I THINK I STILL LOOK TOL­ER­A­BLE: HEMA MALINI

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Front Page - Soumya Va­j­payee Ti­wari soumya.va­j­payee@hin­dus­tan­times.com

The vet­eran ac­tor-MP says that en­dorse­ment of­fers from brands show that peo­ple are still will­ing to watch her at 67

At 67, vet­eran ac­tor and Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment (MP), Hema Malini leaves you mes­merised with her beauty and charm. When we re­cently caught up with her at her res­i­dence, she spoke about a dance show in Mum­bai that she’s or­gan­is­ing in mem­ory of her late mother, Jaya Chakravarthy, on Novem­ber 15. With the con­cert, Hema wants “to pro­mote young clas­si­cal dancers”. Here, she gets talk­ing to us...

How do you look back at your jour­ney in Bol­ly­wood?

I have done a lot, and I feel very happy about it. My jour­ney has been with­out any strug­gles. I got mar­ried at the right time, had chil­dren… so every­thing hap­pened at the right time. But now, peo­ple ask me, ‘Why don’t you act?’ I tell them, ‘How do I act?’ I do ad­ver­tise­ments. That means that I still look tol­er­a­ble, and peo­ple are ready to watch me. Though I would love to do a film, there are no mak­ers (that I would want to work with). Film­mak­ing is dif­fer­ent to­day. There is too much money in­volved. Within two days of a film’s re­lease, it makes mul­ti­ple crores at the box of­fice. All this was not there ear­lier. There were also par­al­lel films be­fore, like the ones made by Gulzarji or Hr­ishikesh Mukher­jee (di­rec­tor). I used to feel great that I could do var­i­ous kinds of films. But to­day, there are no buy­ers for par­al­lel cin­ema.

What is your opin­ion of the industry to­day?

The industry is very good, and even now, many nice films are be­ing made, like Ba­jrangi Bhai­jaan. Things have ad­vanced tech­ni­cally. Mak­ing films to­day has be­come so ex­pen­sive; we are no less than Hol­ly­wood films, and we feel proud about it. But then, there is no place for some­one who would want to make a beau­ti­ful, low-bud­get film.

The world ad­dresses you as Dream Girl. How do you feel?

It feels nice. I am able to main­tain my looks be­cause of dance. I know I have to per­form on stage, so I do my ex­er­cises, yoga, etc. I al­ways have some­thing to look for­ward to. That keeps me go­ing.

What have been the great­est learn­ings for you?

Dis­ci­pline is one of the most im­por­tant things that I have learned. Since I was young when I’d en­tered the industry, I learned how to re­spect peo­ple across age groups.

How has life changed since you be­came a politi­cian?

My role as an MP is very de­mand­ing. I’m glad I’m get­ting to learn so much. Pol­i­tics has been a good tran­si­tion for me. Peo­ple say, “Oh, pol­i­tics is very bad. I don’t want to get into it, politi­cians are bad, etc.” This kind of ap­proach is not right. When you are out there, you learn so much about your coun­try. Also, I like to serve peo­ple.

Both your daugh­ters are dancers. Are they as pas­sion­ate about the art as you are?

No, they are not. I wish they were (laughs). They have just got mar­ried and started a fam­ily. So, they are busy set­tling down.

How does it feel to per­form with them on the stage?

It’s a beau­ti­ful feel­ing. I al­ways tell Esha and Ahaana that I re­ally miss the three of us per­form­ing to­gether. Hope­fully, that will hap­pen soon.

You’re a grand­mother now…

Bahut ac­cha lagta hai. Ahaana’s son is just four months old. I’m very fond of chil­dren, and be­ing with your own grand­son is a very dif­fer­ent feel­ing. I be­have like a kid when I’m with him (laughs).

Do you and Dhar­men­dra ever rem­i­nisce about the time when you worked to­gether for films?

Un­for­tu­nately, I don’t get the time to think about any­thing. But it feels so good when he e-mails some old pho­tos to me (smiles). Af­ter send­ing them, he calls, and says, “Dekha tumne? Abhi dekho.

Among all the songs that were pic­turised on you, which ones are your favourites?

There are so many. Mere Naina Sawan Bhadon (Me­hbooba; 1976), Humein Tumse Pyar Kitna (Ku­drat; 1981), Naam Gum Jayega (Ki­nara; 1977) and Ae Dil-e-nadaan (Razia Sul­tan; 1983) are some of them.

Who have been your idols and best friends in the industry?

Since I started my ca­reer very young, ev­ery di­rec­tor was my guru. My first film was Sapno Ka Sauda­gar (1968), so Ma­hesh Kaul taught me a lot. I also learnt from my Ab­hinetri (1970) di­rec­tor, Su­bodh Mukher­jee. Lekh Tan­don, the di­rec­tor of Sharafat (1970), (late) Asit Sen, and the di­rec­tor of Lal Patthar (1971), Sushil Ma­jum­dar, Gulzar saab, Vi­jay Anand and Ramesh Sippy have all been my teach­ers. Also, work­ing with ac­tors like Raj Kapoor saab, Shammi Kapoor etc was a great learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Then, Dharamji, Manoj Ku­mar, Ra­jesh Khanna, Ji­ten­dra, Shashi Kapoor were the

next gen­er­a­tion.

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