Sunday, 22 July 2012

Queen of Grace and Poise - Waheeda Rehman

The 7th Habitat Film Festival 2012 on from July 21, this year is showcasing the celebrated films of graceful actress Waheeda Rehman. Other films are also on in multilingual languages in this much awaited event.
The event kicked off with the screening of the much acclaimed film 'Guide' starring the lovely Waheeda Rehman with the ever romantic, debonair Dev anand. The screening was preceded by a question and answer conversation with Waheeda Rehman on stage. She reminisced about her various roles done till now, how she entered films at a very tender age. Initially her family stayed in the Princely States of Southern India, she was offered a film role in the Malayalam cinema, which was turned down by her father. On her father's death however, her mother was somehow convinced by the director of the film to let her act as it was a role which involved dancing, and her daughter would come to no harm. After a lot of cajoling, her mother agreed, and Waheeda made her maiden appearance as a dancing star down South. The film was a clinical hit and especially the song in which Waheeda had danced became tremendously popular. At the silver jubilee event of this film, she was introduced to Guru Dutt and the rest is history.
Waheeda still retains her innocence, her charm, her face still has that impish smile which made millions of fans lose their hearts to her. This was in ample evidence yesterday at the film festival where the fans and critics alike made a beeline for her, and wanted her autographs as well posed with her for pics.I was no exception.
Coming back to her film's being shown at the film festival. Guide is a masterpiece. Why it's so, was on display yesterday at the screening. Guide is a delightful film in the beginning. The childlike innocence, the gay abandon with which Waheeda performs this role of Rosie, a girl who's born in a dancing family and has inherited those amazing dancing qualities from her mother is a delight to watch. She's unfortunately married off to a much older but wealthier man by her mother, more as a    compromise move by her mother to get her out of this situation. Marco, her aged husband treats her more as an object of desire and she's more like a caged bird over there. When she tries to learn some dancing in Marco's home, she's frowned upon by him and the musicians are turned out by her husband. The cute way, she shows her dissent to that action is so cutely depicted in the movie.
Differences between the couple come to the fore when they go visit some 'caves' and are met by Raju Guide played by the inimitable Dev Anand.
He plays the bridge between the warring couple on many an occasion, whenever the crudity of Marco comes to the fore, but he's unable to keep them together. Rosie tries to commit suicide on two occasions on being unable to bear the brunt of her husband's torture. She's saved on both occasions by Raju Guide, who slowly starts to fall in love with her. Rosie too has a soft corner for him and how she overcomes her fear of life and the celebration of life begins, inspired by Raju, is a treat to watch.
The lovely musical songs like 'Aaj phir jeene ki tamanna hai, aaj phir marne ka  irada hai,' are indeed delightful. 'Mosi chal kiye jaye, dekho saiya baiman' and songs like 'Kya se kya ho gaya bewafa', 'Din dhal jaye haye', 'Gaata rahe mera dil', 'Tere mere sapne ab ek rang hai', all written by lyricist Shailendra and composed by S.D.Burman were indeed a treat to watch. I had the pleasure of meeting Dinesh Shankar Shailendra who is Late Shailendra's son currently working on his autobiographical documentary, due for release in December.
The misunderstandings which develop between Raju and Rosie after she becomes a dancing star are  another turning point in the film, and the dramatic turn of events when Raju is arrested for forging her signature, because he can't bear the thought of Rosie meeting with her estranged husband, Marco.
The end of the film is absolutely wonderful and although somber, brings all the characters Raju once loved, together again. His mother, his love Rosie as well as his friend Gafoor. All in all a masterpiece, that's why it was the first film to win all the major awards of Best Movie, Best Director, Best Actor and Actress at the Filmfare awards in 1967. 
The movie is based on the famous novel by R.K.Narayan by the same name 'The Guide', and directed by 'Goldie' Vijay Anand. The film was a box office hit as well as critically acclaimed for the path breaking performances of both Waheeda Rehman and Dev Anand. It was more of a torch bearer and bold, unheard of role done by Waheeda, the married woman, having a live in relationship with her young Raju Guide. A true masterpiece, and will always remain so. 
Indeed was a privilege to watch the film, as well as meet Waheeda Rehman in person. Cheers to that....

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