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Meet Kollywood actress and Rekha’s mother who captured hearts but never tied the knot with her love of life

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Pushpavalli, a legend of South Indian cinema, graced the silver screen with her unparalleled talent and grace. While her name may not be as familiar as her daughter’s, the Bollywood star Rekha, Pushpavalli’s influence on the industry is undeniable. Born to South Indian superstars Gemini Ganeshan and Pushpavalli, Rekha’s lineage was written for cinematic greatness. But Gemini Ganeshan never walked on the aisle with Pushpavalli, according to media reports. Pushpavalli became the mother of two kids with Gemini Ganeshan out of marriage. 

The transition of South Indian actresses to Bollywood and their subsequent success has become commonplace in the entertainment industry. From iconic figures like Sridevi, Tabu, Jaya Prada, and Hema Malini to contemporary talents like Rashmika Mandanna, many have ascended to the top echelons of Bollywood.

Rumors suggest that Sai Pallavi, renowned for her role in Premam, will portray Sita in Nitesh Tiwari‘s retelling of the Ramayana. However, it’s noteworthy to remember that the portrayal of Sita in Indian cinema dates back to 1936, with Pushpavalli, the mother of Rekha, being the first actress to embody the character in Sampoorna Ramayana. She got a salary of 300 rupees for that movie. 

The enduring love story of Pushpavalli and Gemini Ganeshan

Pushpavalli was a busy star in Tamil and Telugu cinema. Her path crossed with Gemini Ganeshan during the filming of Miss Malini.  It was Gemini Ganesan’s first movie. Miss Malini didn’t work at the box office but Pushpavalli was critically acclaimed for her performance. Pushpavalli and Gemini Ganesan’s on-screen chemistry evolved into a real-life romance, even though Gemini, bound by marriage, couldn’t commit fully, and Pushpavalli herself was living separately from her husband. 

Despite the hurdles, their love endured, resulting in the birth of Rekha, who, alongside her sister Radha. Despite his relationship with Pushpavalli, Gemini Ganeshan married Savitri, a renowned actress in 1952. Pushpavalli died in the year of 1991 which marked the end of a tumultuous yet remarkable chapter in Indian cinema’s history.

The parallel paths of Pushpavalli and Rekha: Dreams, tragedy, and independence

Pushpavalli’s hopes for her daughter Rekha were high—she dreamed of her achieving great things. And Rekha certainly did, becoming a beloved and celebrated star in the film world. However, Rekha’s journey in marriage took a tragic turn, much like her mother’s experiences. Her first marriage ended abruptly. Since then, Rekha has chosen to live independently, charting her own course just like her mother Pushpavalli.

ALSO READ: Did you know Savitri asked Gemini Ganesan to accept Rekha as his child? Watch deleted scene from Mahanati

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