On Monday when India’s Dream Girl Hema Malini turned a year older, all roads of the entertainment industry led to the venue of the release of her biography Beyond The Dream Girl.
The evening after the dream launch of the book on the Dream Girl Hema Malini sighs, “It was truly one of the most memorable moments of my life. And it was very kind of Deepika to make time to come for the launch of the book. Deepika is now part of my family. I consider her to be my daughter like Esha and Ahana. And by the way I am also very fond of Deepika as an actress. It is said that her character in her debut film Om Shanti Om was based on me. I don’t know how far that’s true. But after Aishwarya, I see Deepika as the most graceful actress we have.”
While Deepika’s presence was a big bright spot at the book launch Hemaji’s husband Dharmendra’s absence was a downer. “He wanted to be there,” says the protective and loving wife. “But Dharamji gets very nervous around big crowds. And the crowd at the book launch was really huge. Nowadays whenever I am at an event the crowds get hard to control. Even I got very nervous seeing the size of the crowd. I didn’t want him to be jostled around. So I am glad I asked him to stay away. But he was with me and the family for the entire day. He writes such lovely poetry for me. I am especially fond of the one entitled Saadgi which he has written for me. You must ask him to recite it. He always thinks my simplicity is my biggest virtue.”
Speaking of simplicity, during her heydays filmmakers would insist on heaping her with tons of wigs and makeup. Laughs Hemaji, “When I look at my looks those days I feel uncomfortable. Nowadays the minimal makeup look is in and I am so much more comfortable with it. Changing trends have and fashion is part of life. But dressing up in those days when I was doing so many films was always a pain.”
For the book launch the Dream Girl wore a beautiful blue saree. “Did you like it? Manish Malhotra designed the saree. There were other designers who were keen to dress me up for the evening. I liked a black saree that Neeta Lullaji had done for me. But I was advised not to wear black on my birthday.”
The audio-video of 50 prominent colleagues and admirers from the film industry speaking about her at the book launch really moved Hemaji. “They didn’t have to pay me such rich compliments. It is my good fortune that people speak nicely about me. I am surprised I’ve survived so long. When I was told I had completed 50 years in the film industry I was not impressed. This year it is 50 years, next year it would be 51… so what? It’s the quality of the work that you do which stays in the minds and hearts of the people.”
The dream girl is now excited about the new arrival in her family. “My elder daughter Esha is expecting her first child this month. Do I want a grandson or a granddaughter? Donon chalega. But since I already have a grandson (younger daughter Ahana’s child) a granddaughter would be nice. Would I want her to be an actress like me? She can be anything she wants as long as she is happy in life.”