Rakhee Gulzar

Rakhee Gulzar
Rakhee Gulzar, image credit: Wikipedia

Born - August 15, 1947 in Ranaghat, West Bengal, India

Birth Name - Rakhee Majumdar

Occupation - Actress

Nationality - Indian

Years Active - 1967-2003

Height - 5' 9" (1.75 m)

Spouse(s) - Ajay Biswas (m. 1963; div. 1965) 
                   Gulzar (m. 1973)

Raakhee Gulzar (born Raakhee Majumdar on 15 August 1947 and widely known merely as Raakhee) is a former Indian film actress who has primarily appeared in Hindi films, as well as in many Bengali films. In four decades of acting, she has won three Filmfare Awards and one National Film Award, apart from many other awards. At Filmfare, Raakhee has been nominated 16 times in all (8 times for Best Actress and 8 times for Best Supporting Actress), making her the most-nominated performer in the female categories, alongside actress Madhuri Dixit.

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.

At the start of her film career, she dropped her surname and was mentioned in film credits only as "Raakhee", by which name she attained stardom, but upon marrying lyricist-director Gulzar, she took that as her surname and is credited thereafter as 'Raakhee Gulzar'.

In 1967, the 20-year-old Raakhee Gulzar (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), "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. 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 Bachchan 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 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.

Filmography

Year Movie Role Notes
 1967   Badhu Bharan    Bengali film
1968  Baghini  Rakhee Biswas  Bengali film
1969  The Gold Medal  Shobha/Dimple  
1970  Jeevan Mrityu  Deepa  
1971  Sharmilee  Kanchan/Kamini  
1971  Reshma Aur Shera  Gopal's Wife  
1971  Paaras  Barkha Singh  
1971  Lal Patthar  Sumita  
1972  Wafaa  Saraswati  
1972  Shehzada  Chanda  
1972  Yaar Mera  Sarla  
1972  Shaadi Ke Baad  Shobha  
1972  Janwar Aur Insaan    
1972  Beimaan  Sapna  
1972  Anokhi Pehchan    
1972  Aan Baan  Rekha  
1972  Aankhon Aankhon Mein  Parvati  
1973  Heera Panna  Roma  
1973  Daag  Chandni  
1973  Blackmail  Asha Mehta  
1973  Banarasi Babu  Neela  
1973  Joshila  Sapna  
1974  Pagli    
1974  27 Down  Shalini  
1975  Mere Sajna  Kammo  
1975  Angaarey  Shobha  
1976  Tapasya  Indrani Sinha "Indu"  
1976  Kabhi Kabhie  Pooja Khanna  
1977  Doosra Aadmi  Nisha  
1978  Trishna  Aarti S. Gupta  
1978  Kasme Vaade  Suman  
1978  Trishul  Geeta  
1978  Muqaddar Ka Sikandar  Kaamna  
1979  Hamare Tumhare  Maya  
1979  Jurmana  Rama Sharma  
1979  Kaala Patthar  Dr. Sudha Sen  
1980  Lootmaar  Raksha Bhagat  
1980  Aanchal  Shanti  
1980  Hum Kadam  Indu Gupta  
1980  Shaan  Sheetal Kumar  
1981  Rocky  Parvati  
1981  Chameli Memsaab    Bengali film
1981  Laawaris  Vidya  
1981  Dhuaan  Rani Gayatri Saxena  
1981  Barsaat Ki Ek Raat  Rajni  
1981  Anusandhan  Rajni  Bengali film
1981  Baseraa  Sharda Balraj Kohli  
1981  Shradhanjali  Shraddha  
1982  Yeh Vaada Raha  Mrs. Sharda Rai Bahadur  
1982  Taaqat  Devi  
1982  Shriman Shrimati  Parvatidevi  
1982  Bemisal  Kavita Chaturvedi (Sakhi)  
1982  Dil Aakhir Dil Hai  Kusum Desai  
1982  Shakti  Sheetal  
1983  Bandhan Kuchchey Dhaagon Ka  Bhavna  
1984  Zindagi Jeene Ke Liye    
1984  Paroma  Paroma  Bengali film
1984  Anand Aur Anand  Mrs. Arun Anand  
1984  Zameen Aasmaan  Kavita  
1985  Pighalta Aasman  Arti  
1985  Saaheb  Sujata Sharma  
1986  Zindagani  Sumitra Devi  
1987  Muqaddar Ka Faisla  Laxmi  
1987  Dacait  Devi Choudhrain  
1988  Mere Baad    
1988  Falak  Durga Verma  
1989  Ram Lakhan  Mrs. Sharda Pratap Singh  
1989  Santosh  Rachna  
1990  Jeevan Ek Sangharsh  Dharam Verma  
1991  Saugandh  Ganga  
1991  Pratikar  Saraswati Devi  
1993  Rudaali  Bhikni/Euli  
1993  Pratimurti    
1993  Khal Nayak  Mrs. Aarti Prasad  
1993  Kshatriya  Maheshwari Devi  
1993  Dil Ki Baazi  Nirmaladevi  
1993  Anari  Savitri  
1993  Baazigar  Mrs. Shobha Sharma  
1994  Phiriye Dao  Arjun's mother  Bengali film
1995  Karan Arjun  Durga Singh  
1995  Kismat  Geeta  
1997  Border  Dharamvir's mother  
1997  Jeevan Yudh Mrs. Rai  
1997  Ankhon Mein Tum Ho  Ranimaa (Mrs. Burman)  
1998  Sham Ghansham  Ganga Satyadev Singh  
1998  Barood  Gayetri Sharma  
1998  Soldier  Geeta Malhotra  
1999  Baadshah  Chief Minister Gayatri Bachchan  
2001  Ek Rishtaa: The Bond of Love  Pratima Kapoor  
2003  Talaash: The Hunt Begins  Purnima  
2003  Dil Ka Rishta  Mrs. Sharma  
2003  Shubho Mahurat   Ranga Pishima  Bengali film

Awards and Nominations

Won

  • 1973 - Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress for "Daag: A Poem of Love"
  • 1973 - BFJA Award, Best Supporting Actress (Hindi) for "Daag: A Poem of Love"
  • 1974 - National Film Award, special souvenir for her role in "27 Down"
  • 1976 - Filmfare Award for Best Actress for "Tapasya"
  • 1984 - BFJA Award, Best Actress for "Parama"
  • 1989 - Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress for "Ram Lakhan"
  • 2003 - National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress for the Bengali film "Shubho Mahurat"
  • 2003 - Padma Shri Award

Nominated

  • 1972 - Filmfare Nomination as Best Actress for "Aankhon Aankhon Mein"
  • 1976 - Filmfare Nomination as Best Actress for "Kabhie Kabhie"
  • 1977 - Filmfare Nomination as Best Actress for "Doosra Aadmi"
  • 1977 - Filmfare Nomination as Best Supporting Actress for "Doosra Aadmi"
  • 1978 - Filmfare Nomination as Best Actress for "Trishna"
  • 1979 - Filmfare Nomination as Best Actress for "Jurmana"
  • 1981 - Filmfare Nomination as Best Actress for "Baseraa"
  • 1983 - Filmfare Nomination as Best Actress for "Shakti"
  • 1985 - Filmfare Nomination as Best Supporting Actress for "Saaheb"
  • 1993 - Filmfare Nomination as Best Supporting Actress for "Anari"
  • 1995 - Filmfare Nomination as Best Supporting Actress for "Karan Arjun"
  • 1997 - Filmfare Nomination as Best Supporting Actress for "Border"
  • 1998 - Filmfare Nomination as Best Supporting Actress for "Soldier"


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