Bhanurekha Ganesan a.k.a Rekha was a woman deprived of father’s love.
When Rekha joined the film industry she was called the ugly duckling for being having a dark complexion and also for being fat.
Amitabh Bachchan after joining the film industry could offer nothing but a series of flop films.
But when Amitabh and Rekha came together they gave Indian cinema numerous hits and came to be known as the ultimate romantic couple for their sizzling chemistry.
But till date the much talked about script involving the two have been their real life love story.
When the two actors came together for the first time in 'Do Anjaane' (Two Stranger) little did they know the name of the film would be the fate of their story. They would have to live the rest of their lives as strangers after a torrid affair.
The Amitabh-Rekha love story remains one of the most enigmatic love stories of Bollywood. There have been realms of speculations but never a confirmation.
The confirmation came out rather in the form of director Yash Chopra who spoke openly about Rekha-Amitabh affair in an interview to BBC.
It was a coup of sort for Yash Chopra to cast Amitabh, wife Jaya Bachchan and 'the other woman' Rekha in 'Silsila' together.
Yash Chopra told BBC that Amitabh and Rekha were very much in a relationship before ‘Silsila’ and he was every time in tenterhooks while filming the three. The tense was evident during filming. He knew his script resembled the real life, as if the trio of Amitabh, Jaya and Rekha were enacting a part out of their real life.
But again the duo remained silent, more so Amitabh Bachchan who ignored Rekha completely after 'Silsila' was completed.
And Rekha simply doesn’t talk to the media. She gives very few interviews and she rarely talks to the television cameras (she has done only two television interviews, both with friend Simi Garewal).
In 1984 Rekha spoke to Filmfare and was surprisingly gone easy about Amitabh.
Candidly talking about Amitabh's denial of their affair, Rekha said, "Why should he have not done it? He did it to protect his image, his family, his children. I think it is beautiful. I don't care what the public thinks of it. Why should the public know of my love for him or his love for me?"€
"I love him he loves me - that's it! I don't care what anybody thinks. If he would have reacted to me like that in private I would have been very disappointed. But has he ever done that? I ask you. So why should I care about what he has said in public. Not that he has 10 rollicking affairs! Mr. Bachchan is still old-fashioned. He doesn't want to hurt anybody. So why hurt his wife?"
"We are human beings who love and accept each other for what we are. There's more happiness in our lives than misery. Nothing else matters. But as long as I'm with that person I don't care."
20 years later Simi Garewal again caught hold of Rekha and asked her "Did you... fall in love with him?"
Rekha replied, "Absolutely! Duh, that’s a dumb question! I have yet to come across a single man, woman, child who can’t help but fall completely, passionately, insanely, desperately and specially, hopelessly in love with him."
But a mere second later, Rekha did a turnaround to say with a straight face: "You want to know the truth? There was never a personal connection with him. That’s the truth."
When an exasperated Simi countered: Why didn’t you just come out and deny it?
Rekha replied calmly: "What do I deny? That I’m not in love with him? Of course I am!"
Here's the irony. Rekha has turned 58 on Oct 10. She is still single and has no children. The 'ugly duckling' has manifested into the ultimate diva of Bollywood.
Amitabh Bachchan, turned 70 on Oct 11, till date refuses to comment, and yet he is uncomfortable in the presence of Rekha, even today.
This love story, however forbidden, is much celebrated.
And every year as the two eternal romantic couple celebrates their birthdays their forbidden love story will also be celebrated.