Hema Malini’s latest biography authored by Ram Kamal Mukherjee releases on a special day - her 69th birthday. The book titled Hema Malini: Beyond the Dream Girl features a foreword written by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and has some straight from the heart memoirs from the actor’s filmi and political career. Besides Hema Malini - the actor and politician, the biography also has some details from some of her deeply personal moments as well - like the time when she almost got married to actor Jeetendra.
While both Hema Malini and Dharmendra rarely open up about their personal relationship and marriage, the Sita Aur Gita actor has spoken about how she fell in love with the macho Veeru of Sholay in her new authorised biography. Besides speaking about Dharmendra, Hema Malini also recalls auditioning newcomer Shah Rukh Khan for her directorial debut Dil Aashna Hai.
Read these exclusive excerpts below:
Hema Malini on Her Affair with Dharmendra
Hema recalls, ‘The truth was that I didn’t know what I wanted. I knew that I was attracted to him (Dharmendra) but the relationship had no future. In the beginning, we were just good friends. I enjoyed his company. We were paired opposite each other in so many films … there came a time when we were shooting together not just for days or weeks but for months. Soon, it became a habit to be with each other all the time… ‘As time passed, it became more and more impossible to describe what I felt for him, or better still define the relationship. To be honest, I never thought of marrying him. My only argument is that I didn’t fall in love consciously. It’s funny, but I always used to think that whenever I marry, it would be with someone like him. I never thought of it being him, though. It’s destiny and my fortune.’
‘The magazines were full of stories of my affair. Journalists were writing something or the other all the time that rocked the peace at home and led to mounting tension. At that point in time I stopped entertaining film journalists as things were getting worse. My father, suddenly panic-stricken, began summoning astrologers and pundits. He wanted to know what was in my kundali. The delay in my marriage began to worry him, and this tension made him accompany me for my shootings, something which he had never done in his life. In 1975, during the outdoor shooting of Ramanand Sagar’s Charas (1976), we were to be in Malta for weeks. And since I was to be shooting with him (Dharmendra), my father insisted on coming along with me. Often, the cast and crew had to travel together in a car. My father was not happy with this at all. He would order me in Tamil – so that Dharam-ji would not understand what he was saying – to sit in one corner while he would try and sit in the middle. But Dharam-ji would make up some clever excuse or the other to get in from my side, so that I would end up sitting in the middle and he would be beside me!’
‘Today we can laugh over it, but at that time it wasn’t funny. Strangely, my father had no problems with Dharam-ji other than the one related to me. In fact, they got along so well whenever I wasn’t around. They would always be laughing and I would want to freeze the moment. If only they could be like that forever. Everyone in my family adored him … just not as a prospective son-in-law. It’s difficult for me to describe what I went through in those days. I liked him – I couldn’t deny that he was attractive and strong and there was an air of serenity about him. I tried turning away from him. But I couldn’t. There was something inherently good about him. One day, while we were shooting, he suddenly asked me if I loved him. I began to blush and replied indirectly “I will only marry the person I love.” That was my only answer…’Hema Malini: Beyond The Dream Girl
Hema Malini on Auditioning Shah Rukh Khan
Hema confesses that she never anticipated that Shah Rukh would come this far. ‘I never thought that Shah Rukh will become such a big star,’ she tells me. ‘But Indira Ma (her guru-ji) had told me that he would become a phenomenon. When she saw his photograph for the first time she told me that Shah Rukh is a star and he will change the industry. Since then, I knew that something big was going to happen with my movie. The day he signed my film, the same week he had signed four other films, including Deewana, King Uncle (1993) and Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa (1994). Every second day I would come to know that Shah Rukh had signed a new film. That’s when I knew that Indira Ma was right. She could foresee what none of us could.’
Hema remembers how nervous Shah Rukh had been during that first meeting. Apparently, every question of hers was met with a breathless, incoherent reply! The first audition left her dissatisfied. Shah Rukh’s hair had been all over his forehead, making it impossible for her to see the expressions in his eyes. Hema suggested they try again – this time with his hair gelled back and his colourful jacket replaced with a plain tee. The results were satisfactory but just to be doubly sure, Hema called Dharmendra over to come and meet the young actor. Dharam, it is believed, took a liking to the young man instantly.
In a recent interview, Shah Rukh recalled those initial days and his meeting with Hema Malini. ‘I was an odd-looking boy, I spoke too fast and I was not from a film background, but they gave me an opportunity. Hema-ji is not here, but tell me who gets an opportunity in his life to sit across the Dream Girl and she says, “I like your nose, it’s very aristocratic and you got into my film because of that.”’ Vo naak jisko main chhupata phirta tha, vo naak Hema Malini ko pasand hai! (The nose that I went about hiding, that’s the nose Hema Malini likes!)’Hema Malini: Beyond The Dream Girl
(Excerpts used with permission from the publisher.)
Title: Hema Malini: Beyond The Dream Girl
Author: Ram Kamal Mukherjee
Publisher: Harper Collins India
Price: Rs 599 (Hardcover)