Noted documentary maker and film writer Nasreen Munni Kabir's "Conversations with Waheeda Rehman" provides a rare view of the much-adored and award-winning actress of Indian cinema.

In this engaging book of conversations, culled from interviews conducted in 2012-13 by Kabir, Rehman proves to be a lively raconteur, speaking about her life and work, humour and insight: from the devastating loss of her parents when she was young to making a life in cinema on her own terms.

She also gives insightful accounts of working with extraordinary film practitioners like Guru Dutt, Raj Khosla, Ray, Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand and Vijay Anand to her friendship with stars like Nargis and Nanda.

On her alleged affair with Dutt, Rehman only says, "I know we are public figures, but I strongly believe my private life should remain private. What ultimately matters and concerns the world is the work we left behind."

She married actor Kamaljeet Rekhy and has two children.

"It was Mr Ray who asked me to read the novel (R K Narayan's 'Guide') because he was considering adapting it. He told me if the film ever took off, he would cast me as Rosie.

"She had to be a good dancer and he knew south Indians were usually good dancers, and so he had thought of me," recalls Rehman about what would possibly have been a totally different approach to the novel had Ray been its director.


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