Actor Waheeda Rehman will be honoured with the Centenary Award for the Indian Film Personality of the Year at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa's Panaji on Wednesday.
The award has been introduced this year and the actor will receive the trophy on the opening day of the film festival, November 20.
Waheeda received the Padma Shri in 1972 and the Padma Bhushan in 2011. She won the National Award for Best Actress in 1971 for Reshma Aur Shera and Filmfare Awards for Best Actress in 1966 for Guide and 1968 for Neel Kamal.
The IFFI Centenary Award is said to be as prestigious as the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, which recognises excellence in cinema.
Information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari took to his Twitter handle to share the news and he even congratulated the actress.
“Congratulations to Waheeda Rehmanji for being conferred the inaugural Centenary Award for the Indian Film Personality of the year 2013,” he tweeted.
“Award has been instituted to mark 100 years of Indian Cinema. It would be an annual feature. It consists of cash component of Rs10 lakh and a citation,” the minister wrote.
Waheeda was born in Chengalpattu near Chennai in 1936 and not in Hyderabad as is commonly perceived. She started her career with Tamil and Telugu movies and went on to work with Gemini Ganesh in Kaalam Maari Pochu (Times Have Changed) in 1955. The Ganesh-starrer was also made in Telugu, a version that Guru Dutt saw and immediately offered Waheeda the role of a vamp in CID.
There was then no stopping the pair, which went on to create some magnificent Hindi cinema like Pyaasa, Kaagaz Ke Phool, Chaudhvin Ka Chand and Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam. Their chemistry was as haunting as the songs in these works, considered as some of the best the country has ever produced.
Waheeda's riveting performances caught the eye of other directors leading to a strained relationship with Dutt. When Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam was panned at Berlin in 1963, their rift was complete. Dutt committed suicide a year later.
However, Waheeda's career had taken off by that time and she went on to act with some of the most sought after leading men such as Dev Anand (Kala Bazar, Guide), Dilip Kumar (Dil Diya Dard Liya, Ram Aur Shyam), Raj Kapoor (Teesri Kasam) and Biswajeet (Bees Saal Baad). Satyajit Ray also casted her as the warm and vivacious prostitute, Gulabi, in his Bengali film Abhijan.
(Gautaman Bhaskaran will be covering IFFI for the 25th year)