Thank God, Waheeda decided to do this book and Nasreen Munni Kabir persuaded her where many others have failed. The Q and A format, carrying Waheeda’s responses verbatim, works, and in the process, we have a portrait of an actress of rare dignity and grace, who through her career refused to act like a star, despite being one of the biggest and most successful actresses of her time.
The book is elegantly produced, with some rare photos, recalling to mind the quiet beauty and professionalism that Waheeda brought to her films. The questions lead from her childhood, where Waheeda shares some little known facts about her parents, especially her father, who was in the IAS. Memories of happy times, when the family went on picnics, when her father went on deer hunting expeditions with his friends, dissolve as the pages turn to cover her early years as a dancing star after her father’s sudden death, getting ‘discovered’ by Guru Dutt, and her moving to Bombay to join his production unit to act in his films.
When Waheeda says she believes she is “most like Rosie (in Guide)...a straightforward woman who knows her own mind and stands by what she believes in”, it sums up what she is like in real life. Kabir manages to get great insights about her work with Guru Dutt in the making of Pyaasa, Kagaz Ke Phool and the filming of songs, but the personal questions that have hung over the relationship between the iconic director and his star actress remain unasked, and therefore unanswered. Rightly so, for it is not mere gossip, but what we get is a chronicle of professional interaction between two great artists.
Naturally, there are numerous interesting anecdotes. For instance, while shooting for Mujhe Jeene Do in the ravines of Chambal, she meets the daughter of a real woman dacoit who looks at Waheeda and says, “My mother never wore a ghaghra-choli, she wore pants.” She talks about trying to understand the great K. Asif, who directed his actors in telegraphic monosyllables. She discusses the difficulty of holding on to a mood and dialogue through breaks and retakes. The pluses and minuses of colour versus black and white, how her dialogue delivery was second to her ability to emote through facial expressions.
Her marriage to her co-star of Shagoon, Shashi Rekhi, and their life away from the limelight in a farmhouse outside Bangalore, show up the true grit of the woman. The story of why she let herself go grey is amazing in someone who has experienced the magic of stardust and been in the arc lights for more than three decades! Despite the interesting stories revolving around her films, it is in the last segment of the book that Waheeda the woman shines through. There is a candour and forthrightness in her responses, in the way she has faced the toughest moments of her life; in her sharing of happy moments with her friends Nanda, Helen, Sadhana, Asha Parekh and Shammi Rabadi. When she ends the conversation, it is with: “I don’t honestly like living in the past. It is the present that counts. I don’t think of the future either. Maybe that’s what gives me a sense of peace. I don’t worry about what will happen tomorrow.”
One realises how Waheeda Rehman has remained the way she has, despite the topsy turvy world she has inhabited. Graceful, collected and very much her own person.
The review of the book on Waheeda Rehman (Mirror on a Full Moon, Apr 28) was interesting. In a recent TV interview, Waheeda had said that she doesn’t like to talk about her personal life. The most versatile actress of her day, she has made films with all major stars of her time. And she has had almost no controversies at all—except the ‘affair‘ with Guru Dutt.
Reading the review of the book on Waheeda Rehman was a pleasure (Mirror on a Full Moon, Apr 28). Waheeda is my all-time favourite; no one comes close to her in being a complete star! And her grey mane makes her even more graceful. I am not sure if the book notes that a 16-year-old Waheeda asked Guru Dutt to delete a clause related to wearing a swimsuit simply by saying: “If I am not expected to wear it, why put that in the contract?” Truly, she is a living legend.
Pankaj Hedaoo, Kuala Lumpur
Waheeda Rehman is an epitome of grace, kindness and decency. And she was one of the great beauties of the age. The way she conducted her life, she should be a model for so many people. And not just those in cinema.
Parul Bhandari, Delhi
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
VM is a fan of Meena Kumari but Waheeda Rehman is one's idol. To see a sleeping WR gently awakened by Guru Dutt singing Chaudhvin ka chand ho is to be in the presence of something magical. Great music has always been part of her repertoire.
Waheeda Rahman ji is an epitome of grace, kindness, decency and a beautiful face with a beautiful heart. She is a live example and idol for doing write things in the right way and following right path in life.
Waheeda Rehman ji is an epitome of grace, kindness, decency and a beautiful face with a beautiful heart. She is a live example and idol for doing right things in the right way and following right path in life.
My all time Favourite! None comes close to her as a complete star! And what makes her even mroe graceful at her age is her Gray mane!
I am not sure if the book notes that a 16 year old Whaeeda rehman asked established Producer/ Director GuruDutt to delete a clause related to wearing swim-wear on screen with a simple retort - If I am not expected to wear, why put a clasue in contract?
A Living legend. Take a bow Waheedaji!
We at Outlookindia.com welcome feedback and your comments, including scathing criticism
1. Scathing, passionate, even angry critiques are welcome, but please do not indulge in abuse and invective. Our Primary concern is to keep the debate civil. We urge our users to try and express their disagreements without being disagreeable. Personal attacks are not welcome. No ad hominem please.
2. Please do not post the same message again and again in the same or different threads
3. Please keep your responses confined to the subject matter of the article you are responding to. Please note that our comments section is not a general free-for-all but for feedback to articles/blogs posted on the site
4. Our endeavour is to keep these forums unmoderated and unexpurgated. But if any of the above three conditions are violated, we reserve the right to delete any comment that we deem objectionable and also to withdraw posting privileges from the abuser. Please also note that hate-speech is punishable by law and in extreme circumstances, we may be forced to take legal action by tracing the IP addresses of the poster.
5. If someone is being abusive or personal, or generally being a troll or a flame-baiter, please do not descend to their level. The best response to such posters is to ignore them and send us a message at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT
6. Please do not copy and paste copyrighted material. If you do think that an article elsewhere has relevance to the point you wish to make, please only quote what is considered fair-use and provide a link to the article under question.
7. There is no particular outlookindia.com line on any subject. The views expressed in our opinion section are those of the author concerned and not that of all of outlookindia.com or all its authors.
8. Please also note that you are solely responsible for the comments posted by you on the site. The comments could be deleted or edited entirely at our discretion if we find them objectionable. However, the mere fact of their existence on our site does not mean that we necessarily approve of their contents. In short, the onus of responsibility for the comments remains solely with the authors thereof. Outlookindia.com or any of its group publications, may, however, retains the right to publish any of these comments, with or without editing, in any medium whatsoever. It is therefore in your own interest to be careful before posting.
9.Outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for how any search engine -- such as Google, Bing etc -- caches or displays these comments. Please note that you are solely responsible for posting these comments and it is a privilege being granted to our registered users which can be withdrawn in case of abuse. To reiterate:
a. Comments once posted can only be deleted at the discretion of outlookindia.com
b. The comments reflect the views of the authors and not of outlookindia.com
c. outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for the way search engines cache or display these comments
d. Please therefore take due caution before you post any comments as your words could potentially be used against you
10. We have an online thread for our comments policy:
You are welcome to post your suggestions here or in case you have a specific issue, to directly email us at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT