared. But as we all know, it didn’t end with just one film.

But being the livewire that she is, Rekha is still “grateful for everything that has happened in my life. Because if it didn’t happen in that sequence, if the screenplay was not written in the way it was written then, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.”

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