Bhanurekha Ganesan (Tamil: பானுரேகா), better known by her stage name Rekha (Hindi: रेखा; Tamil: ரேகா) (born 10 October 1954) is an Indian actress who has appeared in Bollywood films. Noted for her versatility and acknowledged as one of the finest actresses of Hindi cinema, Rekha started her career in 1966 as a child actress in the Telugu movie Rangula Ratnam, though her film debut as a lead happened four years later with Sawan Bhadon (1970). Despite the success of several of her early films it was not until the mid-to-late 1970s that she got recognition as an actress. Since the 1970s she has been featured as a sex symbol in the Indian media.
Rekha has acted in over 180 films in a career that has spanned over 40 years. Throughout her career, she often played roles in female-oriented movies and took part in both Indian mainstream and art cinema, known in India as parallel cinema. She has achieved commercial success, as well as critical praise for numerous performances. She has won three Filmfare Awards, two for Best Actress and one for Best Supporting Actress, for her roles in Khubsoorat (1980), Khoon Bhari Maang (1988) and Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi (1996), respectively. Her portrayal of a classical courtesan in Umrao Jaan won her the National Film Award for Best Actress. Though her career has gone through certain periods of decline, she has reinvented herself numerous times and has been credited for her ability to sustain her status.
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