Waheeda Rehman: Respecting the beauty of cinema

Waheeda Rehman has been given this year’s prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award for her contribution to cinema. Although this award was started with Devika Rani in the year 1969, in the almost 50 years history of National Film Awards, only six actresses have been honored with this award. In the year 1955, Waheeda Rehman appeared on screen for the first time in a song from the Telugu film ‘Rojulu Marai’. That song caught the eye of filmmaker Guru Dutt and he brought him to Mayanagari (Mumbai). His journey, which started with the film ‘CID’ in 1956, continues. He has worked in about 90 films so far. Waheeda, who had completed 85 years of age, was seen in experimental director Anoop Singh’s film ‘The Song of Scorpions’ this year. There are many such films of his, of which Hindi cinema is proud. The films ‘Pyaasa’, ‘Kaagaz Ke Phool’, ‘Chaudhvin Ka Chand’, ‘Sahab Biwi Aur Ghulam’, ‘Guide’, ‘Teesri Kasam’, ‘Khamoshi’, released in the 50-60s of the last century, are considered classics today. Are. Characters like Rosie, Heerabai, Gulabo, Shanti, Radha are still remembered.

Although in her film career, she did most of the films with Devanand, but she gives the credit for the success of her initial films to Guru Dutt. About her cinematic journey, she says – ‘My career was very good from the beginning. I didn’t have to struggle and everything went well. God had great mercy. ‘Guide’ (1965) directed by Vijay Anand (Goldie) ranks at the top in Waheeda Rehman’s career. The style and philosophy with which this film presents the love relationship between Raju (Devanand) and Rosie (Waheeda Rehman) makes it contemporary. This film is based on the novel of the same name written by famous writer RK Narayan. Today, in 21st century India, there have been many changes in the social and economic status of women. Cinema is also adopting this change, but in the 60s, showing the relationship of a married woman with another man on screen was against the tradition of cinema. In ‘Guide’, a married woman lives in a live-in relationship with a man, who is very conscious about his identity and independence. Waheeda admits that the character of Rosie is close to her personality. She says that ‘Rosie knows what she wants and speaks clearly’.

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Incidentally, famous filmmaker Satyajit Ray also wanted to make a film on ‘Guide’. She had discussed this when Waheeda was working with him in the Bengali film ‘Abhijaan (1962). But later Devanand bought the rights to make the film and this film was made under the banner of ‘Navketan’. She says, ‘It seems that Rosie was written just for me. Make Satyajit or Devanand, it’s up to me. Like Guide, ‘Teesri Kasam’ (1966), based on Phanishwarnath Renu’s story ‘Maare Gaye Gulfam’, is also an unsuccessful love story of Hiraman (Raj Kapoor) and Heerabai (Waheeda), which is discussed even today.

Story, songs and music have played a central role in Hindi cinema. ‘Melodrama’ becomes tangible on screen only with the help of actors and actresses. It is through them that we watch and evaluate cinema. In such a situation, hardly anyone would deny that the beauty of the films ‘Guide’ and ‘Teesri Kasam’ revolves around ‘Rosie’ and ‘Heerabai’. The character with whom the song and music of the film is associated is a dancer. Waheeda herself is trained in Bharatnatyam. When I asked him how he prepared himself to play the roles of Rosie and Heerabai together, he said, ‘As an artiste, we have to understand that Heerabai does the drama of the village. Her style of dancing is different. This is not classical. Whereas Rosie is a professional stage dancer. Before coming to cinema, she used to demonstrate her dancing skills on stage. Waheeda remembers her father saying that ‘It is not the skill that spoils, it is the man who spoils.’ The way you behave is the name of your profession.

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With her talent, Waheeda made herself and Hindi cinema famous in the country and abroad. Till now we have been examining Hindi films from the perspective of actors, watching Waheeda Rehman’s films in the light of her characters and emotional acting is still interesting for the connoisseurs and lovers of cinema.

(These are the personal views of the author)

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