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Hema Malini

Hema Malini exploded on the Hindi screen on the rebound when Shridhar, a director who had signed her for a Tamil film, dropped her. She had a glorious reign in the 70s. Starting out in Sapnon Ka Saudagar, her major hits included Johnny Mera Naam, Seeta aur Geeta, and a successful series with Dharmendra--Raja Jani, Jugnu and Sholay. Although she did more meaty roles in Khushboo, Kinara and Meera, it was in her feisty roles in Seeta aur Geeta and Sholay that the audience appreciated most.
In the late 70s she concentrated on 'character' roles as in Rihaee, often with feminist undertones. Her fans weren't the only ones enamoured of her: she is said to have turned down both Sanjeev Kumar's and Jeetendra's proposals of marriage, eventually preferring to settle down as Dharmendra's second wife. In an effort to re-establish her as a classical dancer, she directed the TV series Noopur. It is a tribute to the dream girl of Indian cinema that she could ride out the storm with her head held high.

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Address: 17, Jaihind Society
12th Road, JVPD Scheme
400 049 Mumbai

Realname: Hema Malini R. Chakravarty (before Marriage)

Date of Birth: October 16, 1948

Place of Birth: near Trichy, Tamil Nadu

Family: Married to Dharmendra (Actor)
Daughters Esha and Ahana

Petname: Hema, "Dream Girl"

Hobbies: Painting

Awards: FILMFARE AWARD - Best Actress 1972 for SEETA AUR GEETA

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Hema Malini was the second South Indian actress after Vyjayantimala to be a major Hindi film star. At her peak she wielded such strong commercial clout that actors like Dev Anand and Rajesh Khanna had to turn to her to give them that much wanted hit. When Dev Anand's films in the 70s particularly those with Zeenat Aman crashed, Amir Garib (1974) with Hema Malini was a hit. When Rajesh Khanna's films started sinking, her Prem Nagar(1974) with him gave him a new lease of life albeit temporarily.

Ironically her career almost ended before it began. Her first director Shridhar threw her out of a Tamil film he was directing in 1964, saying she had no star appeal! Hema resolved she would make it big where it mattered the most - Bollywood.

She began her career opposite Raj Kapoor in Sapnon ka Saudagar (1968) where the posters splashed her picture with the catch phrase - 'Dreamgirl.' The film flopped but Hema survived. With Johnny Mera Naam (1970), Hema became a top star and with Seeta aur Geeta (1972) she was the top female star in Bollywood. A string of successful films particularly opposite Dharmendra (Raja Jani (1972), Jugnu (1973), Sholay (1975)) followed as Hema's stock only went higher and higher.

Though Critics have dismissed her as a one-note actress, to be fair to her she did occasionally show that she could give a performance of some depth were she directed properly. As Raj Kumar's scheming mistress in Lal Pathar (1971) she not only made the audience empathize with her negative character but also stole a march over no less an actress than Rakhee! She dared to play a young widow in Andaaz (1971), a role turned down by most actresses. She tried to change her glamorous image by working with Gulzar and did some of her best and perhaps most introspective work in his films - Khushboo (1975), Kinara (1977) and Meera (1979).

Both Jeetendra and Sanjeev Kumar proposed marriage to her but it was Dharmendra who wooed and won her. She flouted convention by becoming his second wife and having children by him but so strong was her morally upright image that she was able to go through the marriage without being slandered by press or public.

By the early to mid 80s her reign was coming to an end. She concentrated on her dance performances and turned to playing strong characters with feminist undertones on both film and TV in fact giving a finely modulated performance in Rihaee (1988) as a woman who has an affair when her husband is away and has another man's child.

She has dabbled in other channels of film production having produced Swami (1977), Sharara (1984), Aawargi (1987) and Marg (1992 but unreleased) besides directing Dil Aashna Hai (1991) and Mohini (1994) for Television. She is still seen in the occasional film (Hey Ram (2000)) but she is content today to see elder daughter Esha try to make her mark as an actress. She has also directed TV serials Noopur (1990) and Women of India (1996). Hema Malini was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1999 for her contribution to Indian Cinema.

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