Waheeda Rehman, the recipient of the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, discusses her path from Rojulu Maray to The Song of Scorpions

An examination of Waheeda Rehman’s development from a dancer in a Telugu film to the major role in Guru Dutt’s film, among other things.

Waheeda Rehman | Legendary Actor Waheeda Rehman to receive esteemed Dadasaheb  Phalke award

According to Tuesday’s announcement by Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur, actor Waheeda Rehman would get the Dadasaheb Phalke award this year. Waheeda entered the entertainment industry in the 1950s and is still one of the most mysterious stage performers today. Here is a glance at her career trajectory.


Waheeda Rehman started her film career with working in Telugu films. A  trained dancer, she is seen here during her one of the first song sequences  "Eruvaaka Sagaroranno Chinnanna", from the film Rojulu Marayi (1955).
(waheeda Rehman in :Rojulu Marayi)

In the book Conversations with Waheeda, Waheeda revealed to Nasreen Munni Kabir that she had a young father who had passed away and that when she was 17 her mother wanted her to be married even though she did not want to.

“I enjoyed the notion of working and didn’t want to get married. What, then, could I do? She remembered how Telugu movie producer CV Ramakrishna Prasad gave her the opportunity to star in her first film, Rojulu Marayi, saying, “I didn’t have much of an education, so how was I supposed to find a job?” It was difficult to persuade her mother, and she finally agreed when she was requested to go on sets with her daughter. Waheeda was only intended to dance for her debut performance.


Waheeda rehman with guru Dutt
(Waheeda rehman with Guru Dutt)

Waheeda recalled her first encounter with Guru Dutt and how he helped her break into Hindi film in an interview she gave to Hindustan Times in 2012. Waheeda’s performance during the jubilee celebrations tour for the success of Rojulu Marayi in Hyderabad drew a sizable crowd, which prompted Guru Dutt to meet with her and invite her to Bombay for a test.

Guru Dutt then signed her on a salary basis for three films even though she didn’t try out or undergo testing for the production company. The first one to be released was CID, which starred Waheeda and Dev Anand and became an instant hit.

Waheeda successfully delayed her first contract in Bollywood for a few days by insisting that a clause be included before signing it. She wanted to make sure she had the freedom to turn down costumes she didn’t like.


The Romance and Mystique of Waheeda Rehman in Chaudhvin ka Chand
(waheeda Rehmaan in Chaudhvin ka chand)

After CID, Waheeda continued to have success with movies like Guide, Pyaasa, Chaudhvin Ka Chand, Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam, and Teesri Kasam. She appeared in the popular thriller Neel Kamal, the horror movie Kohraa, and the comedy Ram Aur Shyam in addition to the romantic and emotional dramas.


Waheeda continues to perform in a variety of films that properly exhibit her acting and dancing abilities after the commercial success of her debut flicks.

For Reshma Aur Shera, she won her first National Film Award in 1971. Since then, she has appeared in movies like Kabhi Kabhie, Chandni, Lamhe, Trishul, Namak Halaal, and most recently Rang De Basanti and Delhi 6. She also appeared in the most recent movie directed by Irrfan Khan. Waheeda played an elderly tribal woman in Anup Singh’s The Song of Scorpions, which hit theaters earlier this year and purported to be able to heal scorpion bite victims simply by singing to them. Waheeda performed songs for the movie.


She also claimed in the book that Raj Khosla had once advised her to change her name because it is too long, but she insisted she wouldn’t change a name her parents had given her. Change your name, Raj had instructed her. The use of screen names by actors is customary. Meena Kumari is actually Mahjabeen Bano, Madhubala is Mumtaz Jahan, and Nargis is actually Fatima. Yusuf Khan is Dilip Kumar’s real name. Everyone now goes by a different name. And Waheeda simply answered, “I am not everyone,” according to the book Conversations with Waheeda.


Waheeda Rehman Wins India's Highest Film Honor, Dadasaheb Phalke Award

Actress Waheeda Rehman was born in India on February 3, 1938. She is regarded as one of Hindi cinema’s most outstanding actresses, and among her honors are three Filmfare Awards and a National Film Award. The Indian government awarded Rehman the Padma Shri in 1972 and the Padma Bhushan in 2011. In a career spanning more than five decades, she has appeared in more than 90 films.

Rojulu Marayi, a Telugu film from 1955, was Rehman’s cinema debut. She then gained notoriety through her work with Guru Dutt on the romantic dramas Pyaasa (1957), Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959), the musical romance Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1960), and the drama Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962). The romantic drama Guide (1965), for which Rehman received the Filmfare Award for Best Actress, was another hit for her. She received nominations for her parts in the comedies Ram Aur Shyam (1967) and Khamoshi (1969), as well as another award for her work in the romantic thriller Neel Kamal (1968).

She was honored with the National Film Award for Best Actress in 1971 for her work as a clanswoman in the criminal drama Reshma Aur Shera. Rehman has mainly played supporting roles since the early 1970s. He has acted in a variety of films, including the masala films Namak Halaal (1982) and Mashaal (1984), the romantic dramas Kabhi Kabhie (1976), Chandni (1989), and Lamhe (1991), the family drama Trishul (1978), the social drama Namkeen (1982), the social dramas Rang De Basanti (2006), and Delhi 6 (2009). She received the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994, and she has since intermittently worked in the industry.

Rehman has a second profession as a philanthropist in addition to acting. She supports education and serves as an ambassador for Rang De, a group against poverty in India.

Leave a comment