The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dream Girl first in House of chivalry

New Delhi, Dec. 19: Looks like even the revered House of elders does not mind bending rules to accommodate a pretty woman!

Star MP Hema Malini’s unlisted business today got precedence over Pranab Mukherjee’s special mention in the Rajya Sabha, with practically every legislator opting to hear “Basanti” mouth her famous lines from Sholay before getting on to work as usual.

Only one lone voice — that of the Congress’ Suresh Pachouri — protested.

“I want to remind the chair that it is not the usual custom to give any subject precedence over the day’s listed business.”

But Najma Heptullah wasn’t listening. Possibly as eager as the rest to hear the pretty woman make her maiden speech, the deputy chairperson said she knew the rules but an exception could be made for Hemaji “if the House agreed”.

The House did. And Hemaji smiled her famous smile and rose to speak of a dream she had been nursing for a long time.

The star said she wanted to set up a film museum in Mumbai that could function like an archive of classical films.

“The museum can be along the lines of such museums in Hollywood. I have for long nurtured this dream,” said the actress-turned-MP.

She read out from written text, taking care to make the right inflections. “We can tell people how films like Mughal-e-Azam and Sholay were made. There can be portraits of great actors like Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand.”

The proposed museum would be a repository of prints of old films, vintage cameras and costumes used in different films, she said.

“I would initially request the government to help with a plot of land. But I would also assure them that the project would finally become self-sufficient.

“I will personally do as much as I can for the project which will be an attraction for domestic as well as international tourists.”

Her speech over, the legislators thumped their desks in applause. Some even went up to her and congratulated her for her maiden speech.

Only a snubbed Pachouri was left grumbling: “This should not become a precedent.”

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