The sight of Waheeda Rehman dancing to the tunes of 'Aaj Phir Jeene Ki Tamanna Hain' in Dev Anand's iconic film 'Guide' still remains evergreen in our hearts even after so many years. The veteran actress celebrates her 81st birthday today and it's the prefect time to quickly reflect into her journey that's been filled with many milestones.
Born in Chengalpattu in Tamil Nadu, Waheeda lost her father in her teens. The actress initially aspired to be a doctor but due to her family's circumstances, she began working in Telugu films. Soon, Waheeda forayed into the Hindi film industry with CID in 1956 where she essayed the role of a vamp. Her next was Guru Dutt's Pyaasa where she essayed the role of a prostitute with a heart of gold.
Recalling an anecdote from the sets of Pyaasa, Waheeda once revealed in an interview, "Jaane kya tune kahi, jaane kya maine suni -- it was picturised very beautifully, people appreciated me very much in that song.
Funnily enough, the same thing happened. We shot late at night in Kolkata. During the shooting, I would fall asleep in my chair, and they would come and spray water on my face when the shot was ready!
Guru Dutt would ask me to drink tea, though I was not a tea drinker, because he said it would wake me up. Whenever I see the song now, I wonder how I did that while I was so sleepy! (laughs) It's so strange to see something on screen which was very different during its making."
Pyaasa was followed by Guru Dutt's Kaaghaz Ke Phool, a film which depicted the story of a successful director's decline after he falls for his leading lady. Waheeda next starred in films like 'Chaudhvin Ka Chand', Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam, Bees Saal Baad'.
However, Waheeda considers Vijay Anand's Guide as her best performance till date. Considered to be one of the greatest films in Indian cinema, she was advised by many people not to play the role of this 'liberated woman'. However, the actress refused to pay a heed to them and the rest is history.
Over the years, Waheeda Rehman worked out some of the biggest directors and actor in Indian cinema in films like Neel Kamal, Reshma Aur Shera, Teesri Kasam, Patthar Ke Sanam, Prem Pujari amongst others.
Waheeda took a break from acting in 1994 and returned back on the celluloid almost after a decade in 2002 with Om Jai Jagadish. She went on to star in films like Rang De Basanti, Delhi 6, Vishwaroopam II. She was also awarded with Padma Bhushan in 2011.
We wish the eternal beauty a very happy birthday!