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