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“The moment an actor is satisfied, he should call it quits”

Legendary actress Waheeda Rehman will be conferred the Indian Lifetime Achievement Awardat the Mumbai Film Festival. Here’s the actress in conversation with Sagorika Dasgupta

What do you think of festivals like the Mumbai Film Festival?Do they help the cause of filmmaking?

It is quite commendable that the festival is growing year on year. The line-up this year speaks volumes of the quality of filmmakers that our Indian audience and various film connoisseurs are being exposed to.Festivals like these are a place to appreciate good cinema and also interact with a lot of like-minded people who dream, eat and live cinema. A plethora of films will be showcased at the festival this year and I am really glad that these films are reaching out to the audience on the big screen.

What is it like to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award?

It is a very wonderful feeling. I am very grateful to MAMI and the Mumbai Film Festival for bestowing such a great honour on me. I would not only like to thank the jury but also all my fans who have loved me and appreciated my work over so many years.

What has your journey as an actor been like?

Are you satisfied with the body of work you can boast about?Actors are a very greedy lot, my dear.And artist can, and should, never be satisfied with their work. The moment an artist is satiated with their work,they might as well call it quits. They are finished! And this holds true for almost every profession.

Which is your all-time favourite film?

I would have to say Guide. But, as I said earlier, despite the fact that the film had great music and I had ample scope to perform and showcase my dance, I was never really satisfied. Just because I loved the film so much didn’t mean I stopped working. I carried on to conquer more.

Apart from acting, is there any other form of filmmaking you would like to try your hand at?

Not really. Usually, the most obvious step for an actor after acting would be direction, but I think direction requires a lot of hard work. Maybe, it’s easier for male actors to give direction a shot. But female actors like me have so many other responsibilities. Women generally move on with their lives and start focusing on their families and kids or other household responsibilities but men have that luxury of time.That doesn’t mean we don’t have good female directors. We have had famous, hard-working directors like Sai Paranjpye, Deepa Mehta and Farah Khan. And I am really proud of the kind of work these women have done. But acting is my first love and I don’t think I would want to try any other aspect of filmmaking.

When will we see you next on the big screen?

Dilli 6 with Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra was my last film. I don’t know when I will do another film. I must say I am really happy that cinema is experiencing such a great period and some of the new directors are doing some fantastic work. I am really impressed with some new-age filmmakers like Farhan Akhtar. I loved his film Dil Chahta Hai. Then there’s Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Karan Johar.

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