Birthday: February 3, 1938
Age: 83 Years, 83 Year Old Females
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Also Known As: Waheeda Kamaljit Singh, Waheeda Rahman, Waheeda
Born in: Chengalpattu
Famous as: Actress
Height: 5'1" (155 cm), 5'1" Females
Spouse/Ex-: Kamal Jeet
siblings: Sayeeda Rehman
children: Kashvi Rekhi, Sohail Rekhi
awards: 1969; 1967 - Filmfare Award for Best Actress - Neel Kamal; Guide
1995 - Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award
1972 - National Film Award for Best Actress - Reshma Aur Shera
2001 - IIFA Award for Outstanding Contribution to Indian Cinema (Female)
Who is Waheeda Rehman?
Waheeda Rehman is an Indian actress known for her performances in films like ‘Pyaasa’ and ‘Kaagaz Ke Phool’. A versatile actress, she has acted not only in Hindi films but also in regional films in languages like Tamil, Bengali and Telugu. Over her long and illustrious career she has appeared in films spanning multiple genres like comedy, romance, drama, and tragedy. Born in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, she lost her father when she was just a young girl. An intelligent and beautiful girl, she initially aspired to study to become a doctor but the sudden death of her father and illness of her mother forced her to abandon her studies in order to find work. Naturally gifted with good looks and talents, she ventured into an acting career in the Telugu film industry. It did not take her long to establish herself as a much sought after performer in the Telugu industry. Eventually she moved into Hindi films and first appeared in ‘CID’ which proved to be a big hit. Other hits followed and soon she was counted amongst the most successful actresses of her era. As she matured in age she began taking up character roles, and has more recently taken to playing elderly mother and grandmother roles.
Childhood & Early Life
Waheeda Rehman was born into a Muslim family in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, India, on 3 February 1938. Her father was a district commissioner.
She was a talented young girl, who along with her sister learnt Bharatnatyam from some of the most prominent teachers of the dance form. The sisters also performed together on stage.
Tragedy struck her family when her father died in 1948. Her mother too began suffering from ill health and passed away in 1955. Even though she had initially aspired to be a doctor, her family circumstances forced her to abandon her studies.
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She began her acting career in Indian regional cinema, appearing in Telugu films ‘Jayasimha’ (1955), ‘Rojulu Marayi’ (1956) and Tamil film ‘Kaalam Maari Pochu’ (1955).
In the success party of ‘Rojulu Marayi’, the beautiful young actress was spotted by Hindi film director Guru Dutt. He took her under his wing and began mentoring her.
She moved to Bombay (now Mumbai) and was cast as a vamp in Dutt’s production ‘CID’ (1956), directed by Raj Khosla. She made her Hindi film debut as a mysterious woman named Kamini, a role that is counted amongst her most seductive ones.
’CID’ was a hit and impressed by her performance, Dutt cast her in the leading role in ‘Pyaasa’ in 1957. The duo went on to work together in other films like ‘Kaagaz Ke Phool’ (1959) and ‘Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam’ (1962), but with time their relations grew strained and they drifted apart. Dutt died in 1964 reportedly from an overdose of sleeping pills and alcohol.
Waheeda Rehman formed a very successful on-screen pair with superstar Dev Anand, her co-star in her Hindi film debut. The two acted together in several other hit films as well including ‘Kala Bazar ‘(1960), ‘Baat Ek Raat Ki’ (1962) and ‘Guide’ (1965).
She also formed successful pairings with the other leading men of Bollywood like Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor. Her hits with Kumar were ‘Dil Diyaa Dard Liyaa’ in 1966, ‘Ram Aur Shyam’ in 1967 and ‘Aadmi ‘in 1968, and her movies with Kapoor include the acclaimed ‘Teesri Kasam’ in 1966.
Her career continued to flourish over the ensuing years. As she matured with age, she gracefully shifted to playing character roles rather than that of leading ladies. As a character actor she appeared in films like ‘Kabhi Kabhie’ (1976), ’Trishul’ (1978), ‘Jwalamukhi’ (1980), ‘Namkeen’ and ‘Namak Halaal’ (1982), ‘Mashaal’ (1984), ‘Chandni’(1989) and Lamhe (1991).
She stayed away from films for a few years during the 1990s and returned to the silver screen in the new millennium playing elderly mother and grandmother roles in ‘Om Jai Jagadish’ (2002), ‘Water’ (2005) and ‘Rang De Basanti’ (2006), and ‘Delhi 6’ (2009).
The 1969 movie ‘Khamoshi’ in which Waheeda Rehman starred against Rajesh Khanna is counted amongst her most successful films. Her powerful performance as Nurse Radha earned her much critical acclaim.
’Pyaasa’ is another one of her remarkable films. She played the role of a prostitute who helps a struggling poet in the movie. In 2005, ‘Pyaasa’ was rated as one of the 100 best films of all time by ‘Time’ magazine, which called it "the soulfully romantic of the lot."
She took a bold risk by playing the character of Rosie in ‘Guide’. Her portrayal of a woman who leaves her husband for her lover was well accepted by the audience and the film was a critically acclaimed commercial hit.
Awards & Achievements
Waheeda Rehman is the recipient of multiple Filmfare awards including Filmfare Best Actress Award for ‘Guide’ in 1966 and for ‘Neel Kamal’ in 1968.
She was honored with the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994.
In 2011, the Government of India bestowed upon her the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award in India.
Personal Life & Legacy
A fellow actor Shashi Rekhi (screen name Kamaljeet) with whom she had appeared in the movie ‘Shagoon’ in 1964 proposed marriage to her and the couple tied the knot in 1974. They had two children, Sohail and Kashvi. Her husband died in 2000.