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  • She Says

“I will always be Waheeda Rehman.”

  • IWB Post
  •  January 24, 2015


When Waheeda Rehman comes to your city, you expect unsaid stories from the world of glamour told by a woman. A woman who has always been introvert and speaks very less about personal things. Waheeda was the guest speaker at JLF day 2 in conversation with Nasreen Munni Kabir, who has written Waheeda’s only biography. The session was named ‘Mujhe Jeene Do’. Interesting!

Waheeda Rehman at the launch of her biography with Nasreen Munni Kabir

Waheeda Rehman at the launch of her biography with Nasreen Munni Kabir

Breaking the perception.

“Rosie was my first bold role in cinema. It was unconventional if compared to the perception we have for an Indian wife. I was selfish wife, which was bold 45 yrs ago in Bollywood.” 

Waheeda was smitten too.

“I was a fan of Dev sahib. I was like ‘ OMG, I am doing a film with him’.”

Waheeda Rehman at the launch

Waheeda Rehman at the launch

The name Waheeda has a story.

“Guru Dutt noticed me and offered me a film. I was a minor, so my mother accompanied me everywhere. I was asked to change my name to match the fashion and needs of the glamour world. That was disappointing. Guru Dutt said my name had no sex appeal. But I strictly denied.  After all, I love my name and it was given by my parents. He was a little furious seeing me arguing with him. I don’t care if they show my name as Waheeda on screen; I will always be Waheeda Rehman.” 

Jaipur Women Blog got a chance to interact with this timeless personality. Below are the excerpts from our conversation with her:

JWB – Till what extent a woman should sacrifice, like you wanted to be a doctor but you couldn’t.

Waheeda Rehman: My father expired when I was too small. Because of circumstances, I had to opt for acting.  But since I got an amazing opportunity, I happily went in the Bollywood world. There was no big sacrifice, it just that something exciting landed up in my life before medicine. A woman must sacrifice till the time she feels she can handle that sacrifice made.

JWB – What is the importance of awareness of one’s own qualities? Were you aware of your acting talent before your movie?

Waheeda Rehman: As the time passes, you manifest the best in you. The situations around you help you explore your inner self. In my case, my Bharatnatyam dance talent and opportunity hit me at the right time. I realized about my hidden talent during the best time of my life!

JWB – Being a Muslim girl, did you face any kind of stereotypes? If yes, how did you break through them?

Waheeda Rehman: My parents were by my side. When I was 9, they enrolled me to learn Bharatnatyam. My family was never bound by religion. That initial grooming made me strong to ignore the lame stereotypes. I believe, every profession has its plus and minus. The idea is to change those minus into plus.

At JLF during conversation

At JLF during conversation

JWB – Do you think our Bollywood has narrow thinking  and narrow space for female actors who are 50 and above?

Waheeda Rehman:  As you grow old, the age shows up on the face. Maturity and wrinkles cannot fetch you the role of a college diva. The best roles are that of a mother and granny. There is nothing bad in that.

JWB – Before we end how you would encourage women who have to break through the wall of ‘women must stay at home and should take care of the kids and kitchen.’

Waheeda Rehman: I think women have more capacity and are multitaskers. Men cannot do what we are capable of. Men have a natural habit to focus on only one task at a time. Women can cook while feeding her child, guiding the maid, entertaining the guests at home, serving her in-laws.

 Isn’t she direct and subtle at the same time? We loved those 15 minutes with her. Did you enjoy this read? Tell us!

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