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Zaheeda Claiming She Was  Offered Guide Is An Insult To Waheeda Rehman



Waheeda Rehman

Zaheeda  Claiming She Was  Offered Guide Is An Insult To Waheeda Rehman,  Here Is   The  Truth From The Timeless Waheeda Rehman

 In  no  other part  of the world do actors  talk about  the roles that they  did not do. Imagine  Warren Beatty bragging that he turned down The Godfather! In Bollywood actors are constantly  talking about roles they turned down. Some of the claims  sound pretty  hollow.

I am pretty sure Dev Anand  never offered Zaheeda  the immortal role of Rosie  in Guide. At least not seriously. And such claims about roles and performances as iconic as  Guide  should be made  carefully.

For those who came  in late  Zaheeda is  Nargis’ niece  , the daughter of  character-actor Anwar Hussain who made  her debut  in Asit Sen’s Anokhi Raat. She caught Dev Anand’s attention and  he  cast her in two of his  films Prem Pujari and The Great Gambler.

 But Guide??Seriously? It required  a dancer. With due respect, I’ve seen Zaheedaji  “dance” in a  film titled Prabhat. She had  to  dance to a fabulous Madan Mohan-Lata Mangeshkar melody  Saqiya karee aa. Unable to get a single step right,  the director finally ordered  two dancers to  do their thing on both sides  of the frame  while Zaheedaji sat in  the middle lip-syncing to the  song. Imagine what Zaheedaji would have done to Piya tose naina lage re and Mose  Chhal kiye jaa. Not to mention the legendary snake dance.

Some years ago in an  interview with me  Saira Banu had claimed that she too was offered the  unforgettable part  of  Rosy  in  Vijay Anand’s Guide .

When Waheeda Rehman who is  grace personified read this  she was  very hurt. She told a  very close friend of hers,  “But why is  she talking about this  after so many  years? What purpose does it serve?”

Exactly  the  point. What  purpose does  it serve, if Waheeda Rehman was  to proclaim she was offered  Shyam Benegal’s Ankur before Shabana Azmi? Fo  the record, she was.

To set  the record straight, Guide was  seriously offered to  only two actresses Vyjanthimala and Waheeda Rehman. The Guide director Vijay Anand wanted Vyjanthimala whereas  the  film’s producer  and leading man  Dev Anand was keen on Waheeda Rehman.
It’s hard to believe anyone but the timeless Waheeda Rehman playing the mercurial memorable Rosy in Vijay Anand’s classic study of the Indian housewife’s emancipation in Guide.But  she almost said no to  the  offer.

Waheedji shocks me with this revelation.“Guide’ is not just my most iconic film. It was also Dev’s most celebrated work. Yes, you can act as shocked as you like. But the fact is I almost didn’t do ‘Guide’.Hua yun ke, shuroo mein Guide was  to be  directed  by   Raj Khosla . Raj Khosla and I had a difference of opinion during an earlier film. I never worked with him after that. And I wasn’t willing to change that for ‘Guide’ or any other film. But you know how persuasive Dev was. He called up and said,’Come on, Waheeda. Let bygone be bygones. Everyone makes mistakes.’ But I refused to budge. I asked Dev why his brother Goldie (Vijay Anand) wasn’t directing. But Goldie was busy with ‘Tere Ghar Ke Samne .Eventually, Raj Khosla was replaced by Chetan Anand. But he didn’t want me! I laughed. Yeh to achcha hua. One director I didn’t want and the other director didn’t want me. I think Chetan Saab wanted Priya Rajvanshji. But Dev was adamant. They needed a dancer. And Priyaji couldn’t dance. Eventually, Goldie directed ‘Guide’. That’s how I got ‘Guide’. The rest, you know. It’s a film I’m very proud of.’

Waheedaji did seven films with Dev Anand, including ‘Solva Saal’, ‘Kala Bazar’ and his directorial debut ‘Prem Pujari’.

‘So you can imagine our comfort level. In fact, my very first film in Hindi ‘C.I.D.’ was with Dev Anand. I was a big fan of Dev Anand and Madhubala. So can you imagine my excitement and nervousness at doing a film with him. On the very first day on the sets, when I called him ‘Dev saab’ he turned around and said ‘No no, call me Dev’. I couldn’t bring myself to call him by his first name, that wasn’t my upbringing. So I suggested I call him ‘Anandji’. He glared at me and said, ‘Do I look like a schoolteacher to you?’ The next day when I called him ‘Dev saab’, he looked around as though he didn’t know whom I was addressing. I had to finally call him ‘Dev’. And ‘Dev’ he remained until the end,’ she said

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