From Amitabh Bachchan to Arjun Kapoor, Vyjayanthimala to Kriti Sanon, Lata Mangeshkar to Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Neeta Lulla to Shiamak Davar, Ramesh Sippy to Madhur Bhandarkar — as many as 50 celebrities were part of a special video to be played at the launch of actress-politician Hema Malini’s biography in Mumbai on her 69th birthday on Monday. Actress Deepika Padukone unveiled the book.
The launch of the biography, Beyond The Dreamgirl, written by former editor of Stardust and producer Ram Kamal Mukherjee, also marks the celebration of Malini’s 50-year run in Indian showbiz.
“While we were planning the book launch on her birthday, we realised that Hema ji will be completing 50 years in this industry in 2018. So we decided to make it special for her, and took this Herculean task to get 50 celebrities to wish her on her biography, birthday and golden jubilee year,” Mukherjee said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has written the foreword for the book, while the afterword is by Ramesh Sippy, who directed her in the iconic role of Basanti in Sholay.
Songstress Mangeshkar said: “Hema is like my younger sister. I have always admired her for her grace and beauty. Recently, she shared her music album with me. I was surprised to hear her voice. She is so melodious. Wishing her long and healthy life.”
Actress Vidya Balan said: “Hema ji, you have set really high benchmark for all of us. 50 years in this industry is not an easy number to achieve.”
A BEAUTIFUL RELATIONSHIP
Malini says she shares a “beautiful relation” with her stepson Sunny Deol. After her 2015 accident, Deol was the first to visit and take care of her.
During the launch of her biography, Malini shared one of the unspoken chapters of her life — her relationship with her stepsons.
“Everyone wonders what kind of a relation we have. It is very beautiful and cordial. Whenever it is necessary, he is always there, along with Dharam ji [Dharmendra], especially when this accident happened.”
“[Deol] was the first person to come to see me at home and he saw that the right doctor was there for the stitches that were done on my face.
“I was really taken aback to see him showing so much interest. That shows what kind of a relationship we are having,” she added.
Padukone and Malini held an interactive session at the event, where both shared how their journey was similar and yet different.
“Deepika is a really talented and hardworking actress but she is also fortunate to work with a director like Sanjay Leela Bhansali who has a grand budget to make a grand film like Padmavati and Bajirao Mastani.
“In my time, I did Meera and Raziya Sultana, where the producer had zero budgets and my remuneration was Rs2,000 [Dh113].”
At the event, Padukone read out a letter by Pamela Chopra, wife of late filmmaker Yash Chopra, where she wrote: “You are pristine and in your long career, you always showed grace and dignity, something very few actresses have.”
Malini’s husband Dharmendra recited poetry for her on a video message, and daughter Esha Deol was present at the event along with her husband.
Having started her film career in 1968 with Raj Kapoor-starrer Sapno Ka Saudagar, Malini regaled movie buffs with roles in films such as Seeta Aur Geeta, Sholay, Dream Girl and Satte Pe Satta. An accomplished classical dancer, Malini earned the epithet of ‘Dreamgirl’ for her flawless beauty, and became a pioneering female superstar in an otherwise male-oriented film industry.