“A thing of beauty is a joy forever”, said the famous English poet John Keats, and it sits perfectly with the life of veteran actress Waheeda Rehman. In the history of Bollywood, there has never been someone so perennially charming and elegant as the legendary actress. Her career of more than six decades plus the versatile and memorable roles as Gulabo, Rosie, Hirabai and many others prove it. And off the screen, in her public life, she always was and continues to be an epitome of external as well internal beauty and grace that touches the nerve of every individual. Saregama salutes the Bollywood star as she turns 84 and aims to take you down memory lane. 

Her early life had many ups and downs. She was born on February 3, 1938, in Madras to Mohamed Abdul Rehman and Mumtaz Begum, and she was the youngest of four sisters. All the sisters were trained in Bharatanatyam at a young age. Her father was a district magistrate, and thus the family moved quite a lot. At the age of 13, her father died. Although she wanted to pursue medicine, destiny pulled her into the film industry. As she was a trained dancer, she broke into the scene with the Telugu movie Rojulu Maraayi in 1955. 

Soon, she caught the attention of none other than legendary director Guru Dutt due to her dancing abilities. Thus, she was soon offered the opportunity in Bollywood film, and she grabbed it successfully. She and her ailing mother reached Mumbai, and her film journey began. Her first Hindi film was CID 1956 with Dev Anand, where she gave a brilliant performance. Guru Dutt and Waheeda Rehman director and actress combination flourished and gave many superhit cult classics such as Pyaasa 1957, Kaagaz Ke Phool 1959, Chaudhvin Ka Chand 1960, Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam 1962

Her pairing with yesteryear legend Dev Anand was successful as well. Guide 1965 was one of the biggest blockbuster hits of that time. She broke stereotypes that surrounded an Indian heroine of her time by playing unconventional roles. Her collaboration with Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Rajesh Khanna, Sunil Dutt, Amitabh Bachchan brought great results. She was one of the highest-paid actresses during a phase in the 1960s. 

Some of her other hits include Teesri Kasam 1966, Neel Kamal 1968, Khamoshi 1970. Throughout the 1970s, she was at the top of her game and acted in several hit movies like Kabhi Kabhie 1976, Trishul 1978, Namak Halaal 1982, Chandni 1989. After her movie Lamhe 1991, she took a sabbatical. She later acted in a few films and one of them was Rang De Basanti 2006. She played all the roles with aplomb and won the hearts of the audience. The highlights of her acting were the raw natural emotions that she displayed, charismatic persona and flair with which she immersed herself in each of the widely different characters. She won three Filmfare awards for best actress and many other honours, such as Padma Shri in 1972 and Padma Bhushan in 2011. 

Saregama wishes a happy and healthy 84th birthday to the living legend.