‘Musalman ladki Bharatnatyam kar rahi hai’: When Waheeda Rehman impressed C Rajagopalachari

‘Musalman ladki Bharatnatyam kar rahi hai’: When Waheeda Rehman impressed C Rajagopalachari

Veteran actor Waheeda Rehman recently recalled memories of her first dance performance. She turned guest in the new episode of Arbaaz Khan’s chat show The Invincibles where she talked about her journey in the film industry and shared several known-unknown facts. She said she wanted to learn dancing when she was only 7 to 8 years old. (Also read: Javed Akhtar on making controversial comments in Pakistan: ‘Yahan nahi darte wahan kya darna?’)

Waheeda Rehman made her acting debut with the Telugu film Rojulu Marayi (1955) at the age of 17. Dance remained a crucial part of her career. She delivered hits like Pyaasa (1957), Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959), Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1960) and Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962). Her last outings were Aamir Khan-starrer Rang De Basanti (2006) and Abhishek Bachchan and Sonam Kapoor’s Delhi 6 (2009).

Talking to Arbaaz who asked her about her first dance performance, the 85-year-old actor said she had performed for India’s first viceroy C. Rajagopalachari. She shared, “C. Rajagopalachari, unka program bana Visakhapatnam ane ke liye (He was to visit Visakhapatnam) where my father was posted at that time. Unhone kaha Kamala Lakshman, MS Subbulakshmi ko bulao…aur pata nahi kisse…Toh Delhi se ek telegram aya saying artist has to be local; nobody outside Visakhapatnam. Fir bhi unhone idhar-udhar dhundha toh koi veena bajane wale mil gaye, dance ka kisika ho nahi raha tha (They need local artists for the show but were unable to find any except some sitar players).”

“Toh unhone kaha Rehman (Waheeda’s father) abhi toh tujhe karana hi parega apni beti se dance. During the show, C Rajagopalachari ne puch ye naam announce kia, Waheeda Rehman, toh Musalman ladki hai? Maine aaj tak nahi suna Musalman ladki Bharatnatyam kar rahi hai (They persuaded my father to make me perform. After my name was announced in the show, C Rajagopalachari wondered how a Muslim girl is performing Bharatnatyam dance),” she added.

She also said that C Rajagopalachari also went on to praise the senior actor’s father who served as an IAS officer at the time. She quoted the Viceroy saying for her father, ‘I would like to meet him. Very bold and brave of him.’ She also recalled that her photo from the event was published the next day on the front page of a newspaper. In the photo, she has been presented with a medal.

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(With Inputs from hindustantimes)