Union minister of information and broadcasting Anurag Thakur on September 26 announced Waheeda Rehman as the recipient of the 53rd Dadasaheb Phalke Lifetime Achievement Award. Waheeda Rehman is a veteran actress and danseuse known for films like Pyaasa (1957), Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959), Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1960), Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962), Guide (1965). She received the Padma Bhushan in 2011.

Following the announcement, several social media users shared a video of an elderly woman dancing to the song Aaj Phir Jeene Ki Tamanna Hai from Guide (1965) claiming she was Waheeda Rehman.

On X (formerly Twitter) user @kshitiz_m shared it with the caption: “At her age of 85, Waheeda Rehman is dancing with same grace and elegance”. (Archive)

@ShobhnaYadava, who is an anchor at @ZeeNews, shared the video with the same claim. (Archive)

Another X handle named Mumbai News @Mumbaikhabar9 shared the video clubbed with a clip from the original picturization of the song with the caption “Watch actress Waheeda Rahman dance with grace at the age of 85.” (Archive)

The video is viral on Facebook as well, which can be seen here.

Fact Check

A keyword search led us to a post by X Blue user @FilmHistoryPic, who shared the video with the caption, “This is not Waheeda Rehman. She is Sunila Ashok, a dancer and former teacher. She has a YouTube channel.” (Archive)

Next, we did a keyword search on YouTube and found a video posted on January 2, 2022, on a YouTube channel called Mayookha. The ‘About’ section of the channel says, “… Dance has been a sincere practise and a great source of joy throughout my life… I have now decided to document my current performances. I hope you enjoy the videos as much as I enjoy making them. – PM Sunila Ashok”

The video in question is titled “Mayookha – Aaj Phir Jeene Ki Tamanna Hai (Dance Cover)”.


The ‘description’ says, ‘Aaj Phir Jeene Ki Tamanna Hai’ has been beautifully choreographed by Anoushka Sachdeva (@aangan_ tedha) during the initial month of my joining her dance class.

The lyrics are in sync with my thoughts, my mood and my plans for my onward journey with Mayookha, so I felt that this song is perfect for a new year release.

Thank you Prasanna Aunty, Suni, Appu and Shraddha for welcoming me to your beautiful home and letting me record my video in your lovely garden. I have been fortunate that the monsoon clouds gave way to sunshine for the brief period when I could quickly record my dance.”

We also checked the Instagram account of Sunila Ashok. Her bio reads: “Dancer Not Waheeda Rahman. Follow my journey, my attempts to perform different dance forms as I set forth to rediscover my childhood passion for dance!”.


The viral video has also been posted on the Instagram page on September 26 with the caption: “Woke up this morning to a flurry of messages from my family & friends. My video for ‘Aaj phir jeene ki Tamanna hai’ seems to have gone viral as Waheeda Rahman’s dance video! I am greatly honoured to be compared to her and I am overwhelmed with all the love and appreciation I am getting from my viewers! Mayookha has only one important message – pursue your passion, irrespective of your age. It is a source of joy and contentment like nothing else”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Sunila Ashok (@mayookha_sunila)

We can thus conclusively say that the viral dance video of Aaj Phir Jeene Ki Tamanna Hai is that of Sunila Ashok, and not of veteran actress Waheeda Rehman, as claimed by many.

Shreyatama Datta is an intern at Alt News.

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