Hema Malini: The Authorized Biography
Author: Bhawana Somaaya
Publisher: Roli Books
Price: Rs 495
Giving a peep into her much hyped unconventional marriage, dream girl Bollywood star, danseuse-turned politician Hema Malini has said not many would believe but she never thought of marrying Dharmendra.
"I don't say that what happened was the best option. Nobody calculatedly falls in love. It just happens! Whenever I thought of my life partner, I always imagined someone like him - handsome, strong, with a peaceful face, but never him. It was however, destined that it had to be him," she has said in Hema Malini, her authorised biography by film critic Bhawana Somayya.
On her marriage with Dharmendra Hema says when she and "Dharamji" agreed to come together, marriage was the only solution. "We shared a few good years together and the result is our two beautiful daughters. I console myself that had I been into a regular marriage with the regular responsibilities of other wives, would I have been able to evolve and grow the way I did?" Dharamji trusted me and encouraged my pursuits. Always concerned and demonstrative in our private space, his reassurance has instilled confidence in me," Hema says.
The actress, who has dabbled in all the visual mediums- stage, cinema, television and even commercials endorsing products that ranged from tea to mosquito repellent says she is in a different world altogether now and is enjoying her role as a parliamentarian.
She does not know about the future but at the moment she is enjoying her life. She is, however, happy that Dharmendra has found an outlet in politics.
"That I should be attracted towards him and none of my other heroes was providential. That I was willing to risk societal pressures and moral accusations were the will of God," Hema says.
Her advice to heroines keen on settling down - they must do so before they turn thirty. Later, it becomes difficult to start a family. At the end of the day, you need someone beside you to share your life and thoughts, Hema asserts.
Hema admits, a trifle hesitantly, that she was denied many such moments. "The best of partners drift away with time because of lack of passion, and in my case he was already committed when we came together. There are special moments in your children's life, and again, he has prior commitments. There are milestones in your career and his, and one is not together because making an appearance together becomes a statement. It makes other loved ones uneasy, so you have to withdraw, understand, let go and swallow your hurt and you do just that", she says.
She sometimes wonders if life would have been different had she married an IAS officer or a top rank engineer, the kind of person her father would have wanted for her. Then, may be she would have settled down in Chennai or the US, spent her time dishwashing in a swanky apartment or perhaps running a dance school.
"Its a different world altogether. Life in Delhi is very different from the film fraternity in Mumbai where everyone is so self-centred. It is only when you are exposed to the bigger world that you realize how constrained show business really is", Hema says.
|The cover of Hema Malini's biography|
"Actors move around in the same camps and meet the same colleagues. They have little to offer each other in terms of enrichment. On the other hand, in my present surroundings there are new challenges every day," the "dream girl" of the Bollywood says.
Every time she is in Delhi, however, Hema is accompanied by her brother Jagannath as she does snot like to be on her own even though she stays in an apartment block where every resident is an MP. "I am still wary of strangers befriending me but I am more approachable now than I was in the past", the star says.
"When I was younger, it would hurt terribly. I would feel, is this the togetherness for which I went through so much waiting so long?" Over the years, the pain has lessened gradually or perhaps Hema has matured and accepted her circumstances gracefully, the book says, as it quotes her saying, "The misgivings will always remain as my father had rightly predicted but the aching loss has been substituted by a new identity and reassurance. Today, I value my space and self-worth and nobody can destroy that".
"I was attracted to Dharamji but did not have the courage to say so. I had the better sense to realize that it was a futile relationship, him being a married man, but due to our exceptional circumstances could not sever the ties", Hema says. "I don't know how many people will believe this but I never thought of marrying him. Even now I don't say that what happened was the best option. It was, however, destined that it had to be him", she says.
Hema strongly resents being referred to as the first lady of second marriage, says the biographer. She does not like the term. "It is not as if I set out to be the trendsetter. That would be trivialising the feeling and the relationship. I cannot be held responsible for every woman in similar situation, neither can I be compared with anyone," says Hema.
"There are no doubts that in the history of Hindi cinema, Hema Malini has had the longest reign as a number one star. No heroine before or after has enjoyed her position or power and it is to her credit that she has not never misused her superstardom", says noted lyricist Gulzar, in his foreword to the book.
"Her unconventional marriage could not have occurred without her conviction to walk the path not trodden. And the fact that she has been able to sustain this deviant relationship tells a lot about her courage and endurance", he says.