Ahead of Bollywood's original diva Rekha's birthday, we recreate her iconic looks on Anindita Bose
With iconic star Rekha's birthday only three days away, we recreate four immortal looks of the diva with Bollywood actress Anindita Bose
Siren, seductress, enchantress, superstar --- none of these adjectives can fully capture the aura and enigma of Rekha unless you reach for the word diva. Glamorous on screen, enchantress on stage, mysterious in real life and eternal in beauty, she is the ultimate diva in Bollywood, her canvas for the past five decades.
Born Bhanurekha Ganeshan, Rekha made her first screen appearance as a child artist in two Telugu films Inti Gutti and Rangula Ratnam and got her first lead role in the Kannada movie Operation Jackpot Nalli CID 999 in 1969. Sawan Bhadon in 1970 marked her debut in Bollywood that saw her acting in several landmark films including Silsila, Umrao Jaan, Jhoothi, Khubsoorat, Khoon Bhari Maang, Do Anjaane, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Ijazat, Phool Bane Angarey, Mr and Mrs Khiladi and Koi Mil Gaya.
As she turns 68 this October 10, we thought of paying her a very fashionable tribute that captures some of her timeless looks on screen. For the same, we collaborated with fashion designer and Tollywood stylist Anupam Chatterjee and celebrity make-up artist Abhijit Paul.
“Rekha is one of the icons, who inspired me to take the profession of fashion designing. In each of her movies, Rekha has broken the fashion norms and moulded herself to look like the characters, thereby setting new trends every time. Be it her braided look in Khubsoorat or the chic goggles look in Khoon Bhari Maang, they had an entire generation of young girls swooning and trying to imitate the same,” says Anupam Chatterjee, fashion designer and Tollywood stylist, who runs the label Warssi Kolkata.
In this issue, Anupam has recreated two iconic on-screen looks of Rekha from the films Umrao Jaan and Parineeta, besides gorgeous looks off the screen. And any of Rekha’s looks comprises a lot of details in terms of makeup. “Rekha always channels the diva look and she simply loves the colours red and gold, be it clothes or makeup. Any reference to the actress makes one think of bold red lips, the popular mole or beauty spot on the upper lip, well-done eyes with white kohl on the lower lid and thick mascara. Well-brushed brows, open cascade hair or a bun with gajra, or a long braid with colourful parandas and a shimmery flawless skin tone define her. We have tried to bring that aura and glamour to life in these four looks by keeping all these elements in mind,” tells make-up pro, Abhijit Paul, who has visualized the entire look along with Anupam.
In real life too, Rekha’s love for heavy jewellery and shiny Kanchipuram silks alludes to her passion for all things glamourous and larger-than-life. “Rekha defines ageless and timeless fashion. A look at her makes you feel that she is frozen in time. I cannot recall any other actresses who had gripped the imagination of so many generations of fashionistas with their style and sense of fashion. The appeal of Rekha’s styles lies in the fact that women from all age groups can emulate her style and look gorgeous,” adds Anupam.
Here, in this special cover, we have recreated four Rekha looks on another very stylish Bollywood actress Anindita Bose and the result is for all of you to see.
or the immortal Umrao Jaan look, Anupam has recreated the beautiful white and gold anarkali in tissue and silk and paired it with a tissue dupatta as a reference. “We have used all the pearls, kundan and jadau jewellery to bring that authentic Umrao look replete with jhaptas and chandbali tikli that take you back to the Lucknowi era,” says Anupam. Abhijit has recreated the gold shadowed eyes with thick mascara and bright red pouts. “To complete the look we have braided the hair with golden paranda and have painted her fingers and toes with traditional alta (red dye).
The look in the song Kaisi Hai Paheli from Parineeta has been created with a maroon net sari with heavy self-embroidery and paired it with a lace-work blouse in reference to the real picture. “We have also used very fancy maroon black gloves in lace to recreate the look. The entire jewellery has been specially customized in lace to complete the glam doll look,” says Anupam. Abhijit has upped the glam quotient with the trademark curls and red rose, maroon lipstick and a black mole on the upper lip. “I have used bold copper eye shadows and created thick winged liners with loads of mascara and blush-on,” he says.
Anupam has recreated the famed tussar sari look with a tussar silk yarn and gold-rimmed black aviators. “I have kept the makeup nude except the lips that are in bold burgundy red. The hair has been tied up into a tight gelled neat bun with a middle parting. The burgundy lips complete the drop-dead gorgeous look,” says Abhijit.
In real life, Rekha is almost always spotted in her signature heavy kanjivaram silk and gold jewellery. “We have made Anindita wear a heavy red kanjivaram with a golden sheen and kept the cascade open hairstyle. This is a typical look that Rekha dons while gracing the red carpets. Abhijit has complemented the long wavy locks with maroon lipstick, a small bindi and heavily done eyes.
A fan, forever / Channelling the inner Diva
Her smouldering looks on screen and her sartorial styles off-screen have turned her into a fashion icon among the young millennials. We are talking about Mumbai-based actress Anindita Bose, who set the screen on fire with the portrayal of the deviously innocent Chanda in the popular web series Paatal Lok. A huge fan of Rekha, this dusky actress with strong jawlines and confident looks was our natural choice when it came to channelling the Rekha looks. And when we heard she was in town for Pujas, we grabbed the opportunity for the same.
"The very fact that Indulge thought of me to pay a tribute to Rekha and her fashion through the ages was too tempting for me not to say yes. Rekha always carries herself so gracefully and what inspires me the most is the way she has changed herself and her fashion choices with changing times. She is a fashion goddess anything -- timeless and ageless -- everything about her just seems so surreal," enthuses the dusky siren.
Here're snippets of the actor's fashion choices and upcoming projects.
What are your favourite Rekha movies?
There are actually many favourite Rekha movies and if I could choose three top ones they would be Silsila, Khoon Bhari Maang and Umrao Jaan. She did a really great job in all these films.
What do you think makes Rekha an eternal fashion diva?
She is so ahead of her time when it came to fashion and makeup in cinema and that's what makes her a fashion diva. Personally too, her style is so trendy, so contemporary and yet so ageless. She is actually evergreen.
Tell us in what ways Diwali is special to you?
It's special in many ways since I grew up in Mumbai, which celebrates Diwali in a huge way. I remember as kids, our entire family came together for two days of sheer fun and food and we used to stay up the whole night bursting firecrackers and eating a lot of sweets. So, Diwali is nostalgic and reliving childhood days. My sister and I try to carry on the tradition but avoid bursting firecrackers due to self-awareness about the pollution it creates. This year too we will be spending time with cousins and friends and playing cards and enjoying. I also buy a nice piece of jewellery every single year. It can be any special piece or statement piece usually in silver.
Tell us about your fashion choices?
For daily wear, I usually always go for comfortable loose boho clothing like oversized t-shirts paired up with denim or casual pants. I settle for formal wear very rarely but if it's a formal social gathering then a blazer is a must or a really nice white crisp shirt. For parties, I like dresses which are simple, plain and structured but for weddings or any festival, I just love saris since in everyday life I don't get to wear them as frequently as I would like to.
I simply love accessories and even if I go out for basic grocery shopping, I have to wear my bangles, earrings and watches. They need not be gold but have to be ritzy.
How experimental dresser are you?
I don't know if I am an experimental dresser, but of late, I am loving to experiment with lots of colours. I usually never wore fluorescent colours because I always thought they didn't complement my skin tone. But now I am wearing a lot of neon and metallic colours and have ended up liking how I look in them.
Your wardrobe essentials?
My wardrobe has all kinds of white shirts and a lot of jeans.
Things which are always in your bag?
A lip balm, wallet, perfume, keys, phone, a hydrating face mist, hair clips and rubber bands and safety pins.
Your fitness and diet regimens?
Before following any kind of fitness or diet regimen, it's very important to take care of one's mental health. I have a fairly decent diet chart tailormade by my nutritionist and it has completely changed my life. I also exercise every single day to keep myself mentally fit and start my day with an hour and a half of workout besides15 minutes of meditation.
How do you develop yourself as an actor? How has your journey in Bollywood been so far and what are the learnings?
I developed myself over the years through practical lessons of acting on sets since I had no formal training. All my directors and co-actors have helped me to understand the art of acting better and what goes into creating a character. I always feel that being a good observer and learning from others help develop oneself.
We all have our own journey and our profession throws no different challenges than those in others. My journey in Bollywood has been a slow one but nevertheless, a very rewarding one. No matter what I have done so far, it has been an extremely fulfilling experience. I had my share of struggles but I do not take them to heart and feel it's very important to not get bogged down by these issues.
Your upcoming projects?
There are two films that are slated for release apart from a series at the start of 2023. The films include The Rapist by Aparna Sen that's currently doing festival rounds and Atanu Ghosh's Aro Ek Prithibi. I am very excited about Atanu's film and the story is really different. I always wanted to work with him and the character I am playing is a fun one. There's also The Storyteller starring Paresh Rawal, Adil Hussain, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Revathi and me. Directed by Anant Mahadevan, it is currently premiered at the ongoing Busan International Film Festival.
Pictures: Upahar Biswas / Make-up and hair: Abhijit Paul, assisted by Sananda Mondal Laha / Styling and clothes Anupam Chatterjee / Sari: Priya Gopal Bishoyi, Palki, Kanishka, Warssi Kolkata / Jewellery: The House of MBJ / Location courtesy: ITC Sonar