An artiste remembers

The world inside Sahil — Waheeda Rehman's Bandra Bandstand-facing bungalow in Mumbai — is that of understated elegance. Soft colours adorn sofas and couches. Dimly-lit lamps add to their softness as dainty artefacts ensure a touch of élan. Plants, lined up in the adjacent balcony, however, break the dominance of earthy tones with different shades of green.

The atmosphere matches the persona of Rehman. And that may not be a coincidence. The yesteryear actor has always embodied grace. Proof: a large watercolour portrait of the actor, painted in 1961, on the living room wall. It captures her in a moderately-embellished black-and-white sari and simple, yet chic, jewellery. Seated in her enclosed patio, she does not appear very different from that image — barring her short grey hair and a few lines on her face.

She beams in response to the compliments regarding her home's décor. "My daughter Kashvi has done it up," says Rehman, now a full-time mother and homemaker. The actor had moved to a farmhouse near Bengaluru after her marriage to actor-turned-businessman Shashi Rakhi in 1974. His illness, however, brought her back to Mumbai nearly 12 years ago. "Medical facilities are better in Mumbai," she says. After Rakhi's death, running the household and looking after her children (she also has a son, Sohail, who divides his time between Mumbai and Bengaluru) takes up most of her time. "I keep myself very busy with the house and spend time with my friends. We watch movies together, mostly when Salim Khan and Helen (who live in the same compound) hold private screenings," says she.

However, after the announcement that she will be honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Mumbai Film Festival (MFF), which opens on October 18, the focus is back on the actor's life and career. Yet, she is hardly the one to look back. "I am happy with good memories. I don't dwell on bad ones like losing my parents at an early age, my husband and other close relatives. I try to live in the present," she says. Yet, she is not immune to the gnawing regret that most artistes share. "I could have done better," she says.

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