She still speaks longingly and lovingly of “him”, while he has never said that they were more than co-stars and acquaintances. Did Rekha and Amitabh really have an affair?
The two acted together and the reel-life chemistry they shared was stunning. And most people believe that bond was strong in real life, too. But did they ever share a love that could have shaken his marriage? We are still wondering about that one. It is not that there were no signs of ‘pyaar-vyaar’ between Rekha and Amitabh. It is said to have begun on the sets of Do Anjaane, the film that debuted Rekha’s transformation from raw and fat South Indian starlet to polished and gorgeous B-town star and showed that Bachchan could indeed bring in the audiences. And success was a given after that, with Khoon Pasina, Ganga Ki Saugandh, Suhaag, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Ram Balram and Mr. Natwarlal, to name just a few. Many had already suspected that the couple was spending more time alone, away from the sets, with regular trysts off the sets, though no one who really knew all the facts has ever talked about it. The relationship, and the reactions to it from AB’s wife Jaya, were evocatively caught on celluloid in Silsila (1981), their last film together. It is said that Rekha realized that there was no future in it, since Jaya would not let Amitabh go, and she would always be the ‘other woman’, a story that her own mother’s life had already lived. The story goes that Rekha, inspired by the Hema Malini-Dharmendra love story and that “marriage” between the two, started flaunting gifts from Amitabh and turned up at a Bollywood wedding complete with sindoor and rings from her lover. Jaya is said to have asked her over to dinner one evening and made it very clear that she would never leave her husband, no matter what. Today, it is all very civilized and friendly, but who knows what could be simmering under that calm façade! Wethink love will always find a way, as the song goes, but whose love for whom and what way, we have no clue. We can only sigh and sing Ye kahaan aa gaye hum and wonder, ‘Yeh kahaan jaa raha hai?’