Rehana Sultan was born to Baha’i parents in Allahabad in 1950. She came to fame through her two movies: Dastak, and Chetna, which got her critical appraisals; Dastak got her a National Award for Best Actress. She is known in the industry as someone taking up bold roles with such finesse and getting the sexual revolution in place, since 1970’s. Recently seen in Sudhir Mishra’s
Inkaar (2013) playing as Chitrangada’s mother, she remembers her past, and how she forgot what it meant to be relaxed and free. She recalls her times when she was awaiting her high school results, and she happened to see FTII advertisement for an acting course. With her father’s advice, she filled the admission form, with no hopes of getting selected. Once selected, she was taken by her father to Delhi for auditions. And since then there was no looking back for Rehana Sultan.
Someone without stage experience, Rehana was auditioned by distinguished luminaries like B.R. Chopra and Gajanand Jagirdaar. In an interview, with a reporter, Rehana recalls how her father was supportive of her passion. She says, coming from a Baha’i background, she was free to choose her career, but her father had a little hitch, as her daughter was entering a male-dominated industry that might have difficulty in being alone and independent. However, when Jagirdaar happened, it convinced him that she would prosper and grow in the industry.
Rehana was used to a laid back and lazy lifestyle of a small town. With her selection in FTII, it took her time to adjust constant drills of her course. She turned aloof and ignorant. It was later her professor, Roshan Taneja who helped her come back on track. With his constant guidance and support, she bagged a gold medal for the best student during her course. To add to these, she also was able to bag a film from the renowned Rajendra Singh Bedi, opposite Sanjeev Kumar!
Though the adult films aesthetically and artistically portrayed sexuality, Rehana feels it hindered her from getting a ‘girl next door’ type roles in future.
Age has been kind to her, because she still glows like she used to, in yesteryears. With her short role in Sudhir Mishra’s flick ‘Inkaar’, (who was quite surprised by Rehana’s hold over the character, even after a long 15-year break) Rehana is preparing for more meaty roles in future. So, we are yet to see some more of her in coming years!