Rekha and Hema Malini – Comparing Similarities and Dissimilarities

Rekha and Hema Malini – Comparing Similarities and Dissimilarities
Rekha and Hema Malini – Comparing Similarities and Dissimilarities

Hema Malini and Rekha are two living female actors in the Indian Hindi Cinema (popularly known as Bollywood) who have had a long and successful career.

During their prime time they were the heart throb of young and not so young Indian males. Both the actors are now past their youth but they continue to maintain their presence in the hearts of millions of Indians. Hema Malini and Rekha still command an interesting numbers on internet search and their activities continue to be flashed with the photos and videos on Print and electronic media.

Fascinating study of comparisons between the lives of Rekha and Hema Malini

There are many similarities in their profiles. Such as both come from South India (Tamil background) and went on to become top Hindi Cinema heroines. Their birthdays are quite close and in the same month – October 10 of Rekha and October 16 of Hema Malini. Both Rekha and Hema Malini are sitting Members of Parliament

What else is common and what are the dissimilarities between these two stalwarts made an interesting research and here are some fascination facts. Read on….

Rekha and Hema Malini – Comparing Similarities and Dissimilarities

Birth, Upbringing and Family

Hema Malini
Height : 5′ 7″ (1.71 m)
Full Name: Hema Malini R. Chakravarthy) was born on October 16, 1948 (age 66), Ammankudi, in Thanjavur District in Tamil Nadu, India
Hema was born in the Tamil speaking Chakravarthy family.
Parents: Her father’s name is V.S.R. Chakravarthy and her mother Jaya later became a film producer.
Hema Malini trained to be a Bharatanatyam dancer.

Full Name: Bhanurekha Gemini Ganesan.
Height: 5′ 6″ (1.68 m)
Born: October 10, 1954 (age 60), Chennai
Rekha too was born in the Tamil-speaking household in Chennai
Parents: Her father was the well know Talmil Cinema Actor Ganesan and her mother Pushpavalli was a popular Telugu Films actor.


It is believed that when Rekha was just 10 years old when an incident changed impacted her psyche. This was her father’s affair with an actress. This changed her personality and she preferred to be a tomboy during her teen years. Cutting herself off from her friends and class mates she preferred to spend time with herself in the school chapel.

Hema Malini is the youngest and has two elder brothers. She did her schooling in Delhi till class 10 – which she could not complete as she got an acting role. Though not an academically bright student she enjoyed studying history.

Film Career

Hema took the dancing route into the acting career in film Industry. Beginning with Tamil Cinema she performed as the dancer in 1961. But in 1964, she was not selected as a heroine because the director Sridhar found her too thin. Hema’s persistence paid off and after a screen test the famous actor-director-producter Raj Kapoor cast her in Sapnon Ka Saudagar. Though, the film did not do well but Hema Malini stayed on as an actress in Hindi Cinema.

Hema Malini
Hema Malini

Over a span of 150 films four decades., she worked as the leading lady with most of famous actors such as Rajesh Khanna, Shashi Kapoor, Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjeev Kumar, Raj Kumar, Dev Anand as heroes. Some of the pairings became hits and were appreciated. She acted in 10 hits with Rajesh Khanna – the then Superstar of Bollywood and with Dharamendra in 35 films.

Some of her famous films are:

  • Johnny Mera Naam
  • Seeta Aur Geeta
  • Andaz
  • Satte Pe Satta
  • Lal Patthar
  • Sholay
  • Prem Nagar
  • Dillagi
  • Kinara
  • Hum Dono
  • Rajput
  • Bagbhan

She also produced and directed two movies, and also directed a TV serial ‘Noopur’. One of the movies was Dil Aashna Ha in which she directed Shah Rukh Khan.



She quit her school to get into films. With both her parents being the actors, acting can be said to be Rekha’s blood

Rekha made her first public appearance as a child artist in the Telugu film Rangula Ratnam (1966). Later, in a Kannada film Goadalli CID 999, she played the lead role of heroine. Before moving to Mumbai, Rekha acted in a number of Telugu, Kannada and Hindi films.

In 1970 she did her Hindi film Sawan Bhadon opposite Navin Nischol with a screen name of Rekha. This movie was a major hit which brought her instant stardom overnight. In 1976 she got a serious role in ‘Do Anjaane’ opposite Amitabh Bachchan.

She acted in a number of films, some of which were very successful and popular,  such as:

  • Kahani Kismat Ki
  • Raampur Ka Lakshman
  • Pran Jaaye Par Vachan Na Jaaye.
  • Nagin (1976)
  • Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (1978)
  • Mr. Natwarlal (1979)
  • Khubsoorat (1980)
  • Umrao Jaan (1981)
  • Khoon Bhari Maang(1988)

which brought a lot of name and fame.

However, her filmy career was not a smooth one. With constraints such as inability to speak Hindi, dusky complexions as well as her weight were major road blocks to be a successful heroine in Hindi film industry.

Determined to be successful, she seriously took to Yoga, shed extra weight, learnt Hindi and dancing. In her new and much improved avataar, Rekha went on to deliver many box office hits. Thus, she kept climbing the ladders of success.

With her remarkable acting skills, she could successfully carry on screen romance with younger actors like Anil Kapoor, Akshay Kumar and Manoj Bajpai .

Success, Achievements, Awards and Rewards

Hema Malini was branded with the title of Dream Girl of Bollywood and later she did act in a film “Dream Girl” in 1977
During Hema’s film career, she has been nominated 11 times for the Filmfare Awards for Best Actress. She won this in in 1972 for her role in Seeta Aur Geeta.

In 2000, she was honored with the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to Indian Cinema. This was followed by with the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian honour in the same year. In 2012, she received Honorary Doctorate conferred upon her by The Sir Padampat Singhania University Malini in recognition of her contribution to Indian cinema.

The biography of Hema Malini, Diva Unveiled – Hema Malini, was written by Ram Kamal Mukherjee and first published in 2005.


Rekha has acted in over 180 films in a career spanning over 4 decades. Mostly, Rekha has played strong female characters.

Besides mainstream cinema, she has also appeared parallel cinema.

Rekha 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.

In 2010, she was honoured with the Padma Shri by the Government of India.

List of the awards and honors

  1. Filmfare Best Actress Award
  2. National Film Award for Best Actress
  3. Filmfare Best Actress Award
  4. Star Screen Award Best Villain
  5. Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award
  6. Zee Cine Award for Lifetime Achievement
  7. Dinanath Mangeshkar Award
  8. Role Model Award by MAX Stardust
  9. Sony Golden Glory Award
  10. Maha Style Icon of the Year

Current Activities

Hema Malini

With her film career less hectic, Hema has been taking a lot of interest in politics.

She was nominated as Rajay Sabha MP (2003–2009) by the then President of India, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, from Maharashtra.

In February 2004, she officially joined the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) with her film and was seen actively campaigning for the party during various elections. She is seen as an active member of BJP and in March 2010, she was made general secretary of the party.

In 2014 Lok Sabha General Elections, Hema Malini got elected from Mathura (Uttar Pradesh) constituency defeating her rival by an exciting margin of 3,30,743 Votes.

In addition, Hema is also a brand ambassador for a company which manufactures water purifier system and a textile showroom in Chennai.


Though not so busy, her upcoming film, Super Nani is set to release on Diwali (24th October)

Also Rekha was nominated to the Upper House of Parliament ( Rajya Sabha)on April 26, 2014. The actress took oath as an MP on May 15, 2014

Personal Life

After turning down marriage proposals from Sanjeev Kumar and Jeetendra, Hema fell in love with her co star Dharmendra. They married in 1979.

Hema has two dauthers – Esha and Ahana. The trio, well proficient in the arts of Bharatnatyam dance form, have performed together at a number of dance events and concerts.

She is believed to have had several affairs. In 1990, Rekha married Delhi-based industrialist Mukesh Aggarwal. Unfortunately this marriage did not last long. While she was overseas Mukesh committed suicide

Rekha’s best known relationship (unconfirmed) was her long-time affair with superstar Amitabh Bachchan. The couple was last seen together in the film, Silsila, and their affair ended soon after.

Is this not an amazing story of two evergreen actresses? We wish them a healthy and peaceful life ahead!

Disclaimer and credits: This is no piece of original research as most of the information and pictures are compiled from published sources such as Wikipedia.

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