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All about her magnificent obsessions

Khalid Mohamed recounts the many pleasures of interfacing with yesteryears actress and Bollywood diva Rekha.

india Updated: Feb 06, 2007 19:28 IST
Khalid Mohamed
Khalid Mohamed

CELEBRITY INTERVIEWS ARE A BOOMING INDUSTRY. Thousands of magazines and newpapers covet sound bytes, photos, the works. Scores of TV and satellite channels crowd the already packed scenario.

Result: the age-old star-journo relationship has been redefined, now geared essentially towards PRgiri. But she is one of the few surviving narrators of true tales, albeit sharply edited.

It was the world’s most celebrated critic and celebrity profile artiste, Kenneth Tynan, who once said that what most men see in women when they’re punch drunk, they see in Greta Garbo when they’re stone-cold sober.

I haven’t had to resort to such a Devdasian dilemma of going boozed out, but it’s been pretty close. Take a deeper breath than a sea diver, organise the wave of questions in a mental log-jam, await her entry at the office desk in her bereft workplace apartment on Bandra’s oceanfront.

Maybe just maybe I’ll get somewhere. A quotabe confession has to be negotiated to top the photograph selected after thought and contextual relevance, clicked by either of her glam-pic dependables Jagdish Mali or Jayesh Sheth. As for my personal camera favourites, Suresh Natarajan and Dabboo Ratnani, well no, they’re wonderful she’ll convey that without articulating it in words, but if you don’t mind KM, let’s not get into that.

Rekha was last soon be seen in Gautam Ghose's Yatra

Fine. Anyway, why am I getting into Rekhology today? First, just. Next, because I’m awaiting to see her in

Goutam Ghose’s


in which she pairs with Nana Patekar.

It’s been shown at international film festivals, as in London. Back home, the off-the-beaten-track offering is scheduled to unspool at the multiplexes any day.

Frankly, I also want to remove the unpleasant taste of watching her in a

Sex in the City

hideo-clone titled

Kudiyon Ka Hai Zamana

. Hello, hello, what was she thinking of ?

It’s happened before, sure, it has happened to everyone from Meryl Streep to Meena Kumari. Yet, I haven’t quite recovered from the Kudiyon Ka spectacle of Ma’am singing a sparser version of Din dhal jaaye (Guide) while trying to seduce Sachin Khedekar of all people, looking like a frightened rabbit. A tad reminscent of Om Puri looking as if he was going good-golly-Miss Molly in Aastha.

Aah but if if I were to ask what on earth happened there, Rekha would look me straight in the eye and laser, “There are compulsions..and I never say anything bad about any of my know that.” Sure, which is why I haven’t been able to get a squelcher quote from her down the years even on such Razzies as Madame X, Mother ‘99 and eoww Bachke Rehna Re Baba or some such.

Conversations are best with her perhaps when she knows I have an agenda. She strives not to disappoint. Now, this subject alone could make a Stephen King-like thriller but since time, space and the reader’s attention span is short, I’ll reduce my 50 or so confabs with her to the three most reprentative ones..

Encounter No.1:
She isn’t talking to the press, which was quite a voguish thing to do back in the 1980s. She was shooting in Bangalore for Utsav, I was there to cover it, courtesy Shashi and Jennifer Kapoor. “Will she talk?” I quizzed before landing in beer pub country (now, of course it’s IT).

The shoot was at Ramanagram where Sholay was located.. she didn’t look at me, I pretended to be more interested in the life and times of the then newcomer Shekhar Suman... believe me that took some Oscar-worthy piece of acting.

On summoning up enough courage to stammer, “Ww..will you talk to me?” she smiled like royalty, “Kyon nahin? Baat karenge.”

This was over a noodle dinner in a Chinese restaurant. Next morning, I was scrubbed and shampooed in her hotel suite, trying to trip her, bait her, ensnare her about talking about the magnificent obsession of her life. No free dinner for guessing who..right?

First Published: Feb 06, 2007 18:45 IST