Ever since Rekha began acting, she defied the conventions and became a name to reckon with quite early in her career. Her characters in movies such as Khubsoorat (1980) , Umrao Jaan (1981) and Khoon Bhari Maang (1988), among others, have showcased her unrestrained talent on the silver screen.
Here are excerpts from a freewheeling chat with the legendary actor.
Which aspect of your craft remains closest to you?
I respect and value all aspects of my craft. However, interacting with my producers, directors, co-stars, my staff, and not to forget, the spot boys, and the relationship and camaraderie that I have shared with them, remains closest to my heart. The day-to-day experiences, the laughs and the tears, the unexpected twists and turns, the behind-the-scenes drama and the fun times have left a lasting imprint that will always remain close to my heart.
Have the characters you played ever affected your personality?
I don’t think that my characters have added to my personality. Rather, it’s my core that has rubbed off on my characters. We actors are privileged; we live many lives in one life by taking on different on-screen avatars. Even a non-actor has to play many roles in his or her life. Each time, it is a different facet of my personality that I discover through my performances. My unique interpretation of my role and a great script, combined with divine intervention, is what I believe makes the character magical and immortal.
Have you ever had creative conflicts with your teammates or your directors?
Creative conflicts with your co-stars and the team are natural and inevitable, but scheming to get your way for a ‘one up’ is being delusional, and is destructive for the entire project. That’s not cool at all. Healthy competition is productive and more than welcome. I am a director’s actor; he or she is the captain of the ship. I totally surrender to my director’s vision of my character. We actors are restricted to our craft (acting) and have no business or say in the final presentation. One can only suggest something for the betterment, only if the director is sharp and receptive, and foresees the scope for improvement.
The romance that was essayed in movies back in the day is different from the romance portrayed today. Do you think cinema is a reflection of society?
Not all of our movies are a reflection of society, thankfully. Cinema is the only medium that has the potential to transcend reality and make us believe that fantasy is more magical and real than reality. A good film has a lasting effect, and has the power to influence, affect, inspire and soothe one’s soul like no other medium can.
How would you define love?
I have said this before and I still maintain that I am love. To me, love is the beauty you feel within you — pure, fragile, and yet stronger than any other emotion. It is indestructible. It cannot be destroyed even by the one who evokes it. Many eons ago, my Amma and Appa loved so deeply, intensely and hopelessly that I feel the ripple effects of their feelings vibrate in my being even today.
Did you ever plan your career and your life?
The saying goes, ‘Life is what happens when you are busy planning’. I am not someone who plans every move. I rely on my instincts. ‘Spontaneous’ is my middle name, not ‘impulsive’. When one is impulsive, one can be brash and damaging, while instincts are a virtue. As far as my career goes, it was my mother’s dream for me [to become an actor], which I still aspire to fulfil.
Rekha has a special message for her fans on Diwali; the actor says, “Every day is a festival and I celebrate each moment with gratitude and joy. You (fans) will forever be that bright light at the end of the tunnel. The glow and twinkle in my eyes is a reflection of your undying love for me. Keep smiling, have a safe and peaceful Diwali.”