Veteran Actor Waheeda Rahman in conversation with RSTV’s anchor Irfan in Guftagoo. Waheeda Rehman, started her career in films in 1954 and her first successful films were the Telugu films Jayasimha (1955), Rojulu Marayi (1955) and Tamil film Kaalam Maari Pochu (1956).
In the success party of Rojulu Maaraayi, Guru Dutt noticed her and decided to groom her and have her act in Hindi films. Waheeda considered Guru Dutt as her mentor. Dutt brought her to Bombay (now Mumbai) and cast as a vamp in his production C.I.D. (1956), directed by Raj Khosla. A few years after joining the Hindi film industry, she lost her mother. After the success of C.I.D., Dutt gave her a leading role in Pyaasa (1957). Their next venture together, Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959), depicted the story of a successful director’s decline after he falls for his leading lady. Dutt’s existing marriage and her film successes with other directors caused them to drift apart personally and professionally, although they continued to work together into the 1960s (Chaudhvin Ka Chand). She completed Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962) under some strain. They broke away from each other after its indifferent reception at the Berlin Film Festival in 1963. Soon afterward, Guru Dutt died on 10 October 1964 in Mumbai reportedly from an overdose of sleeping pills and alcohol.
Waheeda Rehman established a great working relationship with Dev Anand, and together as a pair had number of successful films to their credit. The box office hits of the pair include C.I.D. (1956), Solva Saal (1958), Kala Bazar (1960), Baat Ek Raat Ki (1962) and Guide (1965); box office duds were Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja (1961) and Prem Pujari (1970). She reached her peak with Guide (1965) and was much in demand. Rehman was cast as “Gulabi” in Satyajit Ray’s Bengali film Abhijan in 1962. She worked in comedy film Girl Freind in 1960 with Kishore Kumar. She was offered lead actress’s role in films even opposite actors junior to her by experience like Dharmendra, but they flopped. But she continued to taste success in the late sixties when she was paired with well established stars. She delivered hits opposite Dilip Kumar like Ram Aur Shyam, Aadmi and some box office duds but critically acclaimed films with Rajendra Kumar – Palki, Dharti and Shatranj ; this helped her continue to get lead roles in the early seventies. Her career’s biggest hit Khamoshi came in 1970, opposite Rajesh Khanna.
Her career continued throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. She won the Filmfare Best Actress Award for her roles in Guide (1965), where she hit the peak of her career, and Neel Kamal (1968), but despite excellent offbeat roles in subsequent films, including a National Award winning performance in Reshma Aur Shera (1971), some of the films failed at the box office. Seeing her films being successful, Waheeda decided to experiment with roles at this stage of career. She accepted Reshma Aur Shera, opposite her old co-star Sunil Dutt, with whom she had previously in the sixties had hits like Ek Phool Char Kaante, Mujhe Jeene Do, Meri Bhabhi and Darpan. Her performance was appreciated by critics, but the film failed at the box office. But Waheeda continued to experiment with roles and accepted the offer to play a mother to Jaya Bhaduri in Phagun(1973). This she regards the mistake of her career as after this film flopped suddenly people started offering her motherly roles to heroes.
From the mid seventies, Waheeda’s career as lead heroine ended and her career as character actor began. At around this time, Kamaljit, who starred opposite her in Shagun (1964), proposed and they got married in 1974. After her appearance in Lamhe (1991), she retired from the film industry for 12 years.
In her new innings from seventies her successful films, where she played pivotal roles include, Kabhi Kabhie (1976),Trishul (1978), Jwalamukhi(1980), Namkeen and Namak Halaal (1982),Mashaal (1984), Chandni(1989), Rang De Basanti(2006).
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