“I always admired her simplicity”: Saira Banu sends birthday wishes to Waheeda Rehman

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Mumbai: On veteran actor Waheeda Rehman’s birthday, fellow yesteryear actress Saira Banu on Saturday shared her special wishes for the screen legend while admiring her “simplicity in personal life”. Taking to her Instagram handle, Saira shared a throwback picture along with Rehman and legendary actor and husband Dilip Kumar.

She wrote in her post, “Happy Birthday Waheeda Aapa”!
Saira posted that she had known Waheeda since long, as her mother and the latter stayed in the same building.
“I have known her for long as my mother Naseem Banuji and Waheeda Aapa resided in the very same building at Nepean Sea Road. The first time I saw Waheeda Aapa was at a function in an Auditorium where we were invited and the Chief Guest was Dilip Sahib, whom I was dying to see at any given opportunity,” she said.

She recalled an entertaining event from an auditorium function in which Banu was introduced by the great actor Dilip Kumar. “My mother and I sat with all the prime guests, Waheeda Rehmanji, the poetess cum filmstar Tabassum, the maestro Shankerji of the Shanker-Jaikishan musical team. The compere at the mike started to invite the celebrities onto the stage, of course starting with Sahib. When he called out all the names I was sitting with my mother who was busy signing autographs.

Meanwhile the compere called out the famous celebrities but when my turn arrived, he fumbled and it was like thousands of hours of embarrassment to me, I was drained in nervous perspiration that this man was fumbling to find my name! How embarrassing for me,” she added.

“That very instant, Sahib took the mike from the Compere and said “Saira Banu, daughter of Naseemji, Please come on to the stage”! Imagine my nervousness after this little faux pas by the Compere when I was already struggling to look composed in the newness and discomfort of a Sari. Waheeda Aapa gave me a warm smile as I came on stage. We both seemed very reserved, I with my London upbringing and she always accompanied by her sister. During our school holidays in Bombay from London, we’d often find ourselves in the same lift, where Sayeeda Aapa would exchange pleasantries,” she added.

Recalling the moment when she received glowing praise from the fellow yesteryear screen diva for her beauty, Banu posted, “Shortly, my grandmother, Sultan Bhai, and I returned permanently to Bombay and as luck would have it within a month’s time “JUNGLEE” came about and there was no looking back for me. One day, Waheeda Aapa dropped in to convey to my mother that Guru Duttji wanted to meet us regarding a film. When “JUNGLEE” released, Waheeda Aapa walked over to me and declared “You really are a Beauty Queen”.

I was flattered that she said this to me. I always admired her simplicity in personal life, she hardly wore any make up and seemed very down to earth with no airs and graces. There is a lot to tell when relations go way back in time, I will talk about that time and era at length tomorrow”.

Waheeda Rehman made her acting debut with the Telugu film ‘Rojulu Marayi’ in 1955′. However, she gained popularity with Guru Dutt’s films including ‘Pyaasa’, ‘Kaagaz Ke Phool’, ‘Chaudhvin Ka Chand’, and ‘Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam’.

She is also known for her outstanding performances in cult hits such as ‘Guide’, ‘Neel Kamal’, ‘Ram Aur Shyam’, ‘Reshma Aur Shera’, among others. In 2023, she was conferred with the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Lifetime Achievement Award for her stellar contribution to Indian cinema.

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