While both Hema Malini and Dharmendra rarely open up about their personal relationship and marriage, the Sita Aur Gita actor spoke about how she fell in love with the macho Veeru of Sholay in her authorised biography Hema Malini: Beyond the Dream Girl, which released in 2017.
Read the excerpts below, which includes an anecdote from when Hema Malini first met Dharmendra:
"Hema recalls, ‘The truth was that I didn’t know what I wanted. I knew that I was attracted to him (Dharmendra) but the relationship had no future. In the beginning, we were just good friends. I enjoyed his company. We were paired opposite each other in so many films … there came a time when we were shooting together not just for days or weeks but for months. Soon, it became a habit to be with each other all the time… ‘As time passed, it became more and more impossible to describe what I felt for him, or better still define the relationship. To be honest, I never thought of marrying him. My only argument is that I didn’t fall in love consciously. It’s funny, but I always used to think that whenever I marry, it would be with someone like him. I never thought of it being him, though. It’s destiny and my fortune. " - Hema Malini
"“In 1975, during the outdoor shooting of Ramanand Sagar’s Charas (1976), we were to be in Malta for weeks. And since I was to be shooting with him (Dharmendra), my father insisted on coming along with me. Often, the cast and crew had to travel together in a car. My father was not happy with this at all. He would order me in Tamil – so that Dharam-ji would not understand what he was saying – to sit in one corner while he would try and sit in the middle. But Dharam-ji would make up some clever excuse or the other to get in from my side, so that I would end up sitting in the middle and he would be beside me!”" - Hema Malini
“Today we can laugh over it, but at that time it wasn’t funny. Strangely, my father had no problems with Dharam-ji other than the one related to me. In fact, they got along so well whenever I wasn’t around. They would always be laughing and I would want to freeze the moment. If only they could be like that forever. Everyone in my family adored him … just not as a prospective son-in-law. It’s difficult for me to describe what I went through in those days. I liked him – I couldn’t deny that he was attractive and strong and there was an air of serenity about him. I tried turning away from him. But I couldn’t. There was something inherently good about him. One day, while we were shooting, he suddenly asked me if I loved him. I began to blush and replied indirectly “I will only marry the person I love.” That was my only answer…”
It was at the premier of a K.A. Abbas film, Asmaan Mahal, that Hema Malini met Dharmendra. ‘I remember Ananthaswami had told my mother that I should start attending premiere shows of big films to gain visibility. I had just completed my first film and I had no idea what premiere shows were all about. My mother made me drape a traditional Kanjeevaram sari, put kaajal and wear a gajra. During the interval of the film, they called some of the artists and producers on stage for their feedback – as they usually do at premieres. When I was called on stage, I had to walk alone, and I remember being so shy. I had just finished my film with Raj Kapoor but the film had not yet released. While walking towards the stage I heard Dharam-ji tell Shashi Kapoor in Punjabi, “Kudi badi changi hai” (The girl is quite pretty) but I chose to ignore it. Then they introduced me as Raj Kapoor’s Dream Girl. How nervous I was to be sharing the stage with Dharam-ji and Shashi Kapoor!’
Title: Hema Malini: Beyond The Dream Girl
Author: Ram Kamal Mukherjee
Publisher: Harper Collins India
Price: Rs 599 (Hardcover)
(This story is from The Quint’s archives and is being republished on the occasion of Dharmendra’s 84rd birth anniversary.)
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