Dream Girl Hema Malini says she is keen on getting back to the silverscreen
At 69, when most of her contemporaries would prefer to sit back and relax, Hema Malini is back to performing on stage with her daughters. Her recent performance, Parampara — a bharatanatyam-Odissi dance ensemble, along with her elder daughter Esha Deol, at the HCL Concerts in New Delhi, testifies why she is still considered the Dream Girl. Resembling a beautiful sculpture, dressed in a yellow-red sari, adorned with jewellery from head to toe, the danseuse presented a scintillating performance.
In fact, when we met her at her residence prior to the show, we noticed how her body language and gestures were akin to graceful dance movements. “Dance and films have been part of my life, I cannot separate one from the other. I am known for both. I have enjoyed filmmaking too, but that’s past and I am living in my past glory, but I continue to dance,” says the actress. Parampara was also special for the actress because her first daughter, Esha, was making a comeback to the stage after her marriage and delivering her first baby.
Though the mother-daughter ensemble has been performing for over a decade, the actress says, “Comfort level is great between us but now they (Esha and Ahana) are married, it is different. They have more family responsibilities. It’s interesting to evolve with time in relationships, and dance is our link. Esha insisted on performing this time, so I encouraged her and always tell her to keep at it,” says the doting mother.
But not many would know that though the actress and her daughters are sought- after for dance shows now, at one point, husband-father, Dharmendra, was disapproving of his daughters dancing. Though his wife was keen that her daughters pick up any dance form, it took a while for the father to be convinced.
“Initially Dharamji did not want his children to dance at all. But, dance is an expression of happiness and I used to say that our daughters are automatically dancing. He wasn’t happy about it. But now he encourages and supports us a lot. He wants us to continue dancing because he thinks it is dignified and graceful and understands that people appreciate us,” says the actress.
Adapting to change
Talking about today’s reality television shows, she recollects an incident when a contestant had danced on her popular number, Mere Naseeb Mein from the film Naseeb (1981). “Back then I was uncomfortable with the choreography. So when I saw this really talented child doing a pole dance to the same number, I was shocked! The girl was brilliant but I hadn’t imagined this song to be choreographed for a pole dance,” she admits.
Another fact about both Hema Malini and Dharmendra is that both of them never put their children’s pictures out in public for a really long time and this reflects how much they valued their private life. Even today, there aren’t too many images of Hema’s grandchildren that are doing the rounds on the Internet. When we ask her what she thinks of other actors who keep putting out their children’s minutest of updates online, she gives a disapproving look, yet diplomatically says, “Let parents do what they want to. But I feel celebrity parents’ children are troubled a lot, which is not right. They are judged all the time. Children won’t like it. They have their individuality and they are talented, and yet they have to face a lot and it’s not fair.”
Though Hema Malini has been seen on and off in films in the last decade, it’s Baghban — her comeback film — that’s remembered most. Her style, wardrobe and grace set all sorts of goals for women in their late 50s. Her fans and audience await to see another Baghban and the veteran actress agrees completely, “Everyone’s desire is for one more Baghban. I wish for the same too. But nothing is happening now. I think once actors enter politics, filmmakers think we won’t give time to films. I am open to any role, if the subject is good. Even if it is a negative role, I will do it because I want to get back to films.”
Not just in front of the camera, the actress had donned the role of a director in 1992 when she made Dil Aashana Hai starring Shah Rukh Khan and Divya Bharti. Though the film didn’t do well back then, it certainly was a new subject with women protagonists. Talking about her experience behind the camera she says, “It was completely my concept and was based on a book that I had read. It was Shah Rukh Khan’s first film, I gave him the first break,” she recollects fondly.
Unfortunately the film had tanked at the box office. Despite that, the actress is keen on going behind the camera to direct but with a few conditions. “Today the biggest problem filmmakers face is finance. It is too expensive. I don’t want to take the risk. But I am willing to direct, if someone calls me to do it,” she signs off, with a smile.