‘Dreamgirl’ Hema Malini turns 64, but still evergreen!
Born as Hema Malini R. Chakravarthy in a Tamil-speaking Brahmin household in Ammankudi on October 16th, 1948 films were always a part of life for her. Her dad was V.S.R. Chakravarthy and her mom, Jaya, was a film producer. She was enrolled in the Chennai-based Andhra Mahila Sabha.
Performing as a dancer in a 1961 regional movie, she was rejected by Tamil Director, Sridhar, during 1964 when she first attempted to act, on the grounds that she had no star appeal. Sridhar was proved wrong when Hema persisted, debut opposite legendary showman, Raj Kapoor in Sapnon Ka Saudagar just 4 years after her rejection. Thereafter, there has no been looking back for this attractive Libran, who went to star in close to 155 movies who also produced and directed two movies, and also directed a TV serial Noopur.
After turning down marriage proposals from Sanjeev Kumar and Jeetendra, she met fellow actor Dharmendra and cupid shot his arrow. Dharmendra, who was already married to Prakash Kaur, and had two sons, Sunny and Bobby, could not marry Hema as Prakash refused to divorce him. According to the Hindu Marriage Act, a Hindu cannot marry for the second time while the first wife is still there. Dharmendra belongs to Arya Samaj Hindu Punjabi Jatt family.
Hema Malini had a hit on-screen pairing with Dharmendra, Shashi Kapoor and Dev Anand in the 70's and, post-marriage, she had 8 hits opposite Rajesh Khanna in 1980-87. Interestingly Rajesh Khanna-Hema Malini pair had 2 hits in early 70's and then 3 unfortunate flops in late 70's after which pair was written off but in 80’s they gave 8 blockbusters as a pair. In total, Hema has 10 hits with Rajesh Khanna. After 2000, her pairing with Amitabh became popular. Hema Malini was highest paid Hindi actress along-with Zeenat Aman from 1976-1980 and 2nd highest paid Hindi actress with Zeenat from 1982-85 and 4th highest paid Hindi actress from 1971-1975. Sholay in 1975 has till late been the best of her films, where she plays the evergreen character Basanti. And audience will also remember her because of her brilliant performance in Seeta aur Geeta.
On August 21st, 1979, both Hema and Dharmendra converted to Islam, changed their names to Aisha Chakravarty and Dilawar Khan Kewal Krishn respectively, and got married in accordance with Islamic rites. Three years after their marriage, Hema subsequently gave birth to Esha and then later to Ahana.
Hema is a member of the right-winged Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and became a member of the upper house Rajya Sabha. She was amongst the first actresses to wear bell-bottom and shirts in Hindi movies, and is also amongst the few who have kept their word of not wearing any revealing outfits in public.