Hema Malini wants to promote talented dancers

Dream Girl Hema Malini may have turned 67, but she still enthrals millions of her fans. The South Indian diva, who balances her roles of a granny, danseuse and a politician, wants to promote talented dancers through Jaya-Smriti, a programme in memory of her mother. She speaks to Lipika Varma on her dream to provide a platform for budding talents.
Q What’s your beauty mantra?
I am always happy. I have enjoyed all my roles as a mother, daughter, sister, wife and all were fulfilling. I don’t have a normal family life as I have always been busy, but I enjoy every bit of my life. Dance has supported me a lot.
Q You are a granny now, how do you feel? 
I didn’t know a new relationship could bring you so much happiness. I play with Darian every day and all my memories of my little girls come back to me. I was a working mother and one of my favourite memories is how they would come and hug me when I returned home.
Q Why are you reviving Jaya-Smriti after two years?
My mother was a great art lover and she made me what I am today. Without dance, I would have never been Hema Malini. She wanted me to be a dancer. I was offered roles after people saw my performance.
Q Will you be performing for Jaya-Smriti? Who all will be participating this year?
None of us will perform this year. Many beautiful dancers from Odisha, including Kelucharan Mohapatra’s granddaughter, will perform this year. A dancer from the Abruti organisation, which adopts children and train them to dance, will also be performing for Jaya-Smriti.
Q Who are your favourite dancers in Bollywood?
Deepika dances very well. Aishwarya performs Kathak exuberantly.
Q Will your daughters take over the dancing reign of yours?
I have taught my daughters everything. They are dedicated. I am trying to preserve the culture and I want them to take over. I hope they do it. It has to be a natural process.
Q What’s up on your production front?
You can’t make films now. I did a film Tell me Oh Khuda, but the director was not good. Dev Saab, Guru Dutt and Ramesh Sippy all produced and directed movies, but now corporates have taken over and we have to depend on them.
Q As a South Indian, how were your initial days in Bollywood? 
The first 10 years of my life were in Delhi and we moved to Chennai as I wanted to be an actor and a dancer. When I became an actor, I shifted to Mumbai. Those days, I used to wear heavy Kancheevaram saris that my mom brought for me. Many women up North made fun of me, especially producers’ wives, who said, ‘Yeh Madrasi kya karegi?’
Q Tell us about Dharmendra.
I am blessed to have him in my life. If I was married to someone else, I would be doing nothing. I  have always been inspired by him.
Q What are you doing for Mathura?
I am working hard for Mathura. People there are innocent. There’s no development as they have been looted for ages and no one has done anything for their well-being. I talked to the party higher-ups, and UP CM Akhilesh Yadav and I are trying to do something for their well-being.
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