When Rekha became ‘national vamp’ after husband’s suicide: Chinmayi shares biography excerpt amid Rhea Chakraborty’s media trial

Singer Chinmayi Sripada has shared an excerpt from a biography of Rekha which details how the actor was treated after her husband’s suicide in 1990. She compared the episode to Rhea’s media trial.
Rekha’s husband Mukesh Aggarwal died by suicide a few months after their wedding in 1990.
Rekha’s husband Mukesh Aggarwal died by suicide a few months after their wedding in 1990.
Updated on Sep 13, 2020 09:35 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Seeing the media trial that Rhea Chakraborty is being subjected to over the last two months, many are reminded of a similar episode from Bollywood past. Veteran actor Rekha was also put on trial by the media after the death of her husband in 1990.

Singer Chinmayi Sripada shared an Instagram post on Sunday--an excerpt from Rekha’s biography Rekha: The Untold Story by Yasser Usman. The biography details how Rekha was blamed for the suicide of her husband, Mukesh Aggarwal. She was called a witch by her in-laws and even disregarded by her Bollywood colleagues. Read it here:


“October 2, 1990, Mukesh, Rekha’s husband, decided to take away his life. He had hanged himself to the ceiling fan of his room, using his wife’s dupatta.

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Same Mukesh, who reportedly seemed happy on the fateful day, according to his brother Anil.

Rekha came to know about Mukesh’s chronic depression after getting married.


1. A national witchhunt followed. People all over the country starting hating and shaming her as a cold-hearted man-eater.

2. Mukesh’s mother’s wail made headlines when she cried, ‘Woh daayan mere bete ko kha gayi. Bhagwan use kabhi maaf nahi karega.’ (That witch devoured my son. God will never forgive her.)

3. Anil Gupta said, “My brother loved Rekha truly. For him love was a do or die attempt. He could not tolerate what Rekha was doing to him. Now what does she want, does she want our money?”

4. Subhash Ghai 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 bahoo. It’’s going to be tough even professionally for her. No conscientious director will work with her ever again. How will the audience accept her as Bharat ki nari or insaf ki devi?”

5. Anupam Kher said “She’s become the national vamp. Professionally and personally, I think it’s curtains for her. I mean I don’t know how will I react to her if I come face to face with her.”

6. The press lapped up the sensational story of Mukesh’s suicide and featured reports with outrageous headlines like ‘The Black Widow’ (Showtime, November 1990) and ‘The Macabre Truth behind Mukesh’s Suicide’ (Cine Blitz, November 1990). Delhi high society and Bombay’s film industry vociferously condemned Rekha for ‘murdering’ Mukesh Agarwal.

1990-2020 : 30 years Similar cases, similar reactions. Still asking why is smashing the patriarchy and feminism relevant?

Sharing it, Chinmayi wrote, “Subhash Ghai and Anupam Kher’s quotes, circa 1990 on Rekha if reported verbatim, is how some men are made.It is unbelievable how Rekha survived and thrived.”

Also read: From being asked to serve food to Ayushmann Khurrana to getting groped at 12, Tahira Kashyap opens up on need to smash patriarchy

Late actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s father filed an FIR against Rhea in July, accusing her of abetment to suicide. The case was sent to the Central Bureau of Investigation and is also simultaneously being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate and Narcotics Control Bureau. Even with three agencies on the case, many on the internet have already declared Rhea guilty of Sushant’s death. She has been bombarded with hateful messages on social media.

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