Jayesh Sheth

I was very nervous on my first assignment with Rekha. It was in 1992. It was a trial shoot. She wanted to check my work so she called me to Mahableshwar, where she was shooting for a film. We barely managed a few pictures. After that, there was a gap of about two or three years, and we did not interact with each other.

When I started my own studio, she called me up suddenly and said she was coming to the studio for a shoot. It was a surprise for me, so I wanted to be more careful with the shoot. I didn't want another long time gap between us. But the shoot did not work. I could not meet her expectations and again, there was a break of three or four years. Later, she called me to her house suddenly. That day, we had a brilliant shoot, and from then onwards, there was no looking back.


I have over 100,000 negatives of Rekha. We shared a good rapport. She got the best results from me. Rekha should not have been in India, she should have been abroad! It's a total waste for her to be in this country. She is an amazing friend and philosopher. If I had any setbacks, I would share with her and she would give beautiful dimensions and guidelines. Rekha always lives for the present.


She is very cooperative and makes everyone feel very comfortable, including my assistants. She is an expert where makeup is concerned. She knows the shades and cosmetics better than the top makeup men. Just check her picture and see her makeup. We have cancelled shoots many times if I do not feel comfortable or have a problem.

 

Sometimes, she doesn't keep well at the last minute, and we've had to cancel shoots. But when she comes for the shoot, she is at the top of the world. She is a perfectionist. If something is missing -- like maybe jewellary -- she would reschedule the shoot. She is very choosy about costumes. She is a brilliant designer.


I've always wondered where she got her costumes from, and she would answer, 'Jayesh, don't ask questions. There are many things in my treasure.' She still has her 1970s and 1980s costumes. This picture is my favourite. We shot it in 1995, and till today, it has remained in my gallery
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We would quarrel sometimes on which of her pictures were good. Sometimes I liked a picture and she didn't and vice versa. But I always had to give up. She had great reasoning why the picture was not right, and what was missing.


Did you know that Rekha had started the personalized theme based photo shoot fad in Bollywood. The camera loves her and she loves the camera. She is completely in love with her beauty and is proud .

 


Rakesh Shrestha

Rekha ji is a Diva!

The best part about Rekha jis that she is highly sensitive ad highly temperamental, all of which shows everywhere. whether it be her pictures, her films or her personal life.

 

I had a fabulous time shooting her, right from the beginning when I was a fresher till the time I established myself. Every time I met her , there was little growth in my life as far as my work and my personal life was concerned.

 

She is highly influential, very charming and very convincing. She is the most beautiful Star that I have shot in my Career.


 

 


Vickky Idnaani

Over the years Ive developed several theories about who Rekhaji is to me and how I came to be so fortunate as to have her in my life. My Friend. My Confidante. My Mentor. My Muse. But none of these do justice to her. After all these years Ive finally determined that Rekhaji is Gods answer to my prayers, to dot the is and cross the ts of what has been written for me.

She has been there for me at times when I needed her most whether that meant some much needed counsel, or simply a quote I read, everything she says and does hits me like lightning, and like lightning, it never strikes in the same place twice.
One such bolt was when I read her answer when asked her opinion about the fragile infrastructure of Mumbai. She simply replied that we couldnt love our mother any less if she has an additional wrinkle, and the same applies to our home, Mumbai too. Her answer reverberates in my heart to this day because of the simplicity and sincerity of the thought.


One time I fondly reminisce about is the inauguration of my studio Kkosh (named after my mother Kkoshalya) in 2009, which Rekhaji kindly graced. Having her cut the ribbon to my creative sanctuary was something I had only dreamed about until then. Although what I hadnt dreamed about was Rekhaji holding my mothers hand for the ribbon-cutting. The joy I experienced at watching my studio being inaugurated by these two women the diva of my dreams, and my mother who is responsible for the man I am today, remains unmatched to date.


Every conversation Ive had with her is a new book waiting to be written, a new ballad waiting to be sung, a new spell waiting to be cast.

I remember another one of her quotes, which stayed with me A woman should be seen by the luminosity of her grace and not heard shooting her mouth away about praising herself which is so not lady-like, because it reminds me of Rekhaji herself.

The epitome of femininity, elegance, and class. My friend. My Confidante. My Mentor. My Muse (perhaps in front of my camera soon?) And of course Gods answer to my prayers.

 

 


Late Sh. Gautam Rajadhyaksha

I met Rekha pretty late, many years after she came into films.She was off the press because she had a huge problem with another magazine. I sent her a note and she spoke to me. She's a very private person. At that time, her mind and body temple fitness regime was in the news and those were the pictures that I shot. The whole article was on her concentration on becoming the body beautiful.
The relationship we share through the last 20 years is very beautiful. She is a very nice, sensitive and warm person. Over the years, she has become more beautiful as a human being. And that reflects as a refinement of her presentation. One can talk of her graph as a crude, loud and fat South Indian girl -- very 'namkeen' as Meena Kumari called her. Meena Kumari had said 'meetha kitna khaoge namkeen bahut khaya jata hai.' Rekha called her Meena appa. She was friendly with the older lot of actresses. So
I think that namkeen quality is very well in its place. But I think somewhere the knocks that life gave her sobered her down. They are a revelation that life is much more than glamour, money and being adored by men.
She has led a lavish life with cars, bungalows, making acchar, going to [director] S S Vasan's place for Dassera and getting a little gift there, her mother taking her and her siblings for a samosa treat in the Chennai airport and the endearing family traditions.
She enjoyed it all, but with that was a feeling of being neglected when her father Gemini Ganesan moved on to other pastures. Her mother did not have time for her children because she wanted to dedicate her time to her slipping career.
One story goes that whenever anybody gave them any gifts, the kids would buy stuff and whatever was left, they'd put them in these acchar jars. They would stuff money there to prevent bad times.
Rekha was recalled from boarding school and told that she would have to work. Even then, for about a year, there was no work. They'd dip into these acchar jars, which could hardly be called savings. They were just leftovers from other expenses.

Then a time came when she lived her dreams, became a star and was loved by people. The film Ghar changed her. With her signing amount, she bought a house. She said that suddenly she had to do something for the house. She stopped wearing garish clothes and she withdrew into herself. That must've been the time when the external metamorphosis must've taken place. That was the turning point in her life.
Rekha is a great observer and has an elephantine memory. She doesn't miss a nuance, a word or an action. She remembers and absorbs everything. She can recall what you wore at a certain meeting. From this fat little girl, she metamorphosed into a woman. She had style and class. And in that process, she did some of her best films like Umrao Jaan.

When you are talking to her, she is absorbing everything. Sometimes, she has no idea what you are talking about. But she is a good listener. She'll absorb it, go home, go to a bookstore and buy herself a book that'll tell her more about the subject. When you meet her next, she'll be more knowledgeable about the subject. Work is worship for her.
I do she has any kind of life or any interest beyond it. She says that beyond work she doesn't know what to do. And she is eager to create a new image to keep her audiences happy. She is the ultimate cover girl.She has reached a plateau now. She has settled down. She understands she is not the golden girl that she was. But she wants to retain her dignity.
You will not find her doing ads. She has got so many television offers. She's intelligent in so many areas whether it is designing jewellery, or clothes or makeup.
Her psyche is maturing to the extent that she has so much to show. It's pity that we don't have films that Ingrid Bergman or Bette Davis did right through their careers.

50 is just another figure in her life. She is far maturer than that. Yet, there are times when she appears childlike. I am privileged to know the real Rekha. She is a very shy person despite what people may think. She takes a long time to open up. She has been hurt too often.
It's a facade that she puts up in public and audiences buy it.
When she travels she visits museums and tries to learn things. The interviews she gives are interviews that people love to get from her.

Over the years, she should be given a chance to express herself in another field -- maybe writing. She may not be a great writer but she is great raconteur. But she needs to get things said because she has several lifetimes rolled into one.

 

 


RT Chawla

 
Rekha is not only a Beautiful woman but also a very talented actress of Indian Cinema.Very few people knows that Rekha also have a huge collection of her own photographs and very fond of Photography and has a very good knowledge of Lighting, Camera, Angels & Techniques.
It's not an easy task to convience her for a Photoshoot specially for a new Photographer because She has some selected photographers in Bollywood .
During her photo shoot she is so co-operative and manageable but if she is not comfortable then there is no mean to shoot, Untill she is not satisfied then say No to shoot. After every photoshoot she decide that which photo to be print.
Today we used digital technique of photography but long time ago we used simple photography and that time she take the complete reel from the photographer and decide which photos to be made or print.During the shooting of her any film she stirctly avoid photography on the set.
But personally she is very sweet by nature. I met her so many times and also worked with her in film Qila.
 
 

 


Ashok Salian

 
I first met Rekha in 1993. I've been an advertising photographer, but by then I was experimenting with film photography. I had shot all the big names, but had never worked with Rekha. Suddenly, she called me herself, instead of the magazine! She had seen my work and wanted to work with me.

I told her I was too busy, and couldn't come down for the shoot. Advertising was my career, and film shoots were done on the side, after work. But she was adamant, and said she'd come down to the studio! This was unprecedented behaviour from the filmi crowd, and I was intrigued.

She reached my studio at five, on the dot. She has always been punctual, and this professionalism is something the film industry lacks entirely. It is an irresponsible industry, and all the rumours about her lack of professionalism are untrue. There are tales of Amitabh Bachchan, being the thorough professional, but he's always been late for my shoots.

The first thing that strikes you about her is simplicity. Which is a bizarre word to use for someone who has lived a glamorous life. She has never thrown me any attitude.

I was her exclusive photographer from 1993 for the next five years. We shot frequently, often on consecutive days. We'd do about three-four shoots in a month, which is a lot! Most of our sessions were long.
I've have shot several hundred reels of Rekha! After those five years, I took a sabbatical from film photography. I was tired of the people, the unprofessionality, and just thought I could spend my evenings better without them.
Recently, a few years ago, I shot with her again and we just clicked. Nothing has changed between us.

It's wonderful working with someone who loves photography; a lot of film stars treat it like a chore, like its something to get through as soon as possible.
She revels in it, enjoys working at it, and is very inquisitive about the process itself, which makes my job a lot easier. I've never spoken technically with her, so I'm not sure how much she understands it, but I can assure you she understands light -- at least she understands light that will complement a shot. That is no mean feat.

Aesthetically, she's very organised. As we fiddle with the idea of a different 'look', she'll vanish with her makeup bag, play around barely for fifteen minutes, and come back with a completely new look -- which includes makeup, costume, and light. That's phenomenal!

And the energy! She can go on and on. We've often shot up to eight different looks in one evening. At the end, I've often had to yell, "Stop!" because of exhaustion, but she keeps herself switched on so entirely, and completely.

We've all had bad days, but she's so committed. I've worked with her while she's unwell, and the effort she's put into the shoot is just so special.
She's a narcissistic beauty, surely in love with herself. She knows she's gorgeous, she enjoys the attention, and she knows the power of a good still, of looking incredible in a single frame. Most of the others are dismissive of still photographs.

Akshay Kumar is a rare exception, and preens for the lenses a lot like her, he enjoys it. In fact, I always refer to Akshay as the Rekha of the male bastion!

I never shot her in her youthful days. Maybe the fact that I'd shot successfully with other mature beauties like Dimple Kapadia is what gave her the idea to work with me. Like a photographer loves to work with a beautiful model, a good model will have preferences for certain styles of a photographer.

The relationship is one of trust, and we have been rather implicit with each other. Her warmth was a huge help. Unlike most actresses, Rekha has a brilliant personal wardrobe. A lot of beautiful actresses -- Madhuri Dixit comes to mind, she's sublimely gorgeous but oh so simple, and her dress sense is so casual, she never made an effort -- wear awful clothes off-screen, but Rekha is immaculate. Her collection of saris and jewellery is fascinating.


Whenever I've run into her at a party, she's been surrounded by a fan following. Throngs of admirers gather around and follow her, even if they're all industry people used to celebrity. She just has this aura.


She has an androgynously sensual appeal, and is liked universally, across the upper echelons of class and the masses. I think she can switch her charm on and off at will, the artificial filmi facade and the simple girl, depending on the situation.

She had a rather peculiar habit, which never stopped freaking me out. We used to shoot Polaroids of the shoots, and dozens and dozens would gather after the day. She'd collect all these Polaroids and make sure I signed them. Each and every single shot! It was crazy! And she'd never forget!


We'd have completed a long shoot, and she'd make me sign all the pictures! I still can't believe it, and she did it every time. It took me ages to just get through all the signing, with her looking on like an eager, but meticulous, little girl. Crazy!


One word to describe her would be `stunning'. She just is. Imagine, 50 years old. It's not like she hides her age, but she has just maintained herself so well. After 40, you see a face start to droop, but she is so unbelievably fit, has such immense energy. It's fascinating.


She's an icon, and the incredible thing is that she's been an icon for decades now, but is still as enchanting. I applaud her, and wish her a very Happy birthday.

 

 


Late Jagdish Mali

Rekha is a dream come true. A photographer's delight and a fantastic human being. She is a very intelligent and sensitive person. Whatever I know about make-up today, I have learnt from her.

She does her own make-up, and does a great job at it.
She is an example to everyone else in the industry; when I tell a make-up girl to work on an actress' eyes, I tell her to make them like Rekha. She revolutionised lip makeup entirely. No one before her had explored the sensuality of lips like she did. It was a true education, and she worked very hard.


She is a perfect model, settling behind the camera was always easy and comfortable. She liked shoots and enjoyed working on them, no matter how long they took. She is very relaxed when working on a shoot, and the long hours don't bother her at all. She is a very dedicated professional, something very rare in the industry. She likes the lens and it likes her a lot!


She has been nice and friendly to the crew too. She would always talk about her interests -- a trip to Paris, the clothes she just bought, the latest fashions in shoes. These were the things that interested her and she knew we were in the industry. She taught us about them. She is a very sophisticated lady; A lot of people try to pretend, but Rekha has class.


Once I had gone to her house for a shoot long time ago. In those days, we had several bags of equipment, more so than today. I was in a hurry to get there and to have everything right. When I got to Rekha's house, I realised I'd forgotten only one bag: the one with the camera!

She laughed and laughed, and said, "What kind of photographer leaves his camera behind?" We were on great terms then, so she said that since my studio (at that time) and her house were located at Bandra, I should go and get my camera. She waited till I came back and then we started the shoot.We still laugh about it.

For the last 25 years, Rekha has been the number one for me as photographer. I've worked with many beautiful women, actresses and Miss Indias, but they do not even come close. Rekha is still the best.