Credited with hundreds of starring roles, Rekha remains one of Hindi cinema’s greatest-ever movie stars. But did you know that she never wanted to become an actor at all, and was forced into the profession by her mother?

In a 1986 interview with the BBC, Rekha revealed that her parents — actors Gemini Ganeshan and Pushpavalli — were were keen on her joining the film industry. But she had absolutely no interest in following in her footsteps, and said that for the first six-seven years of her career, she actively disliked being in the films.

Asked if her parents’ popularity put pressure on her, she said in Hindi, “My father, not so much, but my mother really wanted me to work in films. But for at least six or seven years, I didn’t like what I was doing. I was dragged to shoots, I used to do double shifts, I didn’t like it at all.”

She said, “I never wanted to become an actor. If you ask most actors, they’ll say that they always wanted to join the film industry, but not me. I never wanted to become an actor, mujhe maar maar ke banaya gaya (I was beaten into submission).”

Rekha began her career as a child artiste at the age of three and began working in Hindi films when she turned 13, but it was only after appearing in the film Ghar that she began appreciating the craft of acting, and there was no looking back. She has appeared in a wide range of films, including Khubsoorat, Khoong Bhari Maang, Umrao Jaan and Silsila. She was last seen in a main role in 2014’s Super Nani.

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