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I will miss Shakila: Waheeda Rehman

Says Waheeda Rehman, who struck up a friendship with the late actress during Guru Dutt’s CID

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I will miss Shakila: Waheeda Rehman
Waheeda Rehman and Shakila
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Yesteryear actress Shakila, best remembered for her roles in CID and Aar Paar, passed away on Wednesday, September 20, at the age of 82. A  star of the ’50s and ’60s, Shakila has featured in hit songs like Babuji Dheere Chalna, Neend Na Mujhko Aaye and Leke Pehla Pehla Pyaar. When Waheeda Rehman made her debut in CID, Shakila was already a star. But the two struck a friendship that lasted for 62 years. Here, Waheeda remembers her friend and recounts how the two gelled together.

Bichde sabhi baari baari…First my close friend Nanda, then Sadhana and now Shakila. I am losing all my friends. But that’s life, I suppose… Shakila and I go back a very long way, to my very first Hindi film, Guru Dutt’s CID in 1956 where she was the heroine and I was the vamp, and never for a minute did she let me feel like a newcomer. Halaanke woh koi bahot senior nahin thi (She wasn’t too senior to me), but she had done more movies than me in Hindi whereas I was just starting out. She was very nice, very helpful. You tend to remember those who are good to you at the beginning.

“Shakila and I didn’t have even one shot together in CID, but we struck up a friendship that lasted  62 years. She would give me advice on career and life. Later, I worked with Nanda in Kala Bazar and there began another friendship that endured until her death. Then I met Jabeen with whom I never worked, but we had the same dance teacher and hence bumped into one another quite often. Shakila, Nanda, Jabeen and I became an inseparable foursome. We went to movies and dinner together. And we went for picnics to Lonavla and Khandala. In those days, there were wide-open spaces, the air was fresh and clean, bahot saaf-suthri thi hamari duniya and we four girls sang and laughed and shared giggles together. You know, although all three of us were actresses there was never any sense of competitiveness among us. In fact, we never discussed our careers when we met. We spoke about everything else under the sun except films. Those were such happy carefree days. I miss them. And I will miss Shakila. Once she got married and moved to Germany, our communication diminished. There was trouble in that marriage. Shakila moved back to Mumbai and then remarried and moved to London. We were both living in Mumbai during the past years, but we didn’t meet as often as we would have liked to. However, we were constantly in touch right until the end. In fact, I spoke to her just a few days before her death. She told me she had been to Lilavati Hospital for a check-up. I admonished her for not giving me time to meet her. She promised to meet me very soon. She didn’t keep her promise.”

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