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Rakhee Gulzar at Neena Singh's art exhibition
15 August 1947
Ranaghat, Bengal, Dominion of India
(now in West Bengal, India)
Raakhee Majumdar (born 15 August 1947) is an Indian film actress, who has primarily appeared in Hindi films, as well as several Bengali films. She is popularly known as Raakhee Gulzar after her marriage to lyricist-director Gulzar. In four decades of acting, Raakhee won three Filmfare Awards and a National Film Award, among others. At the Filmfare, Raakhee has been nominated 16 times (8 for Best Actress and 8 for Best Supporting Actress), making her the overall most-nominated performer in the female acting categories.
Rakhee was born in a Bengali family at Ranaghat in the Nadia district, West Bengal, in the early hours of 15 August 1947, just hours after the declaration of independence of India. She received her early education in a local girls' school. Her father had a flourishing shoe business in his native village in East Pakistan, modern-day Bangladesh, before the partition and thereafter he settled in West Bengal. While still a teenager, Raakhee had an arranged marriage to Bengali film director Ajay Biswas, which ended shortly thereafter.
In 1967, the 20-year-old Raakhee acted in her first Bengali film, Badhu Baran, after which she was offered the lead role in her first Hindi film, Rajshri Productions' Jeevan Mrityu with Dharmendra in 1970.
In 1971, Rakhee played a double role opposite Shashi Kapoor in Sharmilee, and in the same year she also acted in Lal Patthar and Paras; all three films were popular, and she became established as a major Hindi lead heroine. Her films over the next decade included Shehzada (1972), Heera Panna (1973), Daag (1973), Hamare Tumhare (1979), Aanchal (1980), and Taaqat (1982). She regards her performances in Blackmail (1973) and Tapasya (1976) to be her best performances. She acted with Dev Anand in Heera Panna, Banarasi Babu, Lootmaar and Joshila.
Rakhee worked with Shashi Kapoor in 10 released films, including Sharmelee (1971), Jaanwar Aur Insaan (1972), Kabhi Kabhie (1976), the critically acclaimed Trishna (1978), Baseraa (1981), Doosra Aadmi, Bandhan Kuchchey Dhaagon Ka (1983), Bandh Honth (1984), Zameen Aasmaan (1984), and Pighalta Aasman (1985). She also acted opposite Kapoor in the film Ek Do Teen Chaar, which was produced in 1970 but never released. Her films with Amitabh Bachchan include Kabhie Kabhie (1976), Muqaddar Ka Sikander (1977), Kasme Vaade (1978), Trishul (1978), Kaala Patthar (1979), Jurmana (1979), Barsaat Ki Ek Raat (1981), and Bemisal (1982). In 1981, the 23-year-old aspiring director Anil Sharma asked her to star in leading role in his debut film Shardhanjali; Raakhee agreed to take the part despite lack of funding for the film project, and the film was successful. She acted in other Bengali films Paroma (1984) and was awarded the BFJA Award for Best Actress. Her last film as the lead female heroine was Pighalta Aasman in 1985 with Shahsi Kapoor.
Towards the late 1980s and 1990s she played strong character roles as the elderly mother—usually a bereaved and bitter widow whose husband died at the hands of ruthless villains—or woman of principles in commercially successful films such as Ram Lakhan (1989), 'Saheb', Anari, Baazigar (1993), Khalnayak (1993), Karan Arjun (1995), Border (1997), Soldier (1998) and Ek Rishta -Bond of Love (2001).
In her second marriage, she married film director, poet and lyricist, Gulzar. The couple had a daughter, Meghna Gulzar (Bosky); when their daughter was only one year old, they separated but never divorced. Meghna Gulzar grew up with her father and, after completing her graduation in films from New York University, went on to become a director of films like Filhaal, Just Married and Dus Kahaniyaan, and authored the biography of her father Gulzar, in 2004.
At one point, Raakhee stayed in her bungalow, "Muktangan," on Sarojini Road in Khar, Mumbai, later she sold off the property and moved to an apartment two buildings away, though the new high rise is still called by the same name, as she had wished. These days she mostly stays in the Panvel farmhouse on Mumbai outskirts.
Awards and nominations
- "Biography for Rakhee Gulzar".
- "Lounge: Rakhee Gulzar". Mint (newspaper). 11 August 2007.
- Analysis: I celebrate Independence Day, Not my Birthday: Rakhee Boloji.com, 2007.
- "Raakhee Biography". Yahoo! Movies.
- "Entertainment » Todays-hits-are-7-day-wonders". Times Of India. Retrieved 18 September 2012.[dead link]
- "Women directors scale Bollywood". BBC News. 21 February 2002.
- "On the Shelf". Indian Express. 11 January 2004.
- "Bipasha to rebuild home to suit her 'energy'". Sify.com. 2 July 2008.
- Dasgupta, Priyanka (24 February 2009). "Rakhee-Meghna delight on Gulzar's win". The Times of India.
- "37th Annual BFJA Awards". BFJA. Retrieved 2011-02-23.
- 21st National Film Awards