"He (Mishra) didn't say he wrote the role for me, or anything like that. He was very honest. He said it was a small role of the heroine's mother. But an important one nevertheless. I was happy to accept," said Rehana, who was last seen in Vijay Anand's "Hum Rahe Na Hum" in 1984.
"At my age who will offer me central roles," she wondered.
"Yes, a Sridevi gets to do an 'English Vinglish'. But she has her producer husband to manoeuvre her career. Otherwise actresses past a certain age still don't get roles that do justice to them," added the 61-year-old who won the National Award for her work in "Dastak".
Rehana, who ushered in a sexual revolution with her bold roles in many films directed by her late husband B.R. Ishara, says that she never thought about a comeback.
"I was content in my domestic world. Then things changed (Ishara passed away in July this year). Now I again feel the urge to work. Sudhirji offered me a role when Ishara saab was critically ill. A mutual friend, Ashoke Pandit, was instrumental in putting me in touch with Sudhirji.
"Maybe Sudhirji felt I needed the work because it was reported that my husband and I were not doing too well financially."
Rehana, who lives with her surrogate-son, nephew Shoaib, said: "I'd love to do more roles after 'Inkaar'. In fact, I am hungry for roles now. I enjoyed doing 'Inkaar'. But I can't just stand in a frame. 'Kuch to hona chahiye' (There has to be something)."
Meanwhile Mishra regrets the limited footage offered to Rehana.
"I've admired her work in 'Chetna', 'Dastak', 'Savera', 'Maan Jaiye' and 'Sajjo Rani'. She was an actress way ahead of her times. I think it's a privilege to have her in my film. I wish there was more of her in 'Inkaar'. But there is a sequence where she confronts her daughter. I think there the audiences will be reacquainted with Rehana's brilliance," he said.
Mishra is now working on a script with a role specially written for Rehana.
"We need to write more roles for 40-plus actresses like what Sridevi has done in 'English Vinglish'," he said.