Rakhee Gulzar

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Rakhee Gulzar at Neena Singh's art exhibition
Rakhee at Neena Singh's art exhibition in 2012.
Born Rakhee Majumdar
(1947-08-15) 15 August 1947 (age 71)
Ranaghat, Bengal, Dominion of India
(now in West Bengal, India)
Years active 1967–2003
Ajay Biswas
(m. 1963; div. 1965)

Gulzar (m. 1973)
Children Meghna Gulzar

Raakhee Majumdar (born 15 August 1947) is a former Indian film actress,[1] who has primarily appeared in Hindi films, as well as many Bengali films.[2] She is popularly known as Raakhee or 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 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, alongside actress Madhuri Dixit.

Early life[edit]

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 Bengal, modern-day Bangladesh, before the partition of India, and thereafter he settled in West Bengal. While still a teenager, Raakhee had an arranged marriage to Bengali journalist/film director Ajay Biswas, which ended shortly .


In 1967, the 20-year-old Raakhee (also credited as "Rakhee") acted in her first Bengali film Badhu Baran, after which she was offered the lead role in her first Hindi film in 1970, Rajshri Productions' Jeevan Mrityu with Dharmendra.

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 therefore became one of the leading actress of Hindi Cinema in the 1970s. The films Shehzada (1972) and Aankhon Aankhon Mein (1972) - both showcased her comic abilities. She displayed versatility with Heera Panna (1973), Daag: A Poem of Love (1973), Hamare Tumhare (1979), Aanchal (1980), Shriman Shrimati (1982) and Taaqat (1982). She regards her performances in Blackmail (1973), Tapasya (1976) and Aanchal to be her best performances. She acted with Dev Anand in Heera Panna, Banarasi Babu (1973), Joshila (1973) and Lootmaar (1980).

Rakhee worked with Shashi Kapoor in 10 released films, including Sharmelee (1971), Jaanwar Aur Insaan (1972), Kabhi Kabhie (1976), Doosra Aadmi (1977), the critically acclaimed Trishna (1978), Baseraa (1981),[3] Bandhan Kuchchey Dhaagon Ka (1983), Zameen Aasmaan (1984), and Pighalta Aasman (1985). She also acted opposite Kapoor in the film Ek Do Teen Chaar, which was produced in 1980 but never released.[4] Her other unreleased film is Majnoon (1979) though the songs were released. Her films with Amitabh Bachchan include Kabhie Kabhie (1976), Muqaddar Ka Sikander (1978), 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 the leading role in his debut film Shradhanjali; 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 Shashi Kapoor.

In films such as Jurmana, her name is credited ahead of the heroes in the credits of the film. She at the peak of her career as heroine, surprised everyone by agreeing to play strong characters as sister-in-law to Rajesh Khanna in Aanchal (1980), which was followed by playing sister-in-law to Shashi Kapoor in Shaan (1980), mother to Amitabh in Shakti (1982), sister-in-law to Mithun Chakraborty in Dhuan and mother to Rishi Kapoor in Yeh Vaada Raha (1982).

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 a woman of principles in commercially successful films such as Ram Lakhan (1989), Anari (1993), Baazigar (1993), Khalnayak (1993), Karan Arjun (1995), Border (1997), Soldier (1998), Ek Rishtaa: The Bond of Love (2001) and Dil Ka Rishta (2002).

Her last film was Shubho Mahurat in 2003, for which she won the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress. She has since retired from the film industry.

In one of her interviews, she said in 2012 that her favourite co-star among her heroes were Rajesh Khanna and Shashi Kapoor. She was quoted saying: " Rajesh was like one of the seven wonders for the industry. There was magic in his face and mannerisms. He was shy and conservative, but misunderstood. Why wouldn't he come three hours late for a shot when his co-actors, including me, took three hours to dress up? He did not use any make up ever. Would anybody from the current crop of actors do a film like Bawarchi?" When she was questioned on her opinion on the films made, she quoted: "I am nobody to judge today's cinema, but if you insist, here's my personal opinion. Today's hit films have a shelf life of seven days, the lyrics are incomprehensible, and the music is so noisy. Rajesh Khanna brought good films. Amitabh Bachchan brought bad films. I haven’t liked a single SRK film after DDLJ."[5]

Personal life[edit]

In her second marriage, Raakhee married film director, poet and lyricist Gulzar. The couple have a daughter, Meghna Gulzar. When their daughter was only one year old, they separated.[6] After completing her graduation in films from New York University, Meghna went on to become a director of films including Filhaal..., Just Married and Dus Kahaniyaan,[7] and authored a biography of her father in 2004.[8]

At one point, Raakhee stayed in her bungalow, "Muktangan" (bought from the Marathi playwright P. L. Deshpande), on Sarojini Road in Khar, Mumbai. Later, she sold 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. As of 2015 she mostly stays in the Panvel farmhouse on the Mumbai outskirts.[9][10]

Awards and nominations[edit]



  1. ^ "Rakhee Gulzar is Unrecognizable as She Makes a Rare Public Appearance". News18. Retrieved 2018-03-26. 
  2. ^ "Biography for Rakhee Gulzar". 
  3. ^ "Three's company". Pune Mirror. 16 September 2012. Archived from the original on 11 November 2013. Retrieved 26 March 2018. 
  4. ^ "The only memory". Pune Mirror. 29 May 2011. Archived from the original on 11 November 2013. Retrieved 26 March 2018. 
  5. ^ Lalwani, Vickey (18 September 2012). "Today's hits are 7-day wonders: Rakhee". Mumbai Mirror. Retrieved 26 March 2018. 
  6. ^ "Raakhee and Gulzar's love story". The Times of India. 16 September 2013. Retrieved 14 August 2016. 
  7. ^ "Women directors scale Bollywood". BBC News. 21 February 2002. 
  8. ^ "On the Shelf". Indian Express. 11 January 2004. 
  9. ^ "Bipasha to rebuild home to suit her 'energy'". Sify.com. 2 July 2008. 
  10. ^ Dasgupta, Priyanka (24 February 2009). "Rakhee-Meghna delight on Gulzar's win". The Times of India. 
  11. ^ "37th Annual BFJA Awards". BFJA. Archived from the original on 22 April 2008. Retrieved 23 February 2011. 
  12. ^ 21st National Film Awards Archived 28 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015. 

External links[edit]