Thursday, December 6, 2007

Wahida Rehman - powerful actress of bollywood

Wahida Rehman – the versatile actress of Bollywood.

Indian bollywood is generally dominated by actors and heroes for the last 50 years. But due to the sheer brilliance of some powerful actresses female dominated films also gained prominence. Wahida Rehman, the powerful actress of 50s, 60s and 70s belong to that category, where depth of acting had outplayed her glamour and choreographic skills. Born on 14th May, 1936, she made her debue in film CID, 1956, where Guru Dutt was the producer. It was the role of a vamp girl, but ultimately Wahida Rehman helped the hero to unearth the truth relating to a murder mystery.

After performing in films like Solwa Saal with Dev Anand, Wahida Rehman got the scope of acting in the role of a tawaif in Guru Dutt’s Pyaasa, 1957. The story depicted the evil effects of materialism, where the brothers were not prepared to recognise their relatives unless there was any monetary consideration. Wahida Rehman even being a tawaif, had shown the spark of humanity in a society where the fellow students (Mala Sinha) failed to show the same spirit.

She also dramatised the character of a heroin in Guru Dutt’s Kagaz Ka Phool, 1959, which depicted the darker side of filmworld. When one or two films become successful, the celebrities became exceedingly popular and the moment one film fails, the same persons loose recognition. It has been an eternal truth. Geeta Dutt’a song “wakt ne kiya kya haseen sitam” in the same film picturised on Wahida Rehman became a big hit. Her combination with Guru Dutt was well appreciated in the film Chaudavi Ka Chand, 1960, where she depicted the purdanashin character of muslim educated society.

Wahida Rehman’s ability to go deep into the characters she had played compelled Satyajit Ray to cast her in the film Abhijan, 1961, where she played the role of the wife of a car driver, and showed the fate of rural women in the state of Bihar and its outskirts. She used broken Bengali, and critics across the world acknowledge the fact that she had hardly acted in the film, everything was natural.

In the 60s, with the advent of coloured films, Wahida Rehman, transformed her image into glamourous heroin and contributed in musical blockbusters. She had shown her dancing capabilities in Dev Anand’s Guide, 1965, where songs like “piya tose naina lage re”, “aaj phir jine ki tamanna hai” were super hits. In Raj Kapoor’s Teesri Kasam, 1966, she blended her classical dance skills into the rural dance theme used in fairs (nautankis) held in rural India. Shankar Jaikishan’s composition and Lata and Asha’s songs including “a a bhi ja”, “mare gaye gulpham”, “pan khai saiwa”, etc., were super duper hits. Wahida Rehman balanced Dilip Kumar’s outstanding performance in the films Dil Diya Dard Liya, Ram aur Shyam, Aadmi, 1967, etc., with her romantic performance. In all these films she also displayed her choreographic skills. She played significant roles opposite Rajender Kumar in the film Palki, Dharti, etc. Besides she had also displayed a weird character in the film Neel Kamal opposite Raj Kumar and Manoj kumar.

Besides Wahida Rehman had the record of choosing challenging roles throughout her career. In 1961, she performed in a ghostly character opposite Biswajeet, in the film Bees Saal Baad, where the Bengali role was played by Manju Dey, in Jighansa, an adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Hound of Baskervilles”. Again she performed the role of nurse who treated insane patients by showing them that she was their better half and became insane at the end of the film Khamoshi, 1969. She had also showed the character of rural women in the background of Rajasthan in the film Reshma Aur Shera, 1971, and received national award for best performance.

In the 70s and 80s, she had acted in character roles, and her performance in Kabhi Kabhi, 1975, opposite Amitabh Bacchan, was well appreciated. In the 80s, she played a significant role in Gulzar’s film Namkeen, where she portrayed the character of a mother of three children who interacted with a truck driver who showed sympathy for the family. She showed the anxiety of a widow in a needy family and kept her mark opposite Sanjeev Kumar, Shabana Azmi, Sharmila Tagore, who were the co-performers in the film. Besides her performance opposite Dilip Kumar, in Mashal, 1984, where she supported her husband as a middle class journalist, and died in the film for lack of treatment out of poverty, is worth mentioning.

If Madhubala is remembered for her glamour, Vaijayantimala is appreciated for her dancing capabilities, then Wahida Rehman is sublime in her experimental roles where characters became lively due to her strong performance. Wahida Rehman’s films should be restored in an archive to show that popularity can be achieved by sheer brilliance of performance.


A S MURTY said...

Great article to begin with Mr. Souvik. Thanks for the same. I also like her movies PATHHAR KE SANAM and Reshma Aug Shera. Her song - PHIR TERI KAHANI YAAD AAYEE PHIR TERA FASANA YAAD AAYA from DIL DIYA DARD LIYA perhaps was such a beautiful composition from Naushad Sahab.

Souvik-indrajalik said...

Wahida Rehman was even sublime in male oriented films like Mujhe jeene do, where the role of dacoit was played by Sunil Dutt. In fact, just like art film actresses including Shabana Azmi, Wahida Rehman never had shown unnecessary mannerism. She was initially selected by Shyam Benegal in the role in Ankur, which was eventually given to Shabana Azmi which made her a star.
Souvik Chatterji.



towsif said...

I think wahida rehmanan's acting is excellent after observing movies like Teesri Kasam, Guide,Sahib Bibi Aur Gulam, Pyasa, Kaagaj Ke Phool and her coriographic skill is also excellent.

Anonymous said...

I think Waheeda Rehman was a complete actress.Glamorous execptionally talented dancer and of course a brilliant actress.Her eyes used to convey sensual messages which left the audience enthralled and begging for more