Here's how Jeetendra had reacted when asked if he had proposed to Hema Malini
- Back in the early 1970s, Jeetendra and Hema Malini reportedly would have been married had Dharmendra and Shobha not gatecrashed their secret wedding in Chennai. Many years later, Jeetendra spoke about the incident.
Actor Jeetendra is among the most respected names in the Hindi film industry, thanks to more than 50 years in the trade. His daughter Ekta Kapoor's success as a producer, too, has added to his fame. However, Jeetendra's name is invariably brought up whenever Hema Malini is talked about and how, back in the early 1970s, he almost got married to her! On his 79th birthday on Wednesday, here's a look at what he had said about that particular episode of his life.
Hema's biography, Beyond The Dream Girl, narrated the entire episode - her parents had been totally against her dating a much-married Dharmendra. Jeetendra and she not only had a good relationship as co-stars, they were good friends too. Jeetendra had been known to have to a soft spot for Hema, though he was seeing Shobha then. And while Hema liked him, she wasn't romantically inclined. It was in this context that Hema's mother thought of getting her daughter married off to tide over the crisis. As the word reached Jeetendra's household, his parents were ecstatic and he was willing to give in to his family's desires.
A secret wedding was planned in Chennai and both families flew down. A local paper got wind of it and published the scoop as front page news. A slightly drunk Dharmendra, accompanied by Jeetendra's then girlfriend and now wife, Shobha, reached the venue in time to stop the nuptials.
While Hema has obviously been candid about the entire episode, Jeetendra has never been as forthcoming. However, he did address the issue few years back with a leading film magazine, when asked if he had ever proposed to Hema. A Pinkvilla report quoted him as saying: "I’d rather not talk about that chapter in my life. Her kids have grown up and so have mine. To talk about this now would be very awkward and embarrassing."
Eventually, Jeetendra went on to marry Shobha, who was reportedly an air hostess with British Airways, in 1974. They have two kids together - daughter Ekta and son, Tusshar Kapoor. Hema and Dharmendra were eventually married in 1980 and have two daughters - Esha Deol and Ahana Deol - together.
Jeetendra lives a quiet life in Mumbai but remains the chairman of the Balaji Telefilms, Balaji Motion Pictures and ALT Entertainment. The actor, who made his screen debut back in 1967 with a V Shantaram film, earned fame in the '60s for his dancing skills. Through the '70s, he starred in memorable films directed by Gulzar, and also featured in Bollywood-style family dramas. His crowning glory came in the 1980s, when he starred in a string of hits, which were remakes of South films. He was invariably paired with Sridevi and Jaya Prada.