By Subhash K. Jha
Mumbai, (IANS) Bollywood's inimitable diva Rekha has spoken candidly about Amitabh Bachchan, saying he taught her the nuances of acting. She praised his performance in "Last Lear" as "very Shakespearean".
"He's my guru. I learnt so much from him," Rekha told IANS.
Commenting on Amitabh's role in "Last Lear", she said: "Seriously I think Rituparno Ghosh is like Utpal Dutt. And I believe Bachchan is very Shakespearean in 'Last Lear'. Together I believe the two have paid a very proper tribute to Shakespeare. I'm looking forward to it."I seriously think Bachchan is more Bengali than any one I know. He's a true Bengali dada. And I'm not saying that because he has a Bengali wife or has spent time in Kolkata. There's more of Rabindranath Tagore's legacy in him than anyone else."
Is she aware that Preity Zinta in Rituparno Ghosh's "Last Lear" has been styled, a la Rekha in "Silsila"?
"Has she? Is it an imitation or a tribute? We've to make that distinction very clearly," said Rekha, who turned 53 Oct 10.
Asked about her birthday celebrations, she said: "I didn't notice. For me every day is a celebration, every moment a blessing from god. I don't need to visit temples on my birthday. There's a temple right here in my house and that's where prayed, as I do every day."
How does she manage to remain so positive in spite of so much negativity around her?
"I don't think about negative things. There's so much beauty, love and excitement to be savoured every day. People can get to us only if we allow them to. Besides, I don't believe people are negative without reason. Even the cobra that bites you has a reason to do so.
"At Dev Saab's book release, I had to rush in and rush out because my pup Shiva was waiting in the car. I've five pups and all very dear to me. They're my children. I left Shiva in the car. Yes, I did trip but I went right into the car! So it was a perfect trip.
"People ask me about the way I conduct my life. Sorry, beautiful music is conducted... Lives cannot be conducted. At least I've always gone with the flow, risen and fallen with the rhythms of existence without, tripping over seriously.
"My current high is bonding with Shah Rukh Khan. Of course, I've known him for years. But lately we're connecting more profoundly. I've done a blink-and-miss appearance in 'Om Shanti Om' and that's when I got to know him seriously. He has a sharp mind."
Rekha then spoke about Tagore.
"Do you know Tagore was a true woman's libber? He started (the university in) Santiniketan for women long before feminism was conceptualised. I like the thought of women being given philosophical and emotional sanctuary by a man who isn't threatened by them.
"Today, I find we're too obsessed by superficialities and surface gratification. On the news channels all we hear about achievers is their financial assets, homes, villas and parties. There has to be a spirit that supports dreams. I dream all the time. My life is a dream and I dream a new dream every day."
Is Rekha going to the West?
"No, where did you hear that? I've no such plans. I've never planned anything in life, certainly not my career. Mira Nair's 'Kamasutra' happened to me by chance. Maybe something will come up. At the moment I'm excited about the debut of my nephew which will happen next year."
Rekha is now preparing for her role in Hema Malini's film, to be directed by Revathy. Esha Deol will be seen with her in the film.
"Hemaji has the most radiant and goddess-like face I've seen. When Lataji called me a reincarnation of goddess Laxmi, I was over the moon. But really, she was just being so kind. I don't really want to be a goddess, or a diva or whatever I'm called. I just want to fulfil my responsibilities. If you ask me to assess myself, I'm an okay actress and a good human being. But I'm not content. I still have a dream. Don't ask me what it is. I don't know."