Remembering the unforgettable Rehman, on his 97th birth anniversary today.
Rehman was a well-known Hindi film actor whose career spanned from late 1940s to late 1970s. He was an integral part of the Guru Dutt team, and most known for his roles in films, like Pyaasa (1957), Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1960) and Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962)
From the scheming publisher in ‘Pyaasa’ to the loyal friend in ‘Chaudhvin Ka Chand’ to the decadent husband in ‘Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam’, Rehman played characters of all shades. Born in 1921 in Lahore, Rehman moved to Jabalpur where he completed his education. He joined the Indian Air Force, but quit soon to join Prabhat Studios as third assistant to director Vishram Bedekar. His first brush with acting happened almost by chance. Director D.D. Kashyap, whom Rehman was assisting at that time, urgently required someone to play the role of a Pathan in his film ‘Chand’ (1944). Since Rehman was the only one on the sets who could tie a turban the Pathani way, he got the role. (In film ‘Chand’, the first and foremost composer duo- Husnalal Bhagatram were introduced. They created a melody “Do dilon ko ye dunian, milne bhi nahin deti” sung by a totally unknown singer Manju became an instant hit).
The cameo in ‘Chand’ was followed by more substantial parts in Hum Ek Hain, Nargis, Paras, Pyar Ki Jeet, Dil Diya Dard Liya, and Dost. But it was director Guru Dutt who gave Rehman his best roles in films such as Pyaasa, Chaudhvin Ka Chand, and Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam. Perfectly tailored by Guru Dutt and played admirably by Rehman, these remain amongst the most vivid characters portrayed in Hindi cinema.
Rehman also did key roles in ‘Waqt’, ‘Baharon Ki Manzil’, ‘Gomti ke Kinare’, ‘Dushman’, ‘Holi Ayi Re’. Rehman received four Filmfare nominations as Best Supporting Actor for: Choti Bahen (1958), Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1960), Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962), Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya (1966).
In 1977, he suffered heart attacks after which he got throat cancer and died after a prolonged and painful illness in 1979