The best actor in the history of Hindi cinema is…

Indian film fans and critics and “writers” can barely think beyond Dilip Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Kamal Hassan, Rajesh Khanna, et al when talking of the “greatest actor” produced by Bombay’s film “industry”.

The writer and academic Mukul Kesavan undertakes the necessary course-correction in The Telegraph, Calcutta:

Waheeda Rehman is, by some distance, the best actor produced by Bombay’s film industry in the 1950s and 1960s, and arguably the best actor in the history of Hindi cinema….

“While Guru Dutt is crucial to Waheeda Rehman’s stardom, her roles in his films are circumscribed by his narcissism. Her main task is to look ravishingly beautiful and this she does. It is to Guru Dutt’s credit that he frames her in ways that highlight her loveliness. But that is her role in his films; she’s a lovely prop.

“She is there so that the Guru Dutt character can be reliably loved by someone beautiful while he works his way through several sorts of male angst. It is a tribute to her abilities as an actor that within these constraints she comes across as a believable character.

“Waheeda Rehman is Hindi cinema’s greatest actor but it is a mistake to make that claim, as often happens, on the basis of her work in Guru Dutt’s films. Guru Dutt sprinkled her with stardust; as an actor, she made herself.”

Read the full article: An actor of genius

Also read: Conceited, egotistical, narcissistic, the greatest?

The sexiest South Indian actress is…

Satanic Curse if you ogle at this maami

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14 Responses to “The best actor in the history of Hindi cinema is…”

  1. vaidya Says:

    Every time! How does it do it? Once I again I was drawn in by an interesting claim and clicked on the full article link. If we should not judge Waheeda Rehman on the basis of Guru Dutt’s work, why would you spend 4-5 paragraphs talking about just that work?

    I expected a nuanced argument about why Waheeda Rehman is the best. Instead I got an article which told me
    1. Guru Dutt’s movies were about Self-love, about the martyr, about an artist with a sense of entitlement at odds with a materialistic world which expects him to earn his living through actual work.
    2. Chaudvin ka Chand is about homosocial love between 2 actors and Waheeda is pretty much a pretty prop in that.
    3. Guide, Waheeda’s favourite work, is in fact about Dev Anand’s Self-love.
    4. Teesri Kasam has a good performance from Waheeda even though that is about Raj Kapoor’s Self-Love.

    He makes the claim again at the end, but only says that don’t judge it by her performance in Guru Dutt films. Pray how do we judge then? Or was the article only meant to make the claim and not prove it?

  2. K.C. Belliappa Says:

    Sanjeev Kumar is my pick

  3. the colonel Says:

    In the order of descending importance.

    1. Nargis and raj kapoor. the expression on her face in the rain, under the umbrella..

    2. Waheeda Rehman. Her eyes spoke in the BW era.

    3. The Navel. what a show.

  4. the colonel Says:

    one more

    4. Mehmood.

    5. KN Singh , Pran.

    6 MOgambo.

    7 Jagdeep the Surmah Bhopali.

    ********** and top the list with fearless NADIA.

  5. Pulikeshi the Last Says:

    You are absolutely right this time. WR, the greatest and a dark skinned person from the south besting the light skinned ones in Bollywood.

  6. Rahul Says:

    What an utterly silly article. Clearly the author has a ‘ homosocial’ crush on Gru Dutt and uses Waheeda to articulate his passion. What about Khamoshi, Reshma Aur Shera and so many other gems that had neither GuruDutt nor Navketan in the credit rolls. The silly man says Guide is the lady’s film and then berates her choice not realising that a favourite indicates sentiment rather than judgment.

    Churumuri is also a silly ass for choosing to run this pretentious piece of writing.

  7. A Frivolous Analyser Says:

    I would pick Sanjeev Kumar and Sunil Dutt.

  8. kris Says:

    It is about time for Churumuri and his friends to go back to school (remember Judge Katju’s advice to journalists).

  9. Sanjeeva Says:

    The article is a bunkum to say the least. You just cannot pick someone of your choice and declare as best or worst. How can anyone make comparison in the profession of arts! It is not a running race to decide first, second and third. Everyone is unique in his/her own way. It is a futile debate. Enjoy the portrayal of all the successful ones.

  10. mysore peshva Says:

    yes! waheeda rahman, definitely the greatest:

    finest actor + role model citizen.

    see waheedaji in this song from trishul, when she was 42 — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1s9b8PTYhs

  11. Deepak Says:

    He he he, what a joke – Waheeda Rehman the greatest actor ever!! ROFL, Mukul Kesavan is a typical TOI joker who thinks crap and writes scrap.

  12. harkol Says:

    Best actor? Didn’t we decide it is Manmohan Singh, who has been acting as our Prime Minister for a long time now?

  13. Emptymind Says:

    Why Churumuri obsessed with all loads of craps of bollywood and throw it on us poor kannadigas? What message can white and black era bueatiful lady spinning around a tree can give us? May be it only helps few oldies in this blog in recalling their mischievious past memories :-)

    Want to know the best of all time in entire globe?who can match to his style? See the video below?
    Don’t forget to listen his all time famous quote? Yes my favourite one!!

  14. Emptymind Says:

    here is alternate video of same quote.
    enjoy it.

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