To play his dancer-mother in Vishwaroopam 2 in 2018 Kamal Haasan went ambitiously to Vyjanthimala who politely showed him the door. He then approached another Bollywood legend Waheeda Rehman who rather reluctantly agreed.
Waheedaji had laughingly revealed, “It’s the role of an aging ex-dance. I play a woman in a wheelchair. But to show my past as a dancer Kamal Haasan decided to morph my face from my young Guide days .I am lucky to be still getting roles at my age. Getting meaty characters is impossible for actresses beyond a certain age. And it isn’t just in India. In Hollywood older actresses are equally starved of substantial roles.”
Said Waheedaji, “Even Susan Sarandon whom I met in Goa a few years ago faces the same problem. I am a big fan of Sausan Sarandon and Meryl Streep. But where are the roles for them? Meryl Streep, in fact, made a statement that she would quit Hollywood because there are no roles for her. Luckily I never had to make such threats. I was never that ambitious.But I am not willing to play the typical grandmother, mother or aunt.”
Waheedaji sees great irony in the fact that the rules are different for the male actors. “Amitabh who is almost my age still gets to play a variety of roles.The rules are different for actresses. I was lucky to have done some interesting roles in my career.”
The most interesting role of Waheedaji’s career was Rosy in Guide.The ageless actress advises filmmakers against re-making it. “Hollywood would never dream of remaking Gone With The Wind. Likewise we should not remake Guide or Pyaasa. These classics just happened. Even directors who make these classics are unable to repeat their achievement.After Dr Zhivago David Lean made Ryan’s Daughter which was equally brilliant. But it did not get the same kind of success. Classics are not made. They just happen.”