“Akshay Kumar has donated so generously for those affected by the current pandemic crisis. So have the Ambanis, the Tatas and so many others. But where is that money going? Are the poor getting any relief? Why have no trains and buses been organized for the migrant workers? They’re walking for hundreds of miles to their homes without food water or shelter? Where is the relief work for these poor people?”
Strong words from the mild-mannered soft-spoken Bollywood diva, the legend among legends Waheeda Rehman who’s as taken aback by the virulence of the virus as we are. “Yeh kahan se aaya. Kyon aaya? I am told there was a plague that struck before I was born. But during my lifetime I’ve never seen anything like this. It is frightening and no one knows how to combat it. When there is a war we can identify the enemy. But in this case, we don’t know who the enemy is.”
Like all of us, Waheedaji doesn’t step out of her home. “Luckily I have three inhouse staff members. Otherwise, I’d have been all alone. Not going out is not such a problem for me. I didn’t go out much in any case unless I had work. Nowadays I spend my time reading, listening to music, cleaning, and cooking up new recipes in the kitchen. I also love photography and I am taking pictures of birds and the skyline from my balcony.”
Which of her movies does Waheedaji recommend during the lockdown?
“How can I recommend my own films? I can tell you my favourite films are Mughal-e-Azam, Sholay and Mother India.”
No Guide in Waheedaji’s list?
“It is up to you to say Guide is worth watching. I can only recommend films of other actors,” concludes the modest and shy Diva who enchanted us in Guide, Reshma Aur Shera, Khamoshi, Kagaz Ke Phool and Pyaasa.