Rekha made her first public appearance as a child artist in the Telugu film Rangula Ratnam (1966). Goadalli CID 999, a Kannada film was her first film in which she played the lead role of heroine. She worked in a number of Telugu, Kannada and Hindi films. Her Hindi film Sawan Bhadon was a major hit in the box office. This film brought her stardom overnight. After that, she was offered plenty of roles, but most of the roles demanded her to be portrayed as a glamour girl.
She did a number of films, some of which were very successful. To name a few, we have Kahani Kismat Ki, Raampur Ka Lakshman, and Pran Jaaye Par Vachan Na Jaaye. She got her first serious role in 1976, when she was signed for 'Do Anjaane' with Amitabh Bachchan. After that, she was offered lot of challenging roles of different genre and she took up the challenge and proved her worth. Muqaddar Ka Sikandar brought a lot of name and fame. Then, she kept climbing the ladders of success.