Waheeda Rehman

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Waheeda Rehman, the doyen of Hindi cinema in 2012

Waheeda Rehman (born 3 February 1938) is an Indian film actress. She is often regarded as one of the most prominent actresses of the golden era, and is cited in the media as the "Quintessential Beauty of Bollywood". She is best known for many successful and critically acclaimed movies from the 1950s, 60s and early 70s. She is the recipient of Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994 and the civilian national award of Padma Bhushan in 2011.


  • The shelf-life of a heroine is very limited. But I feel that a true artiste should never retire. Even now, I can't say no to a role that excites me. But I don't see films as my career any longer. I do it for the fun and satisfaction.
  • There are so many acting schools these days. Maybe, the new generation of actors is forgetting that acting is more emotional than mechanical. Take dancing, today's dancers are not dancing; they're just performing a drill to some beats.
    • Quoted in "Guru Dutt was my mentor: Waheeda".
  • I've made a few films and by the grace of God, you've liked them.

Grace personified: Waheeda Rehman


Grace personified: Waheeda Rehman. The Times of India. Retrieved on 15 December 2013.

  • Music earlier used to be an integral part of the film. The background score and the songs were as important, to take the story forward as were the screenplay and dialogues.
  • Today that rarely happens. Most often the songs are used as a relief. They have nothing to do with the film per say. And all look almost the same. Just replace the central characters and a step here and there...choreography remains the same in most cases. So does the beat. We have so many classical dances and folk dances in the country but nobody seems to be using them.
  • How often do you come out of a film these days humming a song? Earlier I thought that my age had something to do with it. But then I spoke with some youngsters and they seemed to agree in retrospect."
  • Arre bhai...there is so much more to Indian music than those beats. I have done bhangra...nothing against it. But why do we present only that to the Indian and global audience. Punjabi language and music has become the language of the film industry unfortunately. Be it Singh is King or London Dreams or New York Beats are the same. agreed you cannot use classical or folk music in New York or Singh is King but London Dreams — it's supposed to be a musical. Music should have been the soul of it. But that is the weakest thing in the film. So much could have been done — classical music and folk music could have been used. But they didn't. They want to finish of work ASAP. Quantity, not quality has taken over.
  • The director's word used to be final. Today directors don't even come on sets for a dance sequence. Its canned by the choreographer.
  • Guide, Pyaasa — these are my films that can be remade with current actors. But the music and lyrics should not be changed. Because you cannot have a samba or bhangra beat for the seduction scene in Pyaasa...the beauty will be lost.

Take risks and don't fear failure: Waheeda Rehman


On the occasion of her receiving NDTV's award as one of the 25 Global Living Legends of India at a function held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan "Take risks and don't fear failure: Waheeda Rehman". NDTV. 14 December 2013. Retrieved on 15 December 2013. 

  • Take risks and don't fear failure
  • What matters most in life is good health and a good night's sleep."
  • It was important to have compassion, [which, she added, came ]] partly from acknowledging we are one.

Waheeda Rehman not in favour of biopics and remakes


"Waheeda Rehman not in favour of biopics and remakes". The Hindu. 30 July 2013. Retrieved on 15 December 2013. 

  • I don't believe in remakes. I think original films are classics and one can't make it or match up to it (original film) the same way. And even if they do there will be comparisons...it's not a good idea,"
  • I definitely think this is the best time to be in the industry. Earlier, films were made on a set pattern- love story, family drama, one is rich and other is poor type formulas. But today there are different kinds of films being made and accepted by the audience. I wish I was there in the industry today...I wish I was born in today's time.

Queen of hearts


"Queen of hearts". The Hindu. 28 July 2012. Retrieved on 15 December 213. 

  • Yes, my acting was not stylised. I always underplayed, maybe because I never learnt acting. I thought the best way is to feel it and do it. And when you feel it, the emotions come out naturally. Gulabo (Pyaasa) was liked by people and I started getting different roles. If I liked a story my attitude used to be: this is the scene, this is the character and I have to do it. I never thought about the repercussions of doing a character.
  • A good artiste should be able to portray any kind of role. Guide is closest to my heart because Rosie was a very mature character. She is married to Marco and yet decides to go in for a live-in relationship with Raju. Many producers saw it as a negative role, a wrong step at that stage of my career and advised me not to do it, but to me a role was a role. But sometimes personalities do come in the way.
  • In those days the heroes and heroines had to play characters, which were essentially good. Now there is no such compulsion. And it is a good thing. I like the choices Vidya Balan has made. People say mine was the golden age of cinema. I think we are on the threshold of another golden period.
  • Cinema is a product of society. You look around you, the way women dress up for parties is no longer the same.

About Waheeda Rehman

Waheeda Rehman
  • Everyone is born for something. This girl was born for the camera.
    • Quoted in "Guru Dutt was my mentor: Waheeda."
  • The instant Waheeda Rehman arrived for her ten days shooting in Calcutta, she charmed every member of Ray’s unit. She lacked star airs and graces, never behaved in a pretentious manner and was content to go about off the set in her own face without make-up. There was an unspoilt quality about her personality and she was conspicuously receptive to Ray’s direction. She was pliable, with few ingrained mannerisms.

‘Devoted’ Amitabh fetched Waheeda’s chappals


Amitabh Bachhan about Rehman‘Devoted’ Amitabh fetched Waheeda’s chappals "‘Devoted’ Amitabh fetched Waheeda’s chappals". Times of India. 13 October 2009. Retrieved on 15 December 2013. 

  • Dinner followed thereafter among a small group of common friends, a surprise being the presence of my favorite Waheeda Rehman. Now aged and well within her years, she to me described what the conventional Indian woman ought to be in look and behaviour. Those early films 'Pyaasa' and 'Kaagaz ke Phool' and 'Chaudhavin ka Chand' and 'Sahib Biwi aur Ghulam' are unforgettable for the charm and grace and childlike softness of an ethereal looking Waheeda ji, alluring and dynamic by the intensity of her simple and endearing looks and performance.
  • I was and still am her great admirer and fan. She signified to me the epitome of Indian grace and culture. She possessed in her the mischievous streak of that precocious village belle and the spirited movement of a Shiv Tandav. She looked vulnerable and lost, searching for protection in one moment, yet knowledged and mature in another. You felt like protecting and guarding her from all the evil of the world and to gently wipe away any frayed eyebrows that may have accumulated on her face. Her performances were pure and clean, without effort and deliberate design. They were just a part of her - simple and soft.
  • And you cannot imagine the excitement when I came to be cast with her in Sunil Dutt's 'Reshma Aur Shera'. It was like an unbelievable dream. The Rajasthan location of Jaisalmer and the hot deserts beyond that in the village of Pochina merely a few meters away from the Pakistan border. The arduous drive for hours into the interiors without any navigation and roads. Miles and miles of barren dessert and dunes with a scarcity of every possible material good, required for survival
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