Many of the Gen X persons may be knowing Hema Malini just as an actor of yesteryear, probably a danseuse a politician and a BJP MP from Mathura. Yes. They might not be much aware of her filmography. One another South Indian beauty who invaded the Hindi filmdom after Vyjayanthimala was Hema Malini. In fact, she used bear a strong semblance to Vyjayanthi the time she entered with ‘Sapnon Ka Saudagar’ in 1968 and her hero was Raj Kapoor. That film was not a success but Hema Malini was. Her sharp facial features, height and grace brought her a number of offers; Waris, Jahan Pyaar Mile, Abhinetri, Tum Haseen Main Jawan, Sharafat and, well, the block buster ‘Johnny Mera Naam’ opposite Dev Anand (1970).
After that there was no turning back for Hema Malini; she turned out to be a lucky mascot for all the heroes of Hindi at that point of time. In 1972, Ramesh Sippy’s ‘Seeta Aur Geeta’ catapulted her to the top. Though she starred opposite to Dharmendra who also later became her life partner too, she gave hits with Raj Kumar, Rajendra Kumar, Jeetendra, Sanjeev Kumar, Dev Anand, Rajesh Khanna, Sashi Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor, Randhir Kapoor (she was the only actor who had acted as heroine to all the Kapoors except Rishi in that family), Manoj Kumar, Feroz Khan and Amitabh Bachchan.
She had the good time of successful commercial directors like Ramesh Sippy, Manmohan Desai, Vijay Anand, Pramod Chakravorty, Basu Chatterjee, Dulal Guha, KS Prakash Rao, Bhappi Sonie, Subodh Mukherjee, CV Sridhar, Mohan Seghal, Yash Chopra, KS Prakash Rao, Prakash Mehra, Sohanlal Kanwar, Sakthi Samanta, Feroz Khan, Chetan Anand, Kamal Amrohi and Gulzar. In all her commercial films her presence was felt and they invariably carried catchy songs by Laxmikant-Pyarelal, RD Burman, Shankar-Jaikishen and Kalyanji-Anandji.
Hema Malini had the credit of only appreciation from all her costars and directors as a very cordial but a slightly reserved person. No complaints or tantrums. She featured in a couple of tele serials in Doordarshan also and ‘Nupur’ based on the life of a Bharatanatyam dancer was notable. She was also giving classical performances notwithstanding her several film commitments. She trained her daughters Esha and Ahana too in Bharatnatyam and Kathak and the trio had given stage performances also.
Hema Malini’s roles in Lal Paththar, Kushboo, Andaz, Kinara, Seeta Aur Geeta. Sholay and Tere Mere Sapne and her fag end movie ‘Bhaghbaan’ with Amitabh were appreciated by even her strong critics.
Hema Malini, in my opinion, is a figure of beauty and dignity. She was given the most apt title ‘Dream Girl’. That she keeps maintaining even today. Her sartorial taste is archetypal and most of her appearances in the public or ads will be only in saris representing a typical Bharatiya Nari.I happened to watch her latest movie ‘Shimla Mirchi’ recently where she was again seen as a woman of grace and poise.
Hema Malini is a Libran and was born on 16 October 1948.