Awards and accolades should rest easily on legends. Waheeda Rehman, no stranger to gilt-edged trophies and titles, will be conferred with another, this time; it’s the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 14th Mumbai Film Festival that begins on October 18. “I’m elated. I feel very proud and am thankful to receive this honour,” she says, with an audible sparkle in her voice. “It’s nice to know that my work is recognised and appreciated till date.”
Having spent sixty years in the film industry, change becomes inevitable: “Change is integral in cinema; however, acting is a constant. My career has transcended decades, waves, technological advances, yet acting always remains about emoting. If I am happy, I will emote accordingly, on screen — this is the only thing that can never change with time. Likewise, with being sad, overjoyed, angry, upset and so on.
” While Rehman wasn’t a trained actor, she admits that her training in Bharatanatyam came in good stead. “It’s helped me feel the moment for every take. The rest is about staying true to one’s craft.”
One was tempted to get her take on today’s actresses, “I liked Vidya in The Dirty Picture. She was so bindaas. I would’ve loved to play her role, though I am a shy person, so we might have had a problem there!” When asked whether she would’ve liked to be an actress in today’s industry, she replied, “Why not!” citing Jab We Met and Kahaani as her favourites.
And what about favourite co-stars from today? “None from the current crop. I’m loyal to Dev Anand, Dilipsaab and Amitabh Bachchan. Amitabh was professional and punctual. After I got married, we had a secret pact as I wanted to spend time with my kids. I had to actually request him to come in an hour late for our films together! There can be none like him,” she reveals.