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Hema Malini On Working With Ramesh Sippy



Hema Malini

One  of Indian cinema’s most influential  filmmakers Ramesh Sippy turns a  year older on January 23. Indian cinema’s Dream Girl  Hema  Malini recalls her close association with the  filmmaker who  redefined  commercial cinema.

“Rameshji’s first film was Andaz. And I was in it. I was  advised not to  play a widow so early in  my career.But I liked the film and role.The film was  a superhit especially the song Zindagi ek safar hai suhana,” recalls Hemaji.

“We  then did Seeta Aur Geeta which was  one of the most  important films  of my career.People think doing Seeta Aur Geeta was tough for me. In fact, it was a cakewalk. That’s because somewhere even the playful mischievous restless Geeta was part of my outwardly demure personality. So, that was not tough.”

 Seeta Aur Geeta made Hemaji insanely  popular. She recalls  an encounter with former Prime  Minister  the  late  Atal Bihari Vajpayee. When I  met Atalji for the  first time he  wouldn’t look at me. He seemed  very embarrassed. I wondered why.Then someone told me he was a big fan of my film Seeta  Aur Geeta.He had seen it at least twenty-five times.”

As  for Sholay Hema says, “What to say? It is a film  where every  character  every dialogue made history. People liked  my Basanti for her chirpiness. Shooting the  film was tough. We shot Sholay in the  blistering heat  in  a place called  Ramnagara near Bengaluru.I was in full  makeup in my wigs  and  costumes riding the  tonga.I could never do without wigs. During those days we  actresses were allowed  to sport  all kinds  of hairstyles. For Gulzar’s Meera I needed straight hair. For Sholay I  needed  a curly wig. I couldn’t  subject my real hair to so much shock. Once I stopped  using wigs, I  gave them all away to  hairdressers, fans and transvestites.”

45 years after Sholay Hemaji collaborated  again with Ramesh Sippy for Shimla Mirch  about  a single mother, played by Hema Malini, and her daughter (Rakul Preet Singh), who fall in love with the same man.

Says Hemaji. “It was offered to me in the midst of my parliamentary  work.I couldn’t  say no to Rameshji.  I liked my role. But the film didn’t turn out the way it was planned.Hota hai.It’s all part of  the film business. You win some lose some.Films that I  hold really close to my heart like Meera and Razia Sultan have not done well.”

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