Divya Kapoorwrote on Aug 20 2008 6:14PM
Roopa Rai, now known as Reena Roy, was born on 7 January 1957, in Bombay. She came from a broken home, a Muslim father and Hindu mother, who separated after having four children together. Reena is their third child, and she started films in her early teens to support her mother and siblings.
Reena Roy got her first offer from B.R.Ishara to star opposite newcomer Danny Denzongpa in his film Nayi Duniya Naye Log, but that got shelved temporarily. He then got her to do his film Zaroorat (1972) which marked her debut in Bollywood, alongside Danny and Vijay Arora. After a couple of flops, Reena starred in the hit film Jaise Ko Taisa (1973), starring opposite Jeetendra. By then even Nayi Duniya Naye Log (1973) had released. Then came a few more flops viz. Madhosh (1974), Vardaan (1975), Apne Dushman (1975) and Barood (1976). Finally she earned two hits with Nagin (1976) starring Sunil Dutt and Rekha, and Kalicharan (1976) Subhash Ghai’s directorial debut, both doing extremely well. She then became one of the top heroines during that period. Zakhmee (1975) starring Sunil Dutt and Vishwanath (1978) starring Shatrughan Sinha were big hits. Her other films like Jaani Dushman (1979), Muqabla (1979), Badle Ki Aag (1982), Raaj Tilak (1984) which were directed by Raj Kumar Kohli, were massive hits too. Reena's chemistry with Jeetendra in marital dramas like Badaltey Rishtey (1978) and Pyaasa Sawan (1982) enhanced her career-graph. The duo produced three of their greatest classics together - Apnapan (1977), Aasha (1980) and Arpan (1983). Reena's poignant dance in Aasha to the melody of ‘Sheesha ho ya dil ho…’ is remembered even today. Some films like Paapi (1977), Kashish (1978), Yari Dushmani (1980), Kachche Heere (1982) and few others had flopped. Reena gave some critically acclaimed performances in Dhanwan (1981) starring Rajesh Khanna, Jail Yatra (1981) starring Vinod Khanna, Naukar Biwi Ka (1983) starring Dharmendra. She even stole the show in Naseeb (1981) which was a multi-starrer. Sau Din Saas Ke (1980) and Rocky (1981) were hits too. In 1982, Reena had thirteen releases among which Haathkadi, Bhagavat, Sanam Teri Kasam, Main Intequam Loonga, Dharam Kanta and a couple of others had done well. Bezubaan (1982) and Lakshmi (1982) won her huge appreciation. Andha Kanoon (1983) became a hit as well. Reena was also good in Ladies Tailor (1981) and Karishmaa (1984). She even stole the show from Rekha in films like Prem Tapasya (1983) and Asha Jyoti (1984). Inteha (1984) and Ghulami (1985) are among her other popular films. Reena then had a few flops in Kali Basti (1985), Mangal Dada (1986), Do Waqt Ki Roti (1988). Aadmi Khilona Hai (1993) was the comeback vehicle for Reena into the industry, which was an average affair. She then starred in few films like Janam Kundli (1995), Kalyug Ke Avtaar (1995), Rajkumar (1996), Ajay (1996), Gair (1999), all of which flopped. Her last film was Refugee (2000) starring Abhishek Bachchan and Kareena Kapoor, which was also average.
In 1983, at the peak of her fame, Reena Roy decided to quit films to marry Pakistani cricketer, Mohsin Khan. Her husband tried to become a film star in Bollywood but failed. Reena got divorced later, and initially lost custody of her daughter Jannat. However, after her ex-husband remarried a younger woman who didn't want to raise a child, Reena regained custody and changed her daughter’s name to Sanam. Reena and her sister Barkha decided to open an acting school in 2004. She has also ventured out into politics.