Rakhee Gulzar

Rakhee Gulzar (Bengali: রাখী গুলজার), (born Rakhee Majumdar on 15 August 1947 and widely known as Rakhee) is an Indian film actress[1] who has appeared in many Hindi films and Bengali films as well.[2] 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 second most-nominated performer in the female categories, behind Rani Mukerji. She debuted in the Bengali film Bodhu Boron in 1967 with Geeta Dutta in the lead role. Her first Hindi film was Jeevan Mrityu in 1970.

Rakhee Gulzar
Gulzar in 2012
Rakhee Majumdar

(1947-08-15) 15 August 1947
Years active1967–present
Ajay Biswas
(m. 1963; div. 1965)

Gulzar (m. 1973)
ChildrenMeghna Gulzar
HonorsPadma Shri

Early life

Rakhee was born in a Bengali family at Ranaghat in the Nadia district of 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 afterwards.

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


In 1967, the 20-year-old Rakhee (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), Kabhie 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 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).

In 2003 she appeared in Rituparno Ghosh directed film Shubho Mahurat for which she won the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress.

In one of her interviews, she said in 2012 that her favourite co-star among her heroes were Rajesh Khanna and Shashi Kapoor.[5]

In 2019 Kolkata International Film Festival the film Nirbon directed by Goutam Halder was premiered, where Rakhee portrayed the role of Bijolibala, a seventy years old lady with a strong conviction. “Doing films is not on my agenda right now, but the story fascinated me” Rakhee said about the adaptation of Moti Nandi’s novel Bijolibalar Mukti. [6]

Rakhee Gulzar has diverse experiences in a wide range of activities she has been associated with in the film industry. In many occasions she extended her contributions beyond acting and delved into various other field of activities, some of which are listed below: 1998 - Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha - Costume Designer 1999 - Dil Kya Kare - Dress Assistant In 1982 she lent her voice for the film Taaqat in the song Teri nindiya ko lag jaye aag re sung in duet with Kishore Kumar.

Personal life

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.[7] 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,[8] and authored a biography of her father in 2004.[9]

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.[10][11]

“My mother has lived her professional and personal life with tremendous dignity and grace.” said Meghna Gulzar, daughter of Rakhee, in an interview.[12]. Presently she lives in recluse in her farmhouse at Panvel, spending time in tending to a huge flock of animals, growing vegetables and reading books.[13]

Awards and nominations



  1. "Rakhee Gulzar is Unrecognizable as She Makes a Rare Public Appearance". News18. Archived from the original on 4 July 2018. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  2. "Biography for Rakhee Gulzar". Archived from the original on 17 April 2017. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  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. Archived from the original on 9 July 2018. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  6. "Rakhee Gulzar interview: 'My reward is when people come up to me even now and say they recognise me'". 7 November 2019. Retrieved 11 November 2019.
  7. "Raakhee and Gulzar's love story". The Times of India. 16 September 2013. Archived from the original on 30 December 2016. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  8. "Women directors scale Bollywood". BBC News. 21 February 2002. Archived from the original on 6 June 2004. Retrieved 29 June 2015.
  9. "On the Shelf". Indian Express. 11 January 2004.
  10. "Bipasha to rebuild home to suit her 'energy'". Sify.com. 2 July 2008. Archived from the original on 24 April 2015. Retrieved 29 June 2015.
  11. Dasgupta, Priyanka (24 February 2009). "Rakhee-Meghna delight on Gulzar's win". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 25 October 2012. Retrieved 29 June 2015.
  12. Mukherjee, Shreya (30 July 2018). "Meghna Gulzar on parents Rakhee and Gulzar: I learned dignity from my mother and simplicity from my father". Retrieved 11 November 2019.
  13. De, Hemchhaya (28 October 2018). "The life and times of Rakhee Gulzar". Retrieved 11 November 2019.
  14. "37th Annual BFJA Awards". BFJA. Archived from the original on 22 April 2008. Retrieved 23 February 2011.
  15. 21st National Film Awards Archived 28 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  16. "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived (PDF) from the original on 15 November 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
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