The ’70s era in Hindi cinema saw many a diva emerge – Bhanurekha Ganesan, aka Rekha , was one such a star. Though she had been acting since early ’70s, it was after her association with Amitabh Bachchan and their series of hit films that she acquired a cult status. That was also the time when she dominated the tabloids of the day as her name was constantly associated with him, who was already married then. In a biography of hers called Rekha: The Untold Story, writer Yasser Usman reveals many unknown facts about her, one of them being of her spectacular entry at the wedding of Neetu Singh and late Rishi Kapoor, wearing sindoor (vermillion).
Neetu and Rekha were close friends, says the book. At the wedding in 1980, which was held at RK Studios, Rekha turned up looking stunning in a white sari. However, what caught people’s attention were her sindoor and a mangalsutra. Soon, the camerapersons panned towards her.
Also present at the wedding were Amitabh, wife Jaya and his parents. No sooner did Rekha make an entry, people started to murmur. As per a report in Zoom, a popular tabloid in the ’80s, CineBlitz, reported how Rekha stood in the middle of the lawns at RK Studio while her eyes were on constantly on Amitabh.
In the ’80s, Rekha’s alleged romance with Amitabh was the talk of the town. Neither has ever spoken about it. However, years later, in an interview to Hindustan Times, Rekha had commented on the sindoor incident, “I was going there straight from a film shooting..and I don’t worry about people’s reactions. By the way, I think it looks rather nice on me.. sindoor suits me.”
In the book, it is reported, “According to a report published in Movie in June 1982, at a National Awards function, Rekha, who was being honoured with the award for best actress for Umrao Jaan (1981), was asked by then president of India Neelam Sanjiva Reddy, ‘Why do you have sindoor in your maang?’ The audience waited with bated breath. Rekha promptly replied into the mike, ‘In the city I come from, it’s fashionable to wear sindoor.’”