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That a Tamilian Brahmin from the deep South with a bewitching mix of talent and innocence could hypnotise an entire country was unthinkable.
But such was the stuff Hema Malini was made of.
The ‘dream’ might not have materialised the way she envisioned it.
In an exclusive chat with City Times from her home in Mumbai, prior to her performance in Dubai, Hema Malini chats about her passion for dancing.
“I feel really honoured to be a part of the Independence Day Celebrations in Dubai,” said Hema Malini who will be performing the dance ballet Parampara, along with her daughters Esha and Ahana.
“I will be doing a patriotic number on the glory of Indian woman.”
So how difficult is it to get her daughters involved in her dance programme, considering that Esha must be busy with her Bollywood films?
“My mother was able to make me do it, but these girls are so cool about it and won’t rehearse till the last moment!,” she states.
Dubai residents can look forward to a truly memorable performance as mother and daughters come together to perform a jugalbandi.
The dance ballet Parampara was conceived by Hema Malini and choreographed by her brother Chakravorthy. The trio have performed the routine at various venues across India.
All in the family
Hema Malini is probably one of those rare breed of Bollywood mothers who have been able to inculcate a classical tradition in her children. Both Esha and Ahana have undergone formal training in Odissi.
“From the time they were born, they have seen me perform. In fact I used to dance even while I was pregnant. So it was natural that they would pick up this art. If they hadn’t done it, then it would have been unusual. Like Abimanyu who learnt the chakravyuh while in his mother’s womb, so children automatically pick up skills from their parents,” Hema elaborates.
Woman to woman
The actress might not be courting the media to espouse her social causes like many others in Bollywood, but there is no denying that she is doing her part in her own way.
Through her dance progammes not only does she reflect the glory of the Indian woman but also uses her art to speak up and against the problems faced by women in India – one of which is female foeticide.
For a traditional Indian woman, Hema Malini has led a fairly unusual life. So does the actress harbour any feelings of regret over her past? “Maybe. But this is how I am destined to be, so there is no reason to compare with someone else.”
She continues, “I do feel sometimes that maybe it is a mistake, but when I look around, I feel I am much luckier because I have the best of both the worlds in my life.”
Dreams of her own
So what dreams does the original dream girl have for her daughters? “Like any normal mother, I want Esha to find a nice boy,”
says Hema. And before you finish asking her the question she replies, “There is no eligible bachelor in Bollywood. So I don’t think she should look there. (A hint for Esha perhaps?) But what is most important is that she should marry at the right time.”
Finally, she has appeared in many people’s dream, but who is it that comes to her dreams? To be frank we were expecting the name of Dharmji, but the lady really flummoxed us with her quick retort, “Aishwarya.” And pray why the Bachchan bahu? “She is a very beautiful woman.
I don’t know how she is in her personal life. But I believe that unless you are good from inside, the beauty will not show on your face.”
EVENT: Parampara, a classical ballet performance
DATE: August 15
VENUE: Al Bustan Rotana Hotel, Dubai
Esha Deol speaks to City Times about finding the right balance between Bollywood and classical dance and why heroes are meant to be romanced only on screen
UNLIKE HER mother, Esha Deol has not yet been able to carve a special niche for herself in Bollywood.And this despite the fact that she made her debut nearly eight and a half years ago.
But this is one Deol who has a lot more going for her than seems apparent.
Esha along with her younger sister Ahana and mother Hema Malini will perform this weekend in Dubai during the Indian Independence Day Celebrations.
“It is a pleasure to share the stage with your mother,”says Esha in a telephone interview with City Times from Mumbai.“Very few are lucky to be able to perform a creative art on stage with their family.Ahana and me are a riot together but on stage we support each other a lot,”adds Esha.
The dance ballet opens with a solo performance by Esha,who is a trained Odissi dancer,which will be followed by a duet between the sisters.
The highlight of the show,however, will be a jugalbandi between the sisters and their mother in a section referred to as Parampara.
Esha Deol is probably one of those rare breed of Bollywood actors of her generation who has been able to balance her acting career with her dance performance.
“It is often a balancing act, but dancing is something that helps me destress personally. So I enjoy doing it besides performing on stage,”adds Esha.
How difficult is to manage a purely classical form on one hand and the jhatkas and matkas that a Bollywood song-and-dance routine entails?
“I enjoy all kinds of dancing, so it is not a problem for me. I have learnt Russian ballet and when I had some spare time earlier I had undergone a workshop in dance from New York,”
says Esha underlining her commitment to her art.
Esha who counts Fardeen, Zayed, Uday and Tushaar among her guy pals in Bollywood is quite candid when it comes to admitting that she doesn’t have any female friends in the industry.“I have learnt from personal experience that competition overtakes friendship in Bollywood. So I wouldn’t want to get into that again,” she maintains.
And what does she think of the current lot of actors who have entered the industry?“They are all too cute and chocolatey for my taste! Mind you, they are all very sweet - but rather the kind you want to keep in the fridge than eat!”, she says tonguein- cheek.We are sure mama Hema would approve of that sentiment! “Bollywood heroes are meant to be romanced only on screen,”Esha continues on a more serious vein.“And I am saying this despite the fact that my father is from the industry! Right now there is no one of the calibre of Abhishek, Hritik or John in the industry,” she rues.
And what kind of person would she eventually like to settle down with?
The answer comes quick: “Someone like my father.A man who is rough and tough, but soft inside!”
She goes on to add,“Though he has the image of a garam dharam, he is extremely down-to-earth and simple in real life.”
“I could have easily grown into a snooty brat. But my mother was a balanced human being who made time for us when we were young. I remember she used to get up in the morning to teach me history while in school.We had a very normal upbringing.Whenever I needed her, she was there for me,”says Esha painting a far more normal picture than the one that springs to mind when you consider the industry she lives in.
But the actress also admits that it has been a tough journey in Bollywood for her personally.“The pressure was always there.But today it has made me a tougher person,” she asserts.
The two sides square off at The Oval in London from tomorrow
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