Indian Cinema Features
Rekha still dreams of meeting her prince charming
By Subhash K. Jha Dec 8, 2006, 12:55 GMT
Mumbai, Dec 8 (IANS) Bollywood diva Rekha, who at 51 remains the heartthrob of Indian cine-goers, says she still hopes to meet her ideal man.
'May be I'm being unreal and impractical, but I'm not in denial. If I find someone who's willing to share me with my fans, I might change my mind,' Rekha told IANS.
'If I had a man, I'd just be devoting all my attention to that one person. I'll take out his clothes, personally monitor his menu, prepare the lunch and personally deliver it to him.'
But Rekha, the star of the original 'Umrao Jaan', doesn't crave for children.
'I do not miss children. Even if I find the ultimate man to have babies with, it'd be very unfair to my priorities. Because if I have a baby, I won't be able to focus on anything else.'
On her glam appearance, she says: 'I don't have to spend hours planning and executing my clothes and makeup. I've done it for 40-odd years. I can't bring myself to spend more than 15 minutes on makeup and clothes.'
Q: Your fans still feel very distant from you.
A: I beg to defer. My fans are no different from me. They celebrate the fact that I'm a part of their life through my movies, my photo features and my interviews.
At the risk of sounding vain let me say that they absolutely love the fact that I've happened to their lives. And I'm not there as just an invisible entity. I'm very much a part of their family. They find solace in me, as I find love in them. My fans and I validate each other's existence.
When people are troubled they indulge in all kinds of vices, like drinking or having an illicit affair. I just turn to my fans who share an unconditional love with me. I've never got negative vibes from anyone. If this isn't a blessing, what is?
Q: Why do you think of yourself as a loner?
A: It's a word. It means I spend most my time on my own. Going by my nature, it's the most comfortable situation to be in. My god! Think of all the time I get to reason out things, not analyse situations, that's such a waste of time. But you've to analyse things. And I never consciously created that time. It was bestowed on me.
I never thought I'd be home alone, with all my sisters married and gone. I never thought I'd not have my own family, my own children.
Q: Do you miss children?
A: Not any more. I do not miss children. Even if I find the ultimate man to have babies with, it'd be very unfair to my priorities. Because if I have a baby, I won't be able to focus on anything else. Then what happens to the babies all over the world with whom I'm connected?
If you have the power to be Rekha then you better be prepared to reach out to anyone who wants to reach out to you.
Q: What about a man?
A: If I had a man, I'd just be devoting all my attention to that one person. I'm an extremely uni-focus person. I'll take out his clothes, personally monitor his menu, prepare the lunch and personally deliver it to him.
I don't think I am capable of enjoying the best of both worlds. I can't deprive the other world of fans and admirers just for that narrow world of a family. May be I'm being unreal and impractical. But I'm not in denial. If I find someone who's willing to share me with my fans, I might change my mind.
Q: Aging, illness, loss of beauty - have these questions begun to bother you?
A: If I let these thoughts affect me, I wouldn't be able to be creative. I'm petrified of falling ill and going to the hospital. However, disasters are a part and parcel of life. I cannot avoid them. But when a catastrophe happens, I'd like to see it as a signal to go into another phase of my life. So, in a silly masochistic way, I welcome pain because it will help me grow.
Q: Don't you crave to do normal things like giggling with your friends?
A: Oh god! My life is so much more fun than doing the normal things. My definition of fun is very different. I don't think anyone else can share my idea of fun. I stopped celebrating my birthday with a cake in 1974. Even before that I used to hate it. As a kid I hated birthday parties. I'm not too comfortable in crowds.
Q: So many of the actresses today idolise your looks, makeup and clothes.
A: I hope all of them do. The beauty of it is, I don't have to spend hours planning and executing my clothes and makeup. I've done it for 40-odd years. It's like cooking and swimming. Dressing up is second nature to me. I can't bring myself to spend more than 15 minutes on makeup and clothes.
Q: I believe you've always done you own makeup?
A: Always. Not even Mickey Contractor, whom I adore, has ever done my makeup. His hands start shaking. I really wish someone would come forward and take over the responsibility for my clothes, makeup and styling. I envy stars who have people to do everything from hair to dialogues. Nowadays I get films where I've to think about sets, co-stars, etc.
Q: What do you know now that you didn't know 10 years ago?
A: I know myself as a woman. Even when I was a girl, I knew what the woman in me wanted. Now, I feel the most amazing thing about my life is the potential of the unknown. Every moment lived is yesterday's headline. Every unlived moment is adding to your growth as a human being. My responses yesterday are invalid today.
I feel more sorrow today than I did yesterday. That doesn't mean I'm in pain all the time. You must understand I'm growing older. But there's so much more awareness to make a difference to myself and others. For example, I don't know there's a man for me out there or not. That's the potential of the unknown.
Q: So you think there might be someone out there?
A: Don't mistake the potential of the unknown for expectations. I'm a very action-oriented person. I don't sit and speculate. I can't sit still anywhere. I don't just listen to people. I think and act on what they say. Every channel for self-improvement - an image on television, a lovers' tiff at the traffic signal - has a profound impact on me.
Q: You share your star sign with so many Bollywood luminaries, including Amitabh Bachchan.
A: Really? I didn't know that. I don't believe in astrology. I don't believe in wearing big rocks on my fingers to change my destiny. I feel self-respect and faith in yourself and the creator combined with intense hard work shapes your destiny. Time is god and I'm part of god. I need to get up and use that time to the best of my abilities.
Q: Who are the younger actors you're fond of?
A: I'm fond of all of them, and I'm not being diplomatic. When people try to compare my 'Umrao Jaan' with Ash's (Aishwarya Rai), I get fiercely protective of her. She looks unbelievable in 'Umrao Jaan'. My heart goes out to Ash. She's been around for so long and yet not been there. That's how it was with me...until I did 'Umrao Jaan'.
It seemed improbable that a Tamil girl talking Urdu would work. Similarly, this south Indian girl should realise her potential in 'Umrao Jaan'. She doesn't need to go to Hollywood to prove herself. She's our own. Why 'Bride & Prejudice'? Who are these people from outside trying to tap Ash's potential? She's our treasure. It's time we acknowledge her.
Q: Do you like the trend of remakes?
A: Why not? It's an intriguing phase. But if someone comes to me and says he wants to re-make 'Pakeezah' with me I'd say, 'hello?'
Q: Why hello?
A: Because Meena Kumari was 21 when she started 'Pakeezah'. I'm 51.
Q: What does one expect from you in the coming year?
A: I don't know. I'm just so grateful that people respond positively to anything I do off or on screen. My sister always says, 'We're not human beings having a spiritual experience. We're spiritual beings having a human experience.'
Q: Do you shop?
A: Until 10 years ago I was a mad shopaholic. But now the only thing I invest in is plants. Recently, I've started indulging by working out.
Q: You go to a gym?
A: No. I've a little gym in my home. Look at me, I'm giving away personal details. This is just not me.
© 2006 Indo-Asian News Service