Watch Javed Akhtar applauding Hema Malini in the next episode of Classic Legends
An epitome of beauty, grace and poise, Hema Malini came and conquered the hearts of the nation, becoming the country’s Dream Girl. Born to a Tamil-speaking Chakravarthy household, she started learning theatre when she was six and became a child protégé by performing publicly. She went on to perform in the presence of then President Dr.Rajendra Prasad and Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, which gave her widespread recognition and fame. Javed Akhtar takes the viewers through Hema Malini’s life story in the upcoming episode of Classic Legends on Zee Bollywood on Saturday 16th February at 8pm.
After performing as a dancer in a 1961 regional movie, HemaMalini was rejected by a Tamil Director, who said that she was too thin to be a heroine. This only encouraged her to take up acting as a profession. She soon came to Bombay and gave her screen-test at R.K. Studios in two outfits for Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai and Sangam. After a great deal of persistence, she made her Bollywood debut opposite Raj Kapoor in the movie Sapnon Ka Saudagar. The film did not do well at the box office, but it worked wonders for then debutant Hema Malini who started getting various offers. One noteworthy film that got her noticed and marked her entry into the top league was the 1970 film Johny Mera Naam. From portraying the role of a widow in Andaaz to playing a bubbly and chirpy role in Laal Pathhar, she started winning hearts of the audience. Like her role in Dream Girl, Hema Malini’s Basanti from the evergreen movie Sholay went on to become an iconic character in Hindi cinema.
Speaking about her, Javed Akhtar said, “Hema Malini was known for her beauty and being the country’s Dream Girl. But the 1972 movie Seeta Aur Geeta had defined her career as a powerhouse performer. If Mumtaaz had not refused the movie, then it wouldn’t have reached Hema Malini. Until now she had only played a few docile roles but none that would say that she can carry an entire film on her shoulders. Seeta Aur Geeta turned out to be that film where she essays two different characters – a timid girl and a banjaaran. I will give credit to Ramesh Sippy for this movie as he was extremely confident in her and said that she would be able to play the part and the movie will be successful with Hema Malini.”
“There are few movies which are successful, some are very successful and some are Sholay.” Javed Akhtar went on to say, “How the name Mogambo got associated with Amrish Puri or Gabbar with Amjad Khan, in the same way Hema Malini got associated with the name Basanti.”
Speaking about her journey in the industry Hema Malini says, “My interest was dance and, in the beginning, I didn’t enjoy acting at all. It was my mother who brought me into films and who looked after my career. I remember each time a producer came to meet her, my only reaction was, ‘Oh God, another year of my life gone’.”