Bhanurekha Ganesan (born 10 October 1954), better known by her stage name Rekha, is an Indian film actress. Noted for her versatility and acknowledged as one of the finest actresses in Indian cinema, Rekha started her career in 1958 as a child actress in the Telugu film Inti Guttu, though her film debut as a lead happened twelve years later with Sawan Bhadon. Despite the success of several of her early films, she was often panned for her looks and it was not until the mid-to-late 1970s that she got recognition as an actress. Rekha has acted in more than 190 films in her career spanning over 50 years. Throughout her career, she has often played strong female characters and, apart from mainstream cinema, appeared in arthouse films, known in India as parallel cinema. She has won three Filmfare Awards, two for Best Actress and one for Best Supporting Actress, for her roles in Khubsoorat (1980), Khoon Bhari Maang (1988) and Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi (1996), respectively. Her portrayal of a classical courtesan in Umrao Jaan (1981) won her the National Film Award for Best Actress. Though her career has gone through certain periods of decline, she has reinvented herself numerous times and has been credited for her ability to sustain her status. In 2010, she was honoured with the Padma Shri by the Government of India.
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