Recalling this phase, Rekha was later quoted as saying (Reacting to it, many years later, she said, "I'm healed, I am not bitter anymore, I don't think I ever was."), Bombay was like a jungle, and I had walked in unarmed.
I was totally ignorant of the ways of this new world.
Guys did try and take advantage of my vulnerability. I should be in school, having an ice-cream, fun with my friends, why am I even forced to work, deprived of normal things that a child should be doing at my age?
Throughout her career, she has often played strong female characters and, apart from mainstream cinema, appeared in arthouse films, known in India as parallel cinema.
She has won three Filmfare Awards, two for Best Actress and one for Best Supporting Actress, for her roles in Khubsoorat (1980), Khoon Bhari Maang (1988) and Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi (1996), respectively.
She is an alumna of the popular Mount Fort convent for girls in Yercaud, Tamil Nadu. It was in early 1970s, when she was looking for a footing in Bollywood, that she revealed her origins.
Later, at the peak of her career, Rekha told a magazine interviewer that her father's neglect still rankled and that she had ignored his efforts at reconciliation.
Dinesh Raheja from Rediff, in an article discussing her career, remarked, "Ghar heralded the arrival of a mature Rekha.
Her archetypal jubilance was replaced by her very realistic portrayal..." In that same year, she attained fame with Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, in which she co-starred once again with Amitabh Bachchan.
In 1980, Rekha appeared in the comedy Khubsoorat, directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, with whom she had developed a strong father-daughter bond during their previous collaborations.
In a role written specially for her, she played Manju Dayal, a young vivacious woman who visits her recently married sister at her in-law's house and tries to bring joy to the wide family, much to the displeasure of the matriarch of the household.
Her portrayal of a classical courtesan in Umrao Jaan (1981) won her the National Film Award for Best Actress.