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Waheeda Rehman (born 3 February 1938[1][2][3]) is an Indian actress who has appeared in mainly Hindi films, as well as Telugu, Tamil and Bengali films. She is noted for her contributions to different genres of films from the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s. She has received the Centenary Award for Indian Film Personality, the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Film Award for Best Actress and two Filmfare Awards for Best Actress throughout her career. She has been cited as Bollywood's "most beautiful" actress by various media outlets, a title for which she has received substantial publicity.[4][5][6][7]

Waheeda Rehman
Rehman in 2012
Born (1938-02-03) 3 February 1938 (age 81)
Other namesWaheeda Rahman
Years active1955–1991, 2002–present
Notable work
Pyaasa (1957)
Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1960)
Bees Saal Baad (1962)
Guide (1965)
Reshma Aur Shera (1971)
Height5 ft 4 in (163 cm)
Shashi Rekhi
(m. 1974; died 2000)
HonoursPadma Bhushan (2011)


Early life and backgroundEdit

Waheeda Rehman was born in a Muslim family in Chengalpattu, Tamil Nadu, India.[8] She and her sister learnt Bharatnatyam in Chennai, where Guru Trichunder Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai and (in Bombay), Guru Jayalaxmi Alva, Doyen among nattuvanars taught[9] and performed on stage together. Her father, who was a district commissioner, died while she was in her teens.[10][11]She studied in St. Joseph’s Convent in Vishakapatnam when her father was posted there in the then Madras Presidency.[12][13]

Rehman’s dream was to become a doctor, but, due to her family's circumstances and her mother's illness, she abandoned her goal. In order to help her family, she hit the silver screen with Telugu films; Jayasimha (1955), followed by Rojulu Marayi (1955) and a Tamil film Kaalam Maari Pochu (1956). It was in Vijaya-Suresh's Ram aur Shyam (a remake of the Telugu movie Ramudu Bheemudu) in 1967 that she acted again under the direction of the topnotch Telugu director Tapi Chanakya, who incidentally directed her movies Rojulu Maaraayi (in Telugu) (1955) and Kaalam Maaripochu (in Tamil) (1956).

It is a common misconception that Rehman was born in Andhra Pradesh.[14]"I was born in Chengalpattu", she reveals, "I used to have a house in Chennai and agricultural land in the Red Hills area". So, why the widespread belief that she was born in Hyderabad? "It's a long story", she says, "When I was in Chennai, I did three to four Telugu movies. In the first one, Rojulu Maraayi, I did only a folk dance number. However, it went on to become a hit! I was in Hyderabad celebrating its success and Guru Dutt happened to be there. He was on a lookout for new faces and heard that I could speak in Urdu. It is because he spotted me in Hyderabad that people assume I was born there".

Acting career and personal lifeEdit

Her first appearance in a Hindi film was in CID (1956). Later, she was seen in a series of successful films including Pyaasa (1957), 12 O'Clock (1958), Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959), Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam and Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1961). Her other notable works include Solva Saal (1958), Baat Ek Raat Ki (1962), Kohra (1964), Bees Sal Baad (1962), Guide (1965), Teesri Kasam, Mujhe Jeene Do (1966), Neel Kamal and Khamoshi (1969).

Waheeda Rehman started her career in films in 1954 and her first successful films were the Telugu films Jayasimha (1955), Rojulu Marayi (1956) and Tamil film Kaalam Maari Pochu (1955). It was M.G.Ramachandran who offered her the song "Salaam Babu" in Modern Theatres production of the Tamil film Alibabavum 40 Thirudargalum (1956 film).

In the success party of Rojulu Maaraayi, Guru Dutt noticed her and decided to groom her and have her act in Hindi films. Waheeda considered Guru Dutt as her mentor. Dutt brought her to Bombay (now Mumbai) and cast as a vamp in his production CID (1956), directed by Raj Khosla. A few years after joining the Hindi film industry, she lost her mother. After the success of C.I.D., Dutt gave her a leading role in Pyaasa (1957). Their next venture together, Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959), depicted the story of a successful director's decline after he falls for his leading lady. Dutt's existing marriage and her film successes with other directors caused them to drift apart personally and professionally, although they continued to work together into the 1960s (Chaudhvin Ka Chand). She completed Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962) under some strain. They broke away from each other after its indifferent reception at the Berlin Film Festival in 1963. Soon afterward, Guru Dutt died on 10 October 1964 in Mumbai reportedly from an overdose of sleeping pills and alcohol.

Waheeda Rehman established a great working relationship with Dev Anand, and together as a pair had number of successful films to their credit. The box office hits of the pair include CID (1956), Solva Saal (1958), Kala Bazar (1960), Baat Ek Raat Ki (1962) and Guide (1965); box office duds were Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja (1961) and Prem Pujari (1970). She reached her peak with Guide (1965) and was much in demand. Rehman was cast as Gulabi in Satyajit Ray's Bengali film Abhijan in 1962. She worked in the comedy film Girl Friend in 1960 with Kishore Kumar. She was offered the lead actress's role in films even opposite actors junior to her by experience like Dharmendra, but they flopped. But she continued to taste success in the late sixties when she was paired with well established stars. She delivered hits opposite Dilip Kumar in three successive years; Dil Diya Dard Liya in 1966, Ram Aur Shyam in 1967 and Aadmi in 1968 and some box office duds but critically acclaimed films with Rajendra Kumar; Palki, Dharti and Shatranj; two films opposite Raj Kapoor; Ek Dil Sau Afsane and the acclaimed Teesri Kasam, which was the debut film of Basu Bhattacharyya; a few films opposite Biswajeet such as Bees Saal Baad and Kohra; this helped her continue to get lead roles in the early seventies. Her career's biggest hit Khamoshi came in 1970, opposite Rajesh Khanna.

Her career continued throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. She won the Filmfare Best Actress Award for her roles in Guide (1965), where she hit the peak of her career, and Neel Kamal (1968), but despite excellent offbeat roles in subsequent films, including a National Award winning performance in Reshma Aur Shera (1971), some of the films failed at the box office. Seeing her films being successful, Waheeda decided to experiment with roles at this stage of career. She accepted Reshma Aur Shera, opposite her old co-star Sunil Dutt, with whom she had previously in the sixties had hits such as Ek Phool Char Kaante, Mujhe Jeene Do, Meri Bhabhi and Darpan. Her performance was appreciated by critics, but the film failed at the box office. But Waheeda continued to experiment with roles and accepted the offer to play a mother to Jaya Bhaduri in Phagun (1973). This, she regards the mistake of her career, as after this film flopped, suddenly people started offering her motherly roles to heroes.

Film expert Rajesh Subramanian reported that Manmohan Desai had approached Rehman, on behalf of Shammi Kapoor, during the making of Naseeb. In the song "John Jani Janardhan", Shammi Kapoor and Waheeda Rehman make a grand entry holding hands. Incidentally this was the first time the two stars appeared together on screen. Later she also did Manmohan Desai's Coolie and Allah Rakha.

From the mid-seventies, Waheeda's career as lead heroine ended and her career as character actor began. At around this time, Kamaljit, who starred opposite her in Shagoon (1964), proposed and they got married in 1974. After her appearance in Lamhe (1991), she retired from the film industry for 12 years.

In her new innings from the seventies, her successful films where she played pivotal roles include Kabhi Kabhie (1976),Trishul (1978), Jwalamukhi (1980), Namkeen and Namak Halaal (1982), Mashaal (1984), Chandni(1989) and Rang De Basanti(2006). She played the central character in the Mahesh Bhatt directed film Swayam that starred Akash Khurana and Anupam Kher. She also appeared in a tele-series being directed by Gulzar.

In recent years she made a comeback playing elderly mother and grandmother roles in Om Jai Jagadish (2002), Water (2005), Rang De Basanti (2006), 15, Park Avenue and Delhi 6 (2009) which were all critically acclaimed.

(L-R) Nanda, Waheeda Rehman, Helen and Sadhana

In October 2004, a Waheeda Rehman film retrospective was held at the Seattle Art Museum and the University of Washington where Waheeda participated in spirited panel and audience discussions on her most memorable films; Pyaasa, Teesri Kasam and Guide - although her most successful film is still considered to be Khamoshi, with costar Rajesh Khanna.

After her marriage to Shashi Rekhi (screen name Kamaljeet)[15] on 27 April 1974, she shifted to a farmhouse in Bangalore. She has two children named Sohail and Kashvi, who are writers. On 21 November 2000, her husband died following a prolonged illness. She moved back to her ocean view bungalow in Bandra, Mumbai where she currently lives.

She is also an ambassador for Rang De working with them in the fight against poverty.[16]


Year Title Role Language
1955 Rojulu Marayi Telugu
1955 Jayasimha Princess Telugu
1955 Kaalam Maari Pochu Guest appearance in the song
"Yeru thooki povayae annae chinnanae"
1956 Alibabavum 40 Thirudargalum Lead dancer for "Salaam Babu, Salaam Babu, enaai paarunga" song Tamil
1956 CID Kamini Hindi
1957 Pyaasa Gulabo Hindi
1958 12 O'Clock Bani Choudhary Hindi
1958 Solva Saal Laaj Hindi
1959 Kaagaz Ke Phool Shanti Hindi
1960 Kala Bazar Alka Hindi
1960 Ek Phool Char Kaante Sushma Hindi
1960 Chaudhvin Ka Chand Jameela Hindi
1960 Girl Friend Hindi
1961 Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja Rani Hindi
1962 Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam Jaba Hindi
1962 Bees Saal Baad Radha Hindi
1962 Baat Ek Raat Ki Neela/Meena Hindi
1962 Rakhi Radha Hindi
1962 Abhijan Gulabi Bengali
1963 Mujhe Jeene Do Chameli Jaan Hindi
1963 Kaun Apna Kaun Paraya Asha Hindi
1963 Ek Dil Sau Afsane Sunita Hindi
1964 Kohra Rajashwari Hindi
1964 Shagoon Geeta Hindi
1964 Majboor Sushila Mehta Hindi
1965 Guide Rosie Marco/Miss Nalini Hindi
1966 Teesri Kasam Hira Bai Hindi
1966 Dil Diya Dard Liya Roopa Hindi
1967 Patthar Ke Sanam Taruna Hindi
1967 Ram Aur Shyam Anjana Hindi
1967 Palki Mehroo Hindi
1967 Ghar Ka Chirag Hindi
1968 Neel Kamal Rajkumari Neel Kamal/Sita Hindi
1968 Aadmi Meena Hindi
1968 Baazi Elizabeth D'Silva Hindi
1969 Khamoshi Nurse Radha Hindi
1969 Shatranj Meena Thakur Hindi
1969 Meri Bhabhi Maya Hindi
1970 Prem Pujari Suman Mehra Hindi
1970 Man Ki Aankhen Guddi (Geeta) Hindi
1970 Dharti Jwala/Princess Chitralekha Hindi
1970 Darpan Madhvi Hindi
1971 Man Mandir Krishna and Radha Hindi
1971 Reshma Aur Shera Reshma Hindi
1972 Zindagi Zindagi Meeta Sharma Hindi
1972 Trisandhya Indu Hindi
1972 Subha O Sham Shirin Hindi
1972 Dil Ka Raja Laxmi Hindi
1972 Thrisandhya Malayalam
1973 Phagun Shanta Bangan/Shamrao Dhamle Hindi
1973 Justice Hindi
1974 Bangaaru Kalalu Telugu
1976 Aadalat Radha Hindi
1976 Kabhi Kabhie Anjali Malhotra Hindi
1978 Trishul Shanti Hindi
1979 Aaj Ki Dhara Hindi
1980 Jyoti Bane Jwala Malti Hindi
1980 Jwalamukhi Savita Devi Hindi
1982 Sawaal Anju D. Mehta Hindi
1982 Namak Halaal Savitridevi Hindi
1982 Namkeen Jugni (Jyoti) Hindi
1982 Dharam Kanta Radha Singh Hindi
1983 Himmatwala Savitri Hindi
1983 Mahaan Janki Hindi
1983 Coolie Salma Hindi
1983 Pyaasi Aankhen Hindi
1983 Ghungroo Rani Maa Hindi
1984 Sunny Gayatri Inderjeet Hindi
1984 Mashaal Sudha Kumar Hindi
1984 Maqsad Sharda Hindi
1985 Bayen Hath Ka Khel Hindi
1986 Simhasanam Telugu
1986 Singhasan Rajmata Vardhan Hindi
1986 Allah Rakha Adv.Salma Anwar Hindi
1989 Chandni Mrs. Khanna Hindi
1991 Lamhe Dai Jaan Hindi
1991 Swayam Hindi
1994 Ulfat Ki Nayee Manzilen Hindi
2002 Om Jai Jagadish Saraswati Batra Hindi
2005 Water Bhagavati (Narayan's Mother) Hindi
2005 Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara Principal Khanna Hindi
2005 15 Park Avenue Mrs. Mathur/Mrs. Gupta English/Bengali
2006 Rang De Basanti Ajay's Mother Hindi
2006 Chukkallo Chandrudu Arjun's Grand-Mother Telugu
2009 Delhi 6 Dadi (Annapurna Mehra) Hindi
2013 Love in Bombay Hindi
2015 Arshinagar Bengali
2017 The Song of Scorpions Zubaida Hindi
2018 Vishwaroopam II Tamil-Hindi Bilingual




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  8. ^ Guru Dutt was my mentor: Waheeda/
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  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 February 2017. Retrieved 29 June 2018.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
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  18. ^ "The Winners – 1968". Filmfare Awards. Archived from the original on 10 July 2012. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
  19. ^ "Reshma Aur Shera 1971". The Hindu. 25 October 2008. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 31 December 2018.
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  21. ^ "Brajesh Mishra, Azim Premji, Montek in list of 128 Padma awardees". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 16 July 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2011.
  22. ^ 32nd Annual BFJA Awards
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  25. ^ "The Nominations – 1970". Filmfare Awards. Archived from the original on 23 March 2004. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
  26. ^ "The Nominations – 1976". Filmfare Awards. Archived from the original on 10 July 2012. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
  27. ^ "The Nominations – 1982". Filmfare Awards. Archived from the original on 8 July 2012. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
  28. ^ "The Nominations – 1991". Filmfare Awards. Archived from the original on 10 July 2012. Retrieved 15 December 2010.


External linksEdit