This is the second year in succession when I forgot her birthday. Could there be a hidden mental process involved in my repeatedly forgetting her birthday besides the fact her famous book by Nasreen Munni Kabir titled ‘Conversations With Waheeda Rehman’ is always at my bedside table? Perhaps the hidden mental process is secretly wishing for her not to become older!
Her films have a great association with my childhood and boyhood days and even later days. For some reason, until about three years back, I thought of her as a Telugu origin actress. This was because, at the age of 17 years, she was the find of Guru Dutt in his movie C.I.D. to be directed by Raj Khosla and she was discovered by him in Hyderabad?
Anyway, the other night, I was listening to Annu Kapoor in the late night Mastii.. show and he brought out how she refused to act in the movie with revealing clothes as expected by the director Raj Khosla and how despite that, because of her superb histrionics, her career still progressed to the extent of making her the finest actress in Hindi movies.
What is so special about her? Could it be just the innumerable awards and honours that have been conferred on her; including the Living Legend Award conferred to her by the President of India in Dec 2013 on the occasion of 25th anniversary of NDTV when they honoured 25 Living Legends?
C.I.D. was not the first movie in which I saw her. I saw it many years later. She was a vamp in the movie and one of her songs: Jaata kahan hai deewaane was banned due to its suggestive double entendre’. I saw her other song: Kahin pe nigaahen kahin pe nishaana and was instantly captivated by her; her eyes speak, she had that intrinsic innocence even as a vamp.
In my later life, speaking with her eyes and her likeable elegance and grace are some of the attributes that I associated her with. She is a superb dancer; not of the same class as the other Tamil origin actress Vujaynthimala (who is to be seen to be believed in Hontho pe aisi baat (Jewel Thief) and Jisse tu kabool karle (Devdas)). However, the overall effect of her dances comes out even better than Vyjaynthimala’s. Some of my favourite dance numbers of hers are: Piya tose naina laagi re, and Mose chhal kiye jaaye (boh from Guide), Raat bhi hai kuchh bheegi bheegi (Mujhe Jeene Do; which is her first movie that I saw. She was a courtesan who falls in love with a dacoit Sunil Dutt. This is the first scene in the movie where he sees her. She did with her full clothes on what actresses of today won’t be able to do with revealing clothes); Paan khayo sainyya hamaro (Teesri Kasam) and a difficult dance number when she was drunk in Prem Pujaari: Rangeela re tere rang mein youn rangaa hai mera man.
I also am indebted to her for being the heroine of my favourite singer Hemant Kumar’s song: Ye Nayan Dare Dare and my favourite lyricist Shakeel Badayuni’s best-in-Hindi-movies-song describing the beauty of a woman: Chaudhvinh ka Chand ho yaa aftaab ho, job hi ho tum khuda ki kasam laajwaab ho..
Waheeda in sad roles? Well, her acting in sad roles makes you feel for her and her situation in the movie to an extent that you feel personally involved to rescue her from the situation. Some of my favourite numbers in this respect are: Badale badale mere sarkaar nazar aate hain..(Chaudhvinh Ka Chaand), Jhoom jhoom dhalati raat (Kohra), Kahin deep jale kahin dil (the song that won Shakeel Badayuni one of his four Best Lyricist awards in Bees Saal Baad), Meri baat rahi mere man mein (Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam) and Rangeela Re (Prem Pujari).
One reason why I keep forgetting her birthday is because I am still intensely in love with her girlhood songs: Sapane suhaane ladakpan ke..(Bees Sal Baad), Kaanto se kheench kar ye aanchal (Guide); Kaisa jaadu balam toone daara (12 O’Clock, another Guru Dutt movie) and Rimjhim ke taraane leke aayi barsaat (Kaala Bazar).
So, happy birthday Waheeda Rehman. Thank you very much for bringing enormous happiness, joys, enchantment, and wonderment into our lives. You are a Living Legend and we are proud of belonging to the same era that has been made more beautiful by your eternal grace and elegance.
Let me end by giving you her duet with Dev Anand in the 1960 movie Kaala Bazaar. The song has been put together by Shailendra, Sachin Dev Burman, Geeta Dutt (who sang many of her songs both in Dev Anand and her (Geeta Dutt’s) husband Guru Dutt’s movies.
Please enjoy: Rimjhim ke taraane le ke aayi barsaat….
(giitaa: rim jhim ke taraane leke aayii barasaat
rafii: yaad aaye kisii se vo pahalii mulaaqaat ) – 2
(giitaa: bhiige tan man pa.De ras kii phuhaar
rafii: pyaar kaa sandesaa laayii barakhaa bahaar ) – 2
giitaa: mai.n naa boluu.N, mai.n naa boluu.N aa.Nkhe.n kare.n a.Nkhiyo.n se baat
rafii: rim jhim ke taraane leke aayii barasaat
(rafii: sunake matavaale kaale baadalo.n kaa shor
giitaa: ruum jhuum ghuum ghuum naache man kaa mor ) – 2
rafii: sapano.n kaa saathii chal rahaa mere saath
giitaa: rim jhim ke taraane leke aayii barasaat
rafii: yaad aaye kisii se vo pahalii mulAqaat
dono: rim jhim ke taraane leke aayii barasaat
(giitaa: jab milate ho tum to chhUTe.n dil ke taar
rafii: milane ko tum se mai.n kyo.n thaa beqaraar ) – 2
giitaa: raha jaatii hai, raha jaatii hai kyo.n hoTho.n tak aake dil kii baat
rafii: rim jhim ke taraane leke aayii barasaat
giitaa: yaad aaye kisii se vo pahalii mulAqaat
dono: rim jhim ke taraane leke aayii barasaat!
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