Reena Roy

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Reena Roy
Roy in 2018
Saira Ali

(1957-01-07) 7 January 1957 (age 62)
Years active1972–1985, 1999–2000
Height169 cm (5 ft 7 in)
Spouse(s)Mohsin Khan (divorced)

Reena Roy (born 7 January 1957) is a Hindi Bollywood actress who has performed leading roles in many films from 1972 to 1985 and was a leading actress of that era. She was one of the highest-paid actress of her time. She was awarded Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998 along with Sharmila Tagore for her contribution to Hindi cinema. Her roles contributed to a then new onscreen persona in which she was known for her female-oriented roles. She is the recipient of a Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress, which was given to her for her performance in film Apnapan (1977), and had received nominations for Filmfare Best Actress Award for Nagin (1976) and Aasha (1980).

Early life and background[edit]

Reena Roy was born Saira Ali, the third daughter of a Muslim father, Sadiq Ali, a small-time actor, and a Punjabi Hindu mother, Sharda Rai, who acted in film Bawre Nain and later produced film Gnehgar Kaun. She has three siblings who all disowned their father after the parents divorced. Her mother renamed all the four children after the divorce. She was renamed as Roopa Rai, which was changed to Reena Roy by the producer of her first film, Zaroorat.[1] She started acting in films in her early teens. She disputed reports that her decision to enter films was to financially support her mother and siblings.[2]

Career in Hindi films as a leading actress[edit]

Success and public recognition (1970–1979)

Reena Roy's career in films started off with a non-starter, B. R. Ishara's Nai Duniya Naye Log with another newcomer Danny Denzongpa, but it was shelved temporarily. Undeterred, B. R. Ishara cast both actors again in Zaroorat (1972), along with another newcomer Vijay Arora, and the racy film got her some attention. She was now called the "Zaroorat Girl". Yet, she struggled for the next four years in B-grade films that had feeble scripts and faltering leading men. The bright spot during this period came with her lively performance in Jaise Ko Taisa (1973) and her rain-soaked dance to the song "Ab ke sawan mein jee dare" with Jeetendra raised temperatures.

Another break came after two years. 1976 was the year that gave Reena the major breakthrough with Nagin and, at the outset Kalicharan (1976) did not seem like it had the makings of a hit. Subhash Ghai, a failed actor, was making his directorial debut, and Shatrughan Sinha, an actor known for his villainous roles, was making his first mark as a hero. But the film defied everyone's expectations and became a surprise hit. Reena and Shatrughan got attention from audiences for their good performances, and became a famous team as they signed several films together, such as Subhash Ghai's Vishwanath (1978), a blockbuster thriller. The press also publicized their off-screen relationship, which ended when Shatrughan married a former actress named Poonam Sinha in 1981.

Reena Roy also made several films with Sunil Dutt. The successes of Zakhmee (1975) and Kalicharan led to her star vehicle Nagin (1976). Playing the title role of "female snake with mythological powers", she avenges the death of her lover by ruthlessly killing five men. The film became a huge hit, and Reena received her first Filmfare nomination as Best Actress. She was then one of the top heroines in Hindi films. Following the success of "Nagin", director Rajkumar Kohli, cast Reena again in his next horror movie Jaani Dushman (1979). Thereafter, the Kohli-Roy combination continued to give blockbusters, including Muqabla (1979), Badle Ki Aag (1982), and Raaj Tilak (1984). But it was Reena's appearance with Jeetendra in marital dramas such as Badaltey Rishtey (1978) and Pyaasa Sawan (1982) that set her career soaring. The duo produced three of their greatest classics together - Apnapan (1977), Aasha (1980) and Arpan (1983).

Her role in Apnapan as the selfish gold-digger who abandons her husband and child, and later wanting her son back, won her the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award, beating out top actresses Nutan, Asha Parekh, and Rekha.[3] (This was the precursor to the type of role that Meryl Streep played two years later in Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)).

Established actress (1980–1985)

After the box office success of Aasha (1980), for which she received her second Filmfare nomination as Best Actress, Reena Roy entered the 1980s as a leading lady in demand. Top directors such as J. Om Prakash, Prakash Mehra, Raj Khosla and Sultan Ahmad grabbed her for crucial roles, making her the highest-paid actress of the mid-1970s and early 1980s.

Though she competed professionally with Rekha, off-screen they were good friends. Rekha helped Reena improve her costume sense and hair styles. Reena Roy and Rekha did many hit films together, mostly with Reena Roy playing the antagonist and Rekha playing supporting roles, such as - Nagin (1976), Muqabla (1979), Jaani Dushman (1979), Prem Tapashya (1983) and Asha Jyoti (1984). Moushumi Chatterjee, Asha Parekh, Parveen Babi and Sulakshana Pandit are other actresses often seen playing supporting roles in her films. This also signifies Reena's star power during her time placing her ahead of other top actresses.

Jeetendra and Reena Roy have worked in 22 films together and in 17 movies they were paired romantically. 12 of the 17 films where she was heroine to Jeetendra were super-hits.

Reena Roy and Shatrughan Sinha have worked as a romantic pair in 16 films and 11 were hits from 1972 to 1982.

Rajesh Khanna and Reena Roy delivered four successful films – Dhanwan, Dharam Kanta, Asha Jyoti and Hum Dono.

She has also acted opposite Amitabh Bachchan in the successful Punjabi films Sat Sri Akal (1977) and Vilayati Babu (1981). Also she has played the role of Amitabh Bachchan 's foster sister role in the Manmohan Desai's multi starrer movie named as Naseeb, where she is again paired with Bollywood's Shotgun Shatrughan Sinha.

Reena Roy then concentrated on her career, with stiff competition from Hema Malini for No. 1 position by the early 1980s. In 1982 alone, she had thirteen releases, by far more than any other actress. According to she had the most successful year in 1982 with 8 major grossers, taking her to the number one slot of the list. According to boxofficeIndia she had the most hits along with Hema malini. Her characters became more versatile, as did her dances. She danced with the classical 'natyam' in Rocky (1981)), just as easily as the "Disco Station" number in Hathkadi (1982). She was the sophisticated city dwelling model in Karishma (1984) and as the village girl in Dharam Kanta (1982). She met the challenging demands of her double role in the Muslim social, Ladies Tailor (1981), and acted opposite the versatile Sanjeev Kumar.

At the pinnacle of her popularity, Reena's strong desire to prove herself got her involved in a number of women-oriented films. Enacting the role of a tormented daughter-in-law in Sau Din Saas Ke (1980), she defies conventions to oppose her mother-in-law. With an author-backed role in Bezubaan (1982), she gave a portrayal of a woman whose past returns to threaten her present married life. In Lakshmi (1982), playing the role of an unfortunate tawaif, she dances to her never-ending tragedies. However, the film failed at the box office. But she was successful with her other home production —the musical Sanam Teri Kasam (1982), opposite Kamal Hassan and produced by her sister Barkha Roy.

Her one of the last films were Inteha (1984 film). One of Reena's last releases was J.P. Dutta's blockbuster Ghulami, where she was paired with Dharmendra. She made a comeback to Hindi Cinema via J. P. Dutta's cross-border action love story movie named Refugee in the year 2000.

Personal life[edit]

She has two more sisters, Barkha and Anju and a brother, Raja. In 1983, at the height of her fame, Reena Roy decided to quit the film industry to marry Pakistani cricketer Mohsin Khan. The couple later divorced. Reena initially lost custody of her daughter Sanam,[4] (Mohsin Khan calls her Jannat, but Reena and her sister Barkha call her Sanam, named after their hit film Sanam Teri Kasam (1982).) in the divorce. After her ex-husband remarried, Reena regained custody.


Reena returned to Bollywood in 1992, in a mature supporting role as a sister-in-law ('bhabhi') in Aadmi Khilona Hai (1993) but could not repeat her success as she did in her young slim looks during the early days of her career. Her last film appearance was in J.P Dutta's Refugee (2000). She has since turned to acting in television serials, such as "Eena Meena Deeka," produced by her sister Barkha. After the serial ended, the sisters opened an acting school in 2004. Reena Roy has also campaigned for the Indian National Congress.[5]


Year Film Role Notes
1972 Zaroorat Anju
Milap Rani 'Chalava'/Rukmani
Jangal Mein Mangal Leela
1973 Nai Duniya Naye Log Sandhya
Jaise Ko Taisa Roopa
1974 Madhosh Minal
Goonj Meena
1975 Vardaan Lata
Umar Qaid
Rani Aur Lalpari Lalpari
Apne Dushman Reshma 'Reshu'
Zakhmee Nisha Ganguly
1976 Sangram Poonam
Gumrah Reena
Barood Sapna — Bakshi's Assistant
Nagin Nagin (female serpent)
Kalicharan sapna Mathur
Udhar Ka Sindur Rekha
1977 Zamaanat Reshma
Taxi Taxie Neelam
Sat Sri Akal Shree
Paapi Aasha
Jagriti Barkha
Daku Aur Mahatma Kiran
Apnapan Kamini Agarwal
Jadu Tona Varsha
Jay Vejay Maharani Ambika
1978 Karmayogi Kiran
Daku Aur Jawan Ganga
Chor Ho To Aisa Champa
Vishwanath Soni
Aakhri Daku
Badalte Rishtey Savitri Devi
Bhookh Bina
1979 Muqabla Laxmi 'lacho'
Heera-Moti Neelam
Gautam Govinda Dancer
Jaani Dushman
1980 Khanjar Nisha/Preeti
Yari Dushmani Pammi
Sau Din Saas Ke Durga
Ganga Aur Suraj Poonam
Kashish Docter Seema
Aasha Asha
Be-Reham Kiran
Jawalamukhi Anju
1981 Vilayati Babu Billo
Dushman Dost
Naseeb Julie
Ladies Tailor Niqat
Rocky Lajwanti/Hirabai
Dhanwan (1981 film) Asha
Pyaasa Sawan Manorama
Jail Yatra Shanu
1982 Main Intequam Loonga Mala Bajpai
Lakshmi Lakshmi
Kachche Heere Rani
Jeeo Aur Jeene Do Renu
Do Ustad Roopa
Dard Ka Rishta Asha
Baghavat Channo
Hathkadi Rosie
Sanam Teri Kasam Nisha
Badle Ki Aag Geeta
Insaan Sona
Dharm Kanta Bijli
Deedar-E-Yaar Qawalli Singer
Bezubaan Kalpana
1983 Andhaa Kanoon Meena Srivastav
Arpan Shobha
Prem Tapasya Devi
Naukar Biwi Ka Sandhya
1984 Yaadon Ki Zanjeer Usha
Raaj Tilak Madhumati
Maati Maangey Khoon Sharda
Asha Jyoti Jyoti
Inteha Anita
Karishmaa Nisha
1985 Kali Basti Lajjo — Gangaram's sister
Ghulami Moran
Ek Chitthi Pyar Bhari Aarti Saxena
Hum Dono Rani
1986 Mangal Dada Lakshmi
1987 Faqeer Badshah Dancer
1988 Dharam Shatru Renu
Do Waqt Ki Roti Shalini aka Shalu
1993 Bedardi Preeti N. Saxena
Aadmi Khilona Hai Ganga Verma
1995 Policewala Gunda Sudha
Janam Kundli Rita R. Mehra
Kalyug Ke Avtaar Reena
1996 Smuggler Usha
Rajkumar Rani Maa
Ajay Durga
1997 Jeena O Shaan Se Lata
1999 Gair Sharda Oberoi
2000 Refugee Amina Mohammad

Awards and nominations[edit]


External links[edit]