The frenzy around Hindi film stars is not something that shocks us anymore as with the advent of social media, we have all seen videos and photos where thousands of people gather to catch a single glimpse of their favourite star. However, before social media made it easier to access the stars, the craze around seeing your favourite film actor was massive. In the book Conversations with Waheeda Rehman, the actor had shared that back in the 1960s, a mob of students surrounded her in a train as she was traveling back from a film shoot with Raj Kapoor, all because they wanted a glimpse of her.
Waheeda, in a conversation with Nasreen Munni Kabir, had shared that when she was shooting with Raj Kapoor for Teesri Kasam in Bina, Madhya Pradesh, they had one of the wildest fan encounters. Waheeda shared that she was getting to leave the city via train with Raj Kapoor, her sister and her hairdresser. The Guide actor shared that they settled in their train compartment, heard the train start but then it suddenly stopped. They thought that it must be a technical problem but this happened a few times, which concerned them a little bit.
She recalled, “Finally, we looked out of the compartment window to see what was going on. The railway station at Bina was very small and on either side of the train, we could see huge crowds of students on the platforms. Then we heard people shouting, ‘Utro, utro, dekhna hai, dekhna hai’ (Get down. We want to see you).” By this time, someone came and told Raj Kapoor that he should talk to the student leader and request the crowd to calm down so they can leave.
“They told Rajji that the local students had wanted to watch the shooting of Teesri Kasam, but were repeatedly given the wrong location address by the production team. By the time they cycled to the spot, having bunked their classes, they could not find a soul there. Apparently, this had happened over many days and so they did not get the chance to see Rajji and me. Now they were very insistent about seeing us” recalled Waheeda.
Raj Kapoor put his foot down upon hearing this and told them that they had already seen him, but Waheeda won’t come out. Waheeda shared, “Rajji immediately said, ‘You have seen me, but Waheeda Rehman is not coming out.’ ‘Why not? We’re her fans.’ He was adamant, ‘No, she won’t come out. She is a woman’.”
Raj Kapoor’s reason did not go down well with the mob as they gave an ultimatum that Waheeda must see her fans, or they won’t let the train leave the station. Raj ignored the statement and said a blanket no. She recalled, “Then he closed the compartment door. That did it! The crowd became furious and started hurling stones and hitting the train with big iron bars. They did not let the train move an inch. We had to duck down in our compartments to avoid being hurt while Rajji was getting more and more enraged. He wanted to go out and confront the crowd. His friends tried to restrain him and, when they realised they couldn’t, they pushed him into our compartment and said, ‘Ladies! Take care of him. He has gone wild.'”
Waheeda recalled that she, along with her sister and her hairdresser, had to physically restrain Raj Kapoor so he could be held inside the compartment. She said, “The three of us had to literally pin Rajji on to the seat. I sat on his chest while my sister held on to his legs. He became red as a tomato and tried to wriggle out of our grip while we were struggling to keep him down. We kept imploring him, ‘No, Rajji, no!’ To which he protested, ‘Let me go! Let me go!’ It became such a drama — but maybe I should say a comedy.”