Bollywood Icon Rekha’s Most Memorable On-Screen Beauty Moments

 BOLLYWOOD Icon Rekha’s Most Memorable On-Screen Beauty Moments


By Ria Thakkar

Today we are taking a look at some of Rekha’s most iconic and memorable beauty looks from her successful career in Indian cinema. Rekha is a prolific South Indian actress that has starred in many Bollywood blockbusters as well as independent films. Noted for her versatility, she has played many tenacious and complex characters and is widely recognised as one of the finest actresses in Bollywood.

She made her official acting debut at just age 12 and went on to become one of Bollywood’s most respected and enigmatic actresses. Rekha has acted in well over 180 films, has won several awards and still works occasionally today, she is referred to as ‘Rekha ji’ in India as a form of respect. However, despite all her success Rekha did not escape industry scrutiny and colourism. But she has managed to overcome the criticisms about her appearance, as well as many personal struggles during her career, and remains a style icon.

Here we look back at some of our favourite beauty looks from Rekha’s most beloved characters.

Khoobsurat, 1980 (Film Still)

We begin with the comedy-drama film Khoobsurat (1980). This film sees Rekha in a playful role, where she challenges the matriarch of the family her sister marries into, and ultimately wins over the stern mother-in-law. Her mischievous behaviour is juxtaposed with girly butter-wouldn’t-melt beauty and hair choices. Her girly pigtails are paired with neutral make-up that accentuate her bold features. Her cheekbones are often lightly defined with a natural blush, and her skin has a soft matte finish. Her light feathery brows are just as on trend today as they were in the 80’s.

Utsav, 1984 (Film stills)

Perhaps Rekha’s most iconic beauty look was in Utsav (1984), as Vasantasena, a wealthy and well-known courtesan. Vasantasena flees from the palace to avoid the unwanted attention from the King’s brother-in-law. She later meets and falls in love with Charudatta a married artist and the two begin an affair that ends when Vasantasena meets a tragic death at the hands of the King’s villainous brother-in-law.  Whilst her hair, throughout the movie is slicked back in to a simple bun or a braid this is juxtaposed with a strong, sultry make-up look of intensely smoky eyes paired with a dark glossy lip and contoured cheekbones.

Silsila, 1981 (film Still)

Silsila (1981) a romantic drama, sees Rekha in a soft make-up look. Silsila roughly translates to ‘chain of events’. The story of Rekha’s character Chandni is one of scandal and heartbreak. Chandi’s love interest in the film marries another woman, an unintended consequence following a family tragedy but the two star-crossed lovers soon embark on a passionate affair which as the title suggests leads to a series of unfortunate events.

Chandni’s character sees Rekha in simple make-up that is subtly colour coordinated with her saris. Her hair cascades over her shoulders in silky waves. Her brows are defined and kept, and her eyes are softly contoured. The look is completed with a glossy lined lip, and like Khoobsurat features a perfected yet natural finish to the skin. This look captures the essence of ‘soft glam’ makeup today.

Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, 1978 & Umrao Jaan 1981 Film stills

In the more traditional roles of Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (1978) and Umrao Jaan (1981) Rekha is seen with her classic lustrous lips, and bold eye looks. In Muqaddar Ka Sikandar Rekha plays the madam of a brothel, who encounters much drama and a tragic ending. While in Umrao Jaan she plays the eponymous character, kidnapped as a young girl and made into a courtesan who falls in love with a Sultan.
Through the film Rekha is seen sporting a soft smoky eye at some points, at others a more defined crease, and always with a smouldering lower lash line. Her cheeks are more blushed and the addition of the dot on the chin is traditionally Indian.

Khoon Bhari Maang, 1988 Film stills

Khoon Bhari Maang (1988) sees Rekha as a revenge seeking widow. After surviving her unscrupulous husband’s attempts to murder her, she reinvents and disguises herself as the mesmerising Jyoti. Dressed in deliciously 80s ensembles, all of Jyoti’s looks incorporate classic 80’s voluminous updo’s and stunning make-up. Big lashes, big hair, flawless complexion and full glam, accompanied with an entrancing new attitude, this character, and her looks will not be forgotten.

Follow: @riathakkar

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