Waheeda Rehman is one of the most celebrated artists of her time who has also delivered several hits over the past two decades. As she celebrates her 84th birthday today, her fans remember her iconic roles in the likes of Pyaasa, Guide and Kaagaz Ke Phool. A few years ago, when she was working on the film Delhi 6, the director, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, was quite fascinated and impressed by her gesture of not wearing shoes in a temple set.
For inexperienced people, Delhi 6 was a drama film that hit theaters in 2009. The film did not do well at the box office, but was highly regarded for its music and unique coverage. It featured Abhishek Bachchan in the lead role alongside actors like Sonam Kapoor, Waheeda Rehman and Rishi Kapoor.
In a letter written by director Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra, to Pinkvilla, he shared an anecdote from his time working with Waheeda Rehman in the frigid weather of Rajasthan. “We had built a set of a temple under a tree. It was December and the cold in the desert registered minus 4 degrees! Om Puri, Rishi Kapoor, Abhishek Bachchan, Prem Chopra, Vijay Raaz, Atul Kulkarni, Divya Dutta, KK Raina…an eclectic group of performers sat in the temple because it was less windy there. It was 2 a.m. and to keep morale high, I said, ‘Let’s have tea.’” he wrote.
Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra continued the story and said: “Suddenly I noticed that Waheedaji (Waheeda Rehman) was standing barefoot on the marble floor of the temple. Amazed I asked her why she was not wearing anything on her feet while everyone was wearing double socks, sweaters and scarves She replied: ‘Woh mandir hain na (We are in a temple, aren’t we)!’ I said, ‘Madam woh mandir ka ‘set’ hai (It’s just a set)!’ She reasoned: “Hai toh mandir hi na mere dil mein (But in my heart it is still a temple)”
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