Who Turns 70 Years On October 16
1. She is by far the most successful female actor of Indian cinema with a hit ratio that makes the careers of all other actresses look like dress rehearsals.Hema Malini started her career in Tamil cinema.She performed a dance in the Tamil film Idhu Sathiyam and was all set to make her debut in Tamil . But was rejected by Tamil producers for being “too skinny”. She then migrated to Mumbai from Chennai and was immediately signed by producer Ananthaswamy for Sapnon Ka Saudagar. Hema and her mother had an ugly fall-out with Ananthaswamy for having tied down the debutante to a draconian contract. “I didn’t know what was I was doing, what I was signing, and what it meant. My mother and I were taken advantage of because of our financial ignorance,” says Hema.
2. Hema’s first co-star was Raj Kapoor. Many years later when she was the biggest female superstar of Indian cinema Raj Kapoor offered her Satyam Shivum Sunderam.When Hema heard that she had to walk through most of the film blouse-less she fled. “It was a lovely script with beautiful songs. But I couldn’t do the scenes required by Raj Saab,” says Hema without regret.She never had to feel sorry for what she had to let go.
3. Hema and her Amma(mom)were extremely conservative and prudish when it came to the actress wearing revealing clothes. There were arguments on the sets whenever Hema had to wear anything even slightly revealing.Once during the shooting of Raja Jani when Hema was required to wear a dress that ended at the ankles Amma got so upset that Hema threw the dress in the water while the crew was on a boat to the location. Laughs Hema, “It is true. My mother never allowed me to wear revealing dresses. More than her I was very particular about what I wore.”
4. Hema’s favourite actress and her childhood idol is Vyjanthimala . She has modelled her entire career, from the dancing to the acting on her senior. In Vijay Anand’s Tere Mere Sapne where Hema had a guest appearance she got to play role of an actress named Maltimala inspired by Vyjanthimala.
5. Hema met Dharmendra when they worked together for the first time in Tum Haseen Main Jawan. Sparks did not fly immediately. “I was too shy to say anything to my heroes beyond hello and how are you. But I knewDharamji was the most handsome man I had ever seen. He still is,” says Hema.
6. In her heydays there was no dearth of suitors for Hema . It seems every leading man of those times, married or unmarried , wanted to marry her. But the two heroes who nearly convinced her to do so were Jeetendra and Sanjeev Kumar. Jeetendra even flew down to Chennai with the shaadi ka shagun.He turned him down.As for Sanjeev Kumar , Hema was the only woman he ever wanted to marry.When she turned him down he was devastated. He never recovered. Says Hema, “I don’t know who all wanted to marry me. I only wanted to marry one man.”
7. She was considered the only female actor with a solid boxoffice draw .Rescued the careers of iconic leading men . Manoj Kumar and Rajesh Khanna were both going through a career slump when they asked Hemato join them on screen in Sanyasi and Premnagar, respectively. The two actors staged a comeback with these films. “I never looked at who was my co-star except when I was working with Dharamji. Then it was different. Otherwise I was indifferent.”