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Waheeda Rehman

Waheeda Rehman in Pyaasa (1957)
Born May 14, 1936 (1936-05-14) (age 73)
Chengalpattu, Tamil Nadu, India
Other name(s) Waheeda Rahman
Waheeda Rehman Singh
Waheeda Rahman Singh
Occupation Actress
Years active 1955 - 1991, 2002 - Present
Spouse(s) Kanwaljeet Singh (1974 - 2000 His Death)

Waheeda Rehman (Hindi: वहीदा रहमान), born on 14 May 1936 is a famous Indian film actress who appears in Bollywood movies.


Early life

One of the most prominent actresses of the golden era, Waheeda Rehman was born into a traditional Muslim family in Chengalpattu, Tamil Nadu, India[1]. Her father a District Magistrate.[2]

In an interview to Times of India she said that[3]. “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.”

Her dream was to become a doctor but due to circumstances and illness, she abandoned this goal. Instead she was trained in Bharatnatyam and prodded by her supportive parents, hit the silver screen with the Telugu film Jaisimha (1955), followed by Rojulu Maraayi (1955).


Waheeda Rehman was discovered by Guru Dutt in a film and was brought to Bombay (now Mumbai) and cast as a vamp in his production C.I.D. (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., Guru Dutt gave her a leading role in Pyaasa (1957). It was at this point that she got involved in an unsuccessful love affair with Guru Dutt. Their next venture together, Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959), depicted the story of a successful director's decline after he falls for his leading lady. Guru 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 the film's indifferent reception at the Berlin Film Festival in 1963. Soon afterwards, Guru Dutt died on 10 October 1964 in Mumbai reportedly from an overdose of sleeping pills and alcohol. Waheeda Rahman was cast as "Gulabi" in Satyajit Ray's Bengali film Abhijan in 1962.

Later career

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. At around this time, Kamaljeet who starred opposite her in Shagun (1964)) proposed to her. She accepted and they were married on 27 April 1974. After her marriage, she shifted to a farmhouse in Bangalore. She bore two children named Sohail and Kashvi. After her appearance in Lamhe (1991) she retired from the film industry for 12 years. On 21 November 2000, her husband died following a prolonged illness. She moved back to her ocean view bungalow in Bandra, Bombay where she lives currently.

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

In October 2004, a Waheeda Rahman 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. She was and still is a big Diwani Handi (Asian Dish) fan.



Selected filmography

Filmfare Award
Preceded by
Meena Kumari
for Kaajal
Best Actress
for Guide

Succeeded by
for Milan
Preceded by
for Milan
Best Actress
for Neel Kamal

Succeeded by
Sharmila Tagore
for Aradhana
Preceded by
Lata Mangeshkar
Lifetime Achievement
Shammi Kapoor

Succeeded by
Ashok Kumar
Sunil Dutt


  1. ^ Guru Dutt was my mentor: Waheeda/
  2. ^ [ e e n a d u . n e t - h e a r t & s o u l o f a n d h r a]
  3. ^ [1]

External links

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