Sridevi was truly bonded with Rekha in more ways than one. And it was not just personal. It was professional as well. In the Amitabh Bachchan starrer Aakhri Raasta, Rekha had dubbed for Sridevi. But the bonding goes back to before that time. Over to Rekha, “I’ve always loved that girl (Sridevi). She has a special spark about her. I believe after Vyjanthimala and Hema Malini, Sridevi was the third Tamil superstar in Hindi cinema. Me? No, I don’t think I was anywhere near these actresses.”
Rekha specially singles out Sridevi’s dancing skills. “She was a much better dancer than I was. I just managed to look like a dancer without being one.” Interestingly Rekha was instrumental in facilitating Sridevi’s stardom in Hindi cinema. Jeetendra who has worked in 18 films with Sridevi and 30 films with Rekha, reveals that Rekha was the first choice for Himmatwala, the film that catapulted Sridevi to stardom. But Rekha was committed to another project.
“That’s when we decided to launch a new girl. And the rest is history. Aise ittefaq aksar hote hain hamare industry mein (such coincidences often occur in this film industry). Rajesh Khanna and I were college friends and we entered the film industry together. I was supposed to do the film Raaz. But when I couldn’t do it due to date issues I sent the producer G P Sippy to Rajesh Khanna. The rest is, again, history.”