Veteran actor Waheeda Rehman will turn 83 on her birthday on February 3, 2021. The actor has been one of the prominent and evergreen celebrities in Bollywood who not just mesmerized the audience with her luminous looks but also great acting and dancing skills. As the beloved star from yesteryear turns a year older, let's dive into the lesser-known facts about her life.
Waheeda Rehman aspired to be a doctor and never intended to be an actor. After her father’s demise, she had to let go of her dream of getting a medical license and began to use her dancing talent in Regional Films. She appeared in a Telugu film Rojulu Marayi in 1955.
She came to Bollywood by pure chance when the cinema legend Guru Dutt came to visit Hyderabad for a Telugu film’s premiere in which 16-year-old Rehman was facing the camera for the first time. She impressed him by her screen presence and Dutt gave her invitation to Mumbai.
After Waheeda came to Mumbai, she was given a role in the movie CID which was directed by Guru Dutt’s chief assistant Raj Khosla. She starred alongside Dev Anand in lead roles.
Waheeda Rehman married her co-star Shashi Rekhi in 1974. They have two children together named Sohail and Kashvi. They were both well-known writers of the film industry. Waheeda lost her husband in 2000 after he succumbed to a prolonged illness.
Waheeda is a versatile actress who has played various characters alongside Amitabh Bachchan. Rehman has played his Sister-in-law in Film Reshma aur Sheera. Then she played his love interest in Adalat and also his mother in Trishul.
Waheeda Rehman and Dev Anand were a part of the blockbuster Guide, which had been loosely based on one of R. K. Narayan’s novels. It was first made in English, and then in Hindi.
The iconic actress has been honored with four government awards. Initially, she was given the National Award for best actress for her film Reshma Aur Sheera in 1971. She was awarded Padma Shri in 1972 and was awarded the NTR National Award in 2006. In the year 2011, she was awarded the Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian award of the country by former President of India Pratibha Patil.
Waheeda Rehman was nominated nine times in Filmfare awards in which she has won twice. In 1965 she won the Filmfare award for Best Actress for her film Guide and she won the same award in 1968 for her film Neel Kamal. In 1994 she was awarded the Lifetime Achievement award by Filmfare
Way before Kellogg’s became a household name for breakfast cereal, Waheeda’s Farmhouse Cereal was already a well-known brand in the country. It was owned by Waheeda and her friend during the time. Waheeda is also known to be a great cook. She makes sevaiyyas on the occasion of Eid which has become popular over the years.
Dev Anand was already a big star when she made her debut with him in CID. Dev Anand was known to be a heartthrob for girls back then. On the first day at the film set, Waheeda said "Good Morning Mr. Anand" and Dev Anand was surprised with the formal greeting. Dev Anand insisted that she would stop being formal with him because that would affect their chemistry in the film. It took a lot of effort on Dev Anand's part to her finally calling her Dev.
Although the actress has been a part of several films over the years, her first notable work was in the film Pyasa in 1957. In 1968 her film Neel Kamal was a huge hit followed by another blockbuster in the same year called Aadmi. Her other popular films are Kaagaz Ke Phool, Teesri Kasam, Baat Ek Raat Ki, and many more.
After her father’s demise, Waheeda had to bid adieu to her lifelong ambition to become a doctor and she ventured into acting. She lost her mother in the same year she was offered her debut Bollywood film CID by Guru Dutt.
Waheeda has always been fond of wildlife and always wanted to visit Africa. After decades of on-screen performances, the actress is now spending time pursuing other hobbies. She had been practicing wildlife photography and even hosted an exhibition showcasing her photography skills.
Apart from acting Rehman is also a philanthropist. She is an advocate for children's education and is an ambassador for Rang De, an organization combating poverty in India. In 2018 she participated in charity Gala by Pratham, an American Indian Foundation, and raised over $100,000 at a gala dinner for the cause of children's education in India
Waheeda Rehman has a biography book called Conversations With Waheeda Rehman that was published in 2014. The book consists of interviews by the author of the book and director Nasreen Munni Kabir. It has details of her personal triumphs and tribulations and was called a ‘remarkable book’ by Vogue.
Image courtesy- Still from YouTube Video of Neel Kamal
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