Actor Anupam Kher has strongly denied making disparaging comments about veteran actor Rekha after her husband, Mukesh Aggarwal, committed suicide in 1990. A biography — Rekha: The Untold Story — by author Yasser Usman quotes Kher as having said: “She has become the national vamp. Professionally and personally … I don’t know how will I react if I come face to face with her.”
However, Kher tweeted on Thursday:
Apparently in a book about Rekha ji, some lines r attributed to me. It is all RUBBISH & NOT my language. I have the Greatest regard for her.— Anupam Kher (@AnupamPkher) September 8, 2016
Usman attributes Kher’s vamp comment in his book to an interview of the actor in Stardust magazine (issue Nov, 1990). “He (Kher) wasn’t the only one, many from the industry had said very insensitive things about her (Rekha). This was the time when she was going through a personal crisis, but her own colleagues didn’t sympathise with her,” says the author.
That’s not all. Filmmaker Subhash Ghai had reportedly, said: “Rekha has put such a blot on the face of the film industry that it’ll be difficult to wash it away easily. I think after this any respectable family will think twice before accepting any actress as their bahu.”
Mukesh Aggarwal was found hanging in his Delhi house by Rekha’s dupatta (1990). “Those quotes are part of the chapter called ‘Witch Hunt’. In such tragic times, she was subjected to a witch hunt of sorts. Later, Rekha gave an interview saying that only Shashi Kapoor had sent a not to her offering condolences,” says Usman, whose book has been published by Juggernaut. The biography also recounts how difficult it would have been for a teenager Rekha to work in an industry that branded her as a ‘sex kitten’ all when she was 14 years old.
During the shoot of Anjana Safar, “As soon as director Raj Nawathe said ‘action’, Biswajeet took Rekha in his arms and pressed his lips on hers. Rekha was stunned. This kiss had never been mentioned to her. The camera kept rolling; neither was the director ordering ‘cut’ nor was Biswajeet letting go of her. For all of five minutes, Biswajeet kept kissing Rekha. Unit members were whistling and cheering. Her eyes were tightly shut but they were full of tears,” narrates the book.
The book is an attempt to present a more realistic picture of the star. Although, the writer has not been able to interview Rekha herself, he has managed to interview people who know Rekha, the person, and has collated the information from various published material or interviews which are already in public domain.
The book is a story of a woman who was dragged into films at a tender age of 13-14, and had to put up with a sexist industry. Her biological father, Gemini Ganesan, a star himself, never accepted Rekha’s mother as his wife or the kids as his own. Rekha was forced to be the breadwinner for her family which was heavily in debt. Here’s a woman who loved, lost and lived.