Reena Roy

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 higher-paid actresses of her time. She was known for playing glamorous and strong female-oriented roles. She is the recipient of a Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress, for her performance in film Apnapan (1977), and has received nominations for Filmfare Best Actress Award for Nagin (1976) and Aasha (1980).

Reena Roy
Roy in 2018
Saira Ali

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

Early life and background

Reena Roy was born Saira Ali, the third daughter of Sadiq Ali, a small-time actor and Sharda Rai, who acted in film Bawre Nain and later produced the film Gunehgar Kaun. She has three siblings who all disowned their father after the parents divorced. Her mother renamed all the four children after the divorce. When she was a newcomer in the industry she was considered as the daughter of actress Asha Parekh and director Nasir Hussain. She was renamed Roopa Rai, which was changed to Reena Roy by the producer of her first film, Zaroorat.[1] She started acting in films in her 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

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.

1976 was the year that gave Reena her major breakthrough with Nagin and Kalicharan. 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 for their performances, and became a famous team on and off screen. Subhash Ghai's Vishwanath (1978), another blockbuster thriller, established them as a hit-pair. The press also publicized their off-screen relationship, which ended when Shatrughan married his long time girlfriend Poonam Sinha in 1981.

Rubbishing rumours of an affair, Reena Roy also acted in several films with Sunil Dutt. The success 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. 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). Reena's appearance with Jeetendra in marital dramas such as Badaltey Rishtey (1978) and Pyaasa Sawan (1982) also set her career soaring. The duo produced three classics of their respective careers 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] The role was similar to what Meryl Streep would portray 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 was 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 one of the higher-paid actresses of the 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, both playing diametrically opposite roles, such as Nagin (1976), Jaani Dushman (1979), Prem Tapasya (1983) and Asha Jyoti (1984) and Karmayogi (1978). Reena played second fiddle to Queen Bee Hema Malini in several movies like Bhagavat, Naseeb, Andha Kanoon, Hum Dono and Raaj Tilak. Asha Parekh, Parveen Babi and Sulakshana Pandit co-starred with her in several multi-starrers. After being overshadowed by Moushumi Chatterjee in Pyaasa Sawan and Shabana Azmi in Jwalamukhi, she avoided working with them.

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. Jwalamukhi where she replaced Parveen Babi and looked jaded and ill-fit for the role, was one of their biggest flops together.

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

She acted with Amitabh Bachchan in Punjabi films Sat Sri Akal (1977) and Vilayati Babu (1981). She was never cast as his romantic lead in Hindi films though. She played the role of Amitabh Bachchan's foster sister in Manmohan Desai's multi starrer Naseeb, where she was again paired with her then beau Shatrughan Sinha.

Reena Roy gave stiff competition to Hema Malini and Rekha for the No.1 position in the early 1980s. In 1982, she had thirteen releases, more than any other actress. According to she had the most successful year in 1982 with 8 major grossers. According to boxofficeIndia she had the most hits along with Hema Malini. Her characters became more versatile, as did her dances. She danced the classical 'natyam' in Rocky (1981)), just as easily as the "Disco Station" number in Hathkadi (1982). She was the sophisticated city model in Karishma (1984) and the rustic village girl in Dharam Kanta (1982). She met the challenging demands of her double role in the Muslim social Ladies Tailor (1981) acting 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. The role of a tormented daughter-in-law in Sau Din Saas Ke (1980), who defies convention and opposes her mother-in-law. The author-backed role in Bezubaan (1982), the portrayal of a woman whose past returns to threaten her married life (though her poor dress sense got her some brickbats). In Lakshmi (1982), an unfortunate tawaif, who dances her way to never-ending tragedies. While this film her home production, failed at the box office, she was successful with her other one — the musical Sanam Teri Kasam (1982), opposite Kamal Hassan and produced by her sister Barkha Roy.

Her last films as heroine were Inteha with Raj Babbar and J.P. Dutta's blockbuster Ghulami, where she was paired with Dharmendra.

Personal life

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).) 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 of 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


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