Bhanurekha Ganesan better known by her stage name Rekha, is an Indian film actress. Noted for her versatility and acknowledged as one of the finest actresses in Indian cinema, she has acted in more than 180 Hindi films and won a National Film Award and three Filmfare Awards. She has often played strong and complicated female characters, from fictional to literary, in both mainstream and independent films. Though her career has gone through certain periods of decline, she has gained a reputation for reinventing herself numerous times and has been credited for her ability to sustain her status.The daughter of actors Gemini Ganesan and Pushpavalli, Rekha started her career as a child actress in Telugu films Inti Guttu (1958) and Rangula Ratnam (1966). Her first film as a lead happened with the Kannada movie Operation Jackpot Nalli C.I.D 999 (1969). She made her Hindi debut with Sawan Bhadon (1970), which gained her wider recognition. Despite the success of several of her early films, she was often panned for her looks and weight, and it was not until later in the decade that change was taking place. Motivated by criticism, Rekha started working on her appearance and put effort into improving her acting technique and command of the Hindi language. Early recognition came for her performances in films such as Ghar and Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (both 1978). This period marked the beginning of the most successful period of her career, and she was one of Hindi cinema's leading stars through most of the 1980s until the early 1990s. For her performance in the comedy Khubsoorat (1980) she received her first Filmfare Award for Best Actress. She followed it with roles in Baseraa, Ek Hi Bhool (1981), Jeevan Dhaara (1982) and Agar Tum Na Hote (1983). While mostly prolific in popular Hindi cinema, during this time she ventured into arthouse films, a movement of neo-realist films known in India as parallel cinema. These films included dramas such as Kalyug (1981), Vijeta (1982) and Utsav (1984), and her portrayal of a classical courtesan in Umrao Jaan (1981) won her the National Film Award for Best Actress. In 1988, she starred as an avenger in Khoon Bhari Maang, for which she won a second Best Actress award at Filmfare. Her work was much less frequent in subsequent decades. Her early roles in the 1990s mostly met with lukewarm reviews. In 1996, she took a negative turn of an underworld don in the action thriller Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi (1996), for which won a third Filmfare Award in the Best Supporting Actress category, and a year later appeared in Kama Sutra and Aastha to critical acclaim but some public scrutiny. During the 2000s, she was praised for her supporting roles in the 2001 dramas Zubeidaa and Lajja, and started playing mother roles, among which was her role in the science fiction Koi Mil Gaya (2003) and its superhero sequel Krrish (2006), both blockbusters. In 2010, she was honoured with the Padma Shri by the Government of India.Rekha's private life and public image have been the subject of frequent media interest and discussion. Her only marriage to Mukesh Aggarwal in 1990 ended a year later when he committed suicide. Her pairing opposite Amitabh Bachchan starting in the 1970s in a number of successful films was accompanied by speculation about a love affair between the two, which culminated in their starring film Silsila (1981), reflective of media projections. Her public image has often been tied to her perceived sex appeal. Rekha is reluctant to give interviews or discuss her life, which resulted in her being labelled a recluse.