Bollywood Legends - Reena Roy
The current thaw in Indo- Pak relations sends our minds to the times, when the ravishing Reena—at a high point in her career – decided to marry Mohsin Khan – a famed Pakistani batsman. Reena had specially flown down to Jalandhar to see the heroics of her fiancée on the crease. But unfortunately for her, Kapil Dev bundled him out on the maiden delivery. The stung and stunned Reena, rushed out of the pavilion to go home at the first available flight. Perhaps this act of hers was quite ominous of the actual love story that was to unfold later.
She was in and out of the marriage with him, in batting of an eyelid – but not before the unsuccessful matrimony had made a sea change in their lives. The marriage gave them a daughter and marked their exit from respective professions. Once having lost foothold, Reena Roy could never make it to the top of the popularity charts. Anyway much had been accomplished by ‘Reena’ till then -- to put her in hall of celebrity hood forever.
Reena began her career with a voluptuous role in a film Zaroorat in 1972. Another five years of unremarkable filmmaking followed till Raj Kumar Kohli’s ‘Nagin’ made her a top-notch heroine – a status for which every aspiring actress aspires for. A supernatural drama where a female snake returns to inflict revenge upon her wrong doers, Nagin won her a Filmfare award for the best actress. This was followed by another horror flick ‘Jaani Dushman’ with Sanjiv Kumar. From then on Reena’s name and fame grew with each and every film she did. Though debatable, but it can be said that melodramatic Aasha saw Reena put best foot forward. The strains of ”Sheesha Ho Ya Dil Ho”— immortalised Reena and her name became synonymous with Aasha. The song served as a prelude to her own tragic love story.
Meanwhile her off and on screen pairing with Shatrugan had become talk of the town. Kalicharan and Vishwanath released in succession -worked wonders for both the ‘Bihari Babu’ and Reena Roy. She was equally successful with Jeetendra in marital dramas like Badaltey Rishtey (1978) and Pyaasa Sawan (1982). This in fact was the most prolific part of her career. She became a matinee idol as the most acclaimed directors of the day lined up to sign her for their films. Manmohan Desai’s blockbuster Naseeb saw her opposite Amitabh Bachan. And never for a moment could the towering Bachchan overshadow her in the entire film. And then there were other films done in different genres, which need mention like Sanam Teri Kasam with versatile Kamal Hassan, Inteha where she is raped by a debauched Raj Babbar, JP Dutta’s Ghulami; family dramas like Lakshmi and Bezubaan -- and no where was she found lacking histrionics.
It was at the acme of her film career when Mohsin Khan happened. She left industry to stay with him in Pakistan. But soon the couple realised that they were not made for each other. The embattled couple tried their best to save the marriage. But the apocalyptic matrimony not only saw a sad ending, but also took away the careers of both its protagonists. The marriage ended. Reena had lost her status in Bollywood and Khan was given the boot from ‘Team Pakistan’. The law bequeathed the custody of the girl child to the father.
Smitten by the harsh realities, Reena again made an attempt at resurrection. The strong currents of time had left her psyche battered and bruised. Her every venture to evoke the charisma of yesteryears met with failure. Later she consciously went away from the spotlight. It was like seeking a voluntary retirement from a profession, where sometimes you walk, with work in your hands to your grave.