Film scholar Nas­reen Munni Kabir’s book traces the won­der­ful life of Wa­heeda Rehman

India Today - - LEISURE - By Sharla Bazliel

Her name means “the unique one” and few ac­tors have had a ca­reer, and life, quite like Wa­heeda Rehman. From be­ing dis­cov­ered by Guru Dutt by sheer ac­ci­dent at the age of 17 to be­com­ing a suc­cess­ful star in Bol­ly­wood, to giv­ing it all up one day and mov­ing—tod­dlers in tow—to a derelict farm on the out­skirts of Ban­ga­lore with hus­band, some­time ac­tor Shashi Rekhi, Rehman has done it all. In Con­ver­sa­tions With Wa­heeda Rehman, the ac­tor tells the en­tire story in her own words, with in­sight­ful prompts by film­maker and writer Nas­reen Munni Kabir that pre­vent the book from turn­ing into a ram­bling mess.

Rehman speaks with hon­esty and hu­mour and Con­ver­sa­tions is filled with in­ter­est­ing anec­dotes about her ex­pe­ri­ence of work­ing with artistes such as Satya­jit Ray (who first brought up the sub­ject of want­ing to make Guide), Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand (who was per­pet­u­ally late), her friend­ship with stars such as Nar­gis, Sunil Dutt and Nanda and her ad­ven­tures liv­ing off the land. Bol­ly­wood buffs and col­lec­tors of film trivia can look for­ward to her in­sights into the craft of film­mak­ing and an en­ter­tain­ing be­hind-the-scenes look at the mak­ing of some of the key films in In­dian cin­ema.

Al­though her per­sonal story is fas­ci­nat­ing, the heart of the book lies in a few pages about Guru Dutt. With her nat­u­ral talent and haunt­ing beauty, Rehman brought to life some of In­dian cin­ema’s most iconic char­ac­ters—Gu­laabo, Shanti and Rosie—but no story about the ac­tor is con­sid­ered com­plete with­out ref­er­ence to the doomed di­rec­tor who com­mit­ted sui­cide in 1964. Al­though Rehman ac­knowl­edges this cu­rios­ity, her an­swers sixty years later re­main shrouded in lay­ers.

CON­VER­SA­TIONS WITH WA­HEEDA REHMAN by Nas­reen Munni Kabir Pen­guin Price: RS 499 Pages: 256

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