Monday, 30th October 2017

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Hema Malini is in no mood to slow down

She was the star speaker at ‘In the Spotlight’ at Infocomm 2018, an ABP initiative

By Priyanka Roy in Calcutta
  • Published 12.12.18, 2:08 PM
  • Updated 12.12.18, 2:08 PM
  • 4 mins read
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Hema Malini at ITC Sonar Rashbehari Das

Last week, Hema Malini was the star speaker at ‘In the Spotlight’ at Infocomm 2018, an ABP initiative, at ITC Sonar.

t2 caught up with the 70-year-old ‘Dream Girl’ in her suite, minutes before the session conducted by director-producer Ram Kamal Mukherjee, who has also penned the actress’s biography Beyond The Dream Girl.

Priyanka Roy:

You are quite a pro at political speeches. Do you enjoy sessions like these?

Hema Malini:

I like being on a stage like this and interacting with people like this, it allows me to explore different sides of myself. I can’t sit and give a bhashan because invariably any talk I give becomes a political bhashan (smiles). I am very comfortable with Ram (Ram Kamal Mukherjee) and we always manage to have fun conversations.

Sometimes I enjoy political speeches, but sometimes I feel what am I doing?! (Laughs) I derive a lot of energy from the crowd. Pehle itna zyada nahin tha, but these days, there are more and more people pouring in for my political rallies. The people in my party (BJP) tell me that ‘Aapke liye sab deewane hain?’ I say, ‘Deewane?! Iss umar mein bhi?’ (Smiles) I feel it’s the love of the people. It’s a very big thing that they aren’t fed up of seeing me. But then my party calls me because they know I can get in the crowds. People are genuinely happy to come to my rallies, ek genuine chamak aa jaati hain unke chehre pe. That’s because they have loved my films and the characters I’ve played through the years. When they see me, they think of Basanti (from Sholay), they think of Seeta and Geeta (from Seeta Aur Geeta)….

I think what works for my popularity is that I worked in the golden period — the ’70s — of Hindi cinema. Today, people may say diamond period hai of the film industry — maybe it is — but that was the best time. I had the best heroes to work with, such good-looking heroes and so much fun to work with. I miss those times a lot. I am very much in circulation, but my life’s on a different track now. I miss films. 

Priyanka Roy:

You are on the road 24x7. What gives you the inspiration to keep moving?   

Hema Malini:

 Being active is a good thing. Plus, people want to see me, so I go and meet them. But constant travelling as a politician has its tough side, especially flying in helicopters. First, the constant buzz has made me almost deaf (laughs). That sound doesn’t leave my head. And wherever I go to deliver speeches, I have to bear those very loud loudspeakers. Arre, logon ko sunao naa, stage pe kyon rakhte hai pata nahi mujhe. And I have seen so many politicians who talk normally otherwise, but in front of the mic, they will start screaming for no reason. As an artiste, I notice all these things and I find it really funny. Chup rehti hoon lekin mann mein sochti rehti hoon ki ‘Kya kar rahein hai yeh log?!

Priyanka Roy:

In the middle of such a hectic schedule, you have regular dance performances. Is dancing therapeutic for you?

Hema Malini:

Yes, I escape to my dance whenever I can. It’s something very spiritual for me. Physically, I may not be able to dance like I did in my 20s and 30s, but since I have adopted the ballet style, it’s become easier for me and more interesting for the audience because I tell stories of Hindu mythology and culture through my dance. It’s choreographed in a new way and we adopt new techniques and design as far as the stage is concerned. I try and make it as interesting as a film.

My next is a dance ballet based on the river Ganga. For a long time, I wanted to do this. My first show is going to be on January 22 in Benaras. It will be a big production, technically very vast. There will be LED screens all around and the stage will be partly composed of water. I am trying to spread a social message — that we need to save Ganga — through this. 

Priyanka Roy:

Your daughter Esha partners you in most of your performances...

Hema Malini:

I love dancing with Esha. She provides a lot of inspiration to me.

I want both my daughters (Esha and Ahana) to dance with me, but now they are busy with motherhood, which is also a nice thing. It’s an important part of life.

Priyanka Roy:

You turned 70 in October. Any resolutions for this decade of your life?

Hema Malini:

Every day is a resolution for me. Every day I plan and prepare. I do something every day, I take a lot of decisions on a daily basis. Yearly resolutions are for people who don’t otherwise do anything in life! 

Priyanka Roy:

You are very active on social media. Do you enjoy being on it?

Hema Malini:

I like being connected to my fans. The days I don’t post something, my fans keep asking me why I haven’t been regular. Esha is very good with social media and she keeps my profile updated. I learn so many things from my daughters, and also from my two grandchildren. They are terrific. I can spend my whole life just playing with them. 

Priyanka Roy:

How do you spend time with your grandkids?    

Hema Malini:

The first thing they want to do is sit on me! Radhya (Esha’s daughter) is still a toddler, but she’s already very girly. She wants to sit on my lap and touch my sari. The other day I was wearing a necklace and she kept getting on to my lap and touching it; she does the same when she sees me wearing an eye-catching blouse.

My grandson Darien (Ahana’s son) doesn’t do that. He will say, ‘I want a helicopter, naani’. He likes this animated series called Super Wing and now he’s introduced me to it. He likes all these construction waala games. If I take him to a toy shop, the first thing he wants me to buy him is a dumper. He was introduced to this mobile app called Talking Tom two days ago and now he’s fascinated by that; he talks to it and ‘it’ talks back. Usko bahut mazaa aata hai. Both of them want chocolates from me. Their moms don’t give them, main chhupa ke deti hoon

Priyanka Roy:

You are producing a Punjabi film, but it’s been seven years since you last directed a film… 

Hema Malini:

Direction abhi door door tak nahin hai. It’s a very tough job. Elections are coming up, I don’t have the time. It’s a different phase of my life now. 

Priyanka Roy:

Is the original ‘Dream Girl’ aware that Ayushmann Khurrana is playing the role of a ‘dream girl’ in a film called Dream Girl?

Hema Malini:

I didn’t know about that! He’s playing ‘Dream Girl’?! That’s sweet (smiles).

I just watched Badhaai Ho. He’s a natural actor. If I ever direct a film again, I would love to cast Ayushmann.