The sudden release of the bio-pic Ek Thi Rani Aisi Bhi, chronicling the life and times of Vijaya Raje Scindia - the Rajmata Of Gwalior, has come as a complete surprise to the movie trade as well as to Hema Malini fans. Produced by Zee Classic and directed by Gul Bahar Singh, the film was completed in 2010. However, it was delayed for various reasons, including lack of funds. In Ek Thi Rani Aisi Bhi Hema plays a woman in search of an identity beyond lineage.
Forget fans, it came as complete surprise to me also, but I am glad it’s finally been released.Hema Mailini
Hema says she is very proud of the film.
I’ve always felt honoured to play historical characters. I remember when Kamal Amrohiji selected me to play Razia Sultan, it was my biggest challenge to learn Urdu, to ride a horse and do sword-fighting. When I was offered the role of the Rajmata Of Gwalior I said ‘yes’ without a second thought. Though I’ve nearly given up acting because of my political and social commitments there was no way I would give up the opportunity to play the Rajmata.Hema Malini
As she got to know the Rajmata for the part Hema felt a deep connection with the Queen who gave up the royal life for public service.
I’ve always identified with roles where a woman voluntarily chooses a life of social service over her affluence. I remember Naya Zamana, Dost and other roles like that. And, of course, Gulzar Saab’s Meera. I’ve never felt more inspired to connected to any character as I do to this one. We screened the film earlier this week at the Siri Fort Auditorium in Delhi. It was attended by the Rajmata’s family members. I was a bit anxious about their reaction to the film and my performance. When they said I looked and acted like the Rajmata I was relieved.Hema Malini
Hema wishes the film could have got a more publicised release.
I hardly do films any more, in fact, I can’t remember my last release. But when I do something special, like this film, I want it to be seen by as much of the audience as possible.Hema Malini
Coincidentally Hema has done two films in the last five years—the Rajmata bio-pic and Ramesh Sippy’s Simla Mirch. Both have been delayed before release.