Hema Malini (“Hema Malini Chakravarty”) (born 16 October 1948, Ammankudi (Orathanadu), Tamil Nadu, India) is an Indian actress, director, producer, dancer and politician. 1963 she made acting debut in Tamil film “Ithu Sathiyam” as a dancer/supporting actress. Malini first acted in main role in Sapno Ka Saudagar (1968), and went on to feature in numerous Bollywood films, primarily as the lead actress. In most of her films, she starred opposite her husband; Dharmendra and with Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan.
Malini was initially promoted as the “Dream Girl”, and in 1977 starred in a film of the same name.She has played both comic and dramatic roles, as well as being a dancer.She has appeared in more than 150 films. During her career, Malini received eleven nominations for the Filmfare Award for Best Actress, winning the award in 1972. In 2000, Malini won the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award and also the Padma Shri, the fourth-highest civilian honour awarded by the Government of India. In 2012, theSir Padampat Singhania University conferred an Honorary Doctorate on Malini in recognition of her contribution to Indian cinema.Malini served as chairperson of the National Film Development Corporation. In 2006, Malini received Sopori Academy of Music And Performing Arts (SaMaPa) Vitasta award from Bhajan Sopori in Delhi for her contribution and service to Indian culture and dance.
From 2003 to 2009, Malini was elected to the Rajya Sabha, the upper House of parliament, as a representative of the Bharatiya Janata Party.Malini has been involved with charitable and social ventures.
Early life and family
Malini pictured with her daughter Esha Deol (right)
Malini was the third child born of a Tamil-speaking Iyengar family to her mother Jaya Lakshmi Chakravarti, a film producer and VSR Chakravarti. Malini attended the Andhra Mahila Sabha in Chennai where her favourite subject was history.Malini studied at DTEA Mandir Marg and in grade 12 left to begin her acting career.
Malini’s first film with Dharmendra was Sharafat (1970),and they got married in 1979. Before Dharmendra was already married at the time and had children, two of whom are Bollywood actors Sunny Deol and Bobby Deol. Malini and Dharmendra have two children, Bollywood actress Esha Deol (born 1981)and Ahana Deol (born 1985), an assistant director.
Malini’s niece is actress Madhoo who played the female lead in Phool Aur Kaante (1991), Roja (1992) and Annayya (1993)).
Malini was a supporting artiste in Idhu Sathiyam (1963) and portrayed a danseuse in Pandava Vanavasam (1965). In 1968, Malini played opposite Raj Kapoor in Sapno Ka Saudagar.That was the beginning of her promotion as the “Bollywood dream girl.”
In Johnny Mera Naam (1970), Malini took a lead role and she took other challenging roles; for example, a young widow in Andaz (1971) and a poor woman in Lal Patthar (1971). In 1972, Malini played opposite Dharmendra and Sanjeev Kumar in Seeta Aur Geeta.Malini received a Filmfare Best Actress Award for this film.Within four years of making her debut, Malini was an established lead actress in Bollywood and classical dancer.Malini’s films of the 1970s include Sanyasi (1975), Dharmatma , Pratigya (1975). In Sholay (1975), Malini played the role of Basanti, a talkative girl. Other works of the period include Trishul, Joshila, Khushboo (1975), Kinara (1977) and Meera (1979).
Malini performed with Dharmendra in twenty-eight movies including Sharafat, Tum Haseen Main Jawan, Naya Zamana, Raja Jani, Seeta Aur Geeta , Patthar Aur Payal, Dost(1974), Sholay (1975), Charas, Jugnu, Azaad (1978) and Dillagi (1978).
1980s and 1990s
After her marriage, Malini made films including Kranti, Naseeb (1981), Satte Pe Satta , Rajput, and Ek Nai Paheli (1984).Malini portrayed the role of a classical singer in the film opposite Rajesh Khanna, which Times of India called one of the top film couples. Her works also included Aandhi Toofan, Durgaa (1985), Ramkali (1985), Sitapur Ki Geeta(1987), Ek Chadar Maili Si (1986), Rihaee and Jamai Raja (1990).
During this period, Malini performed with Dharmendra in Alibaba Aur 40 Chor, Baghavat, Samraat , Razia Sultan, Andha Kanoon (1983), Baghavat, and Raaj Tilak (1984).
She directed the film Dil Aashna Hai with Divya Bharti and Shahrukh Khan in the leading roles. Following this, Malini focused on dancing and television work.
After taking a break from films for a number of years, Hema made a comeback with Baghban (2003).for which she earned a Filmfare Best Actress Award nomination. She also played a substantial supporting role in the 2004 film Veer-Zaara. In 2011, she directed her second feature film Tell Me O Khuda which featured both her husbandDharmendra and her daughter Esha Deol.
In 1999, Malini campaigned for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate, Vinod Khanna, a former Bollywood actor, in the Lok Sabha Elections in Gurdaspur, Punjab. In February 2004, Malini officially joined the BJP From 2003 to 2009, she served as an MP to the upper house of the Rajya Sabha, having been nominated by the President of India, A. P. J. Abdul Kalam. In March 2010, Malini was made general secretary of the BJP, and in February 2011, she was recommended by Ananth Kumar, the party general secretary.In the 2014 general elections for the Lok Sabha, Malini defeated the Mathura incumbent, Jayant Chaudhary (RLD) by 3,30,743 votes.Malini was then elected to the Lok Sabha.
Association with social causes
Malini is a supporter of the animal rights organization, PETA India. In 2009, she wrote a letter to the Mumbai Municipal Commissioner urging him to ban horse carriages from the Mumbai`s busy streets.In 2011, she wrote to the Union Minister for Environment and Forests, Jairam Ramesh, urging him to ban bull fighting (jallikattu).She said, “My friends at PETA have organised investigations at jallikattu events and documented that bulls are pulled roughly by their nose rings, punched, pummelled, hit with sharp sticks and crammed into trucks so tightly that they can barely move.”Malini won the title of “PETA Person of the Year.” As a vegetarian, she said, “Knowing that my food choices are helping the planet and animals too, makes me happy.”
Malini performing at a concert
Malini is a trained Bharatanatyam dancer. Her daughters Esha Deol & Ahana Deol are also trained Odissi dancers. They performed with Malini in a production called Parampara for charitable events.She also performed with her daughters at the Khajuraho Dance Festival. Malini also studied Kuchipudi with Vempati Chinna Satyam and Mohiniattam with Kalamandalam Guru Gopalakrishnan. She has played a number of dance roles including Narasimha and Rama in Tulasidas’s Ramcharitmanas. In 2007, she performed in Mysoreon the eve of Dussera, where she played the roles of Sati, Parvati and Durga. Malini owns the Natya Vihar Kalakendra dance school.
Malini has appeared in television series such as Jai Mata Ki (2000), directed by Puneet Issar. She played the role of goddess Durga.Other television series appearances include Kamini Damini on Sahara One where she played twin sisters and Noopur which Malini directed and in which she played a Bharatanatyam dancer.
Production and promotional work
Malini owned the editorship of New Woman, a Hindi woman’s magazine.In 2000, Malini was appointed as the first female chairperson of the National Film Development Corporation for a term of three years.
In 2007, Malini entered a promotional contract with Kent RO Systems, makers of a mineral water purifier system.Malini also became a brand ambassador for Pothys, a textile showroom in Chennai.