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Dream girl's real concern

Hema Malani on her experiences as a woman in the film industry


I USED TO FEEL A LITTLE AWKWARD AS EVERYONE ON THE FILM SETS WAS A MAN HEMA MALINI



Still a dream girl Hema Malini PHOTO: SANDEEP SAXENA

`Oh! Ye tum kya karta hai.' She pouts with a childlike innocence as a fan slips his diary into her hand for an autograph even as she is closing her purse. "Isme se sab dekh liya," she asks, as the bewildered man gets his signed diary back. He is bemused at her childlike conduct, mesmerised by her beauty, and hypnotised by her charm. And here Hema Malini proves what Mahatma Gandhi believed, that "the greater our innocence, the greater our strength and the swifter our victory".

And here is she, in a win-win situation. Listening to her is a pleasure, as her speech is tinged with humour. "Otherwise it becomes drab, no?" she asks with a rehearsed curiosity in her big, beautiful eyes, now gathering creases underneath.

Hema Malini, actress, director, producer, dancer and parliamentarian expresses her views on women's issues... Even the Gods didn't act without their female counterparts who were called Shakti. They always involved them while taking important decisions. Brahma didn't work without Saraswati, Vishnu without Lakshmi and Mahesh without Parvati," she says.

But she believes it may be difficult for women to jostle with men to reach the top.

"I too faced that. I used to feel a little awkward as everyone on the sets, except the hairdresser, was male. So I would take my mother along for shoots. Enacting emotional scenes or wearing funny clothes used to be quite embarrassing. But when I met Aruna Raje, the only woman director of her times, I was greatly influenced by her style of functioning. While directing my first film Dil Aashna Hai, I drew inspiration from her, especially in handling the male cast," she says.

She may be known as a doting mother, but ask her about her daughters and she shoots back, "Why are you so worried about them? Main ma ho kar worried nahi hun. You want a role reversal?"

She won't spare the bureaucracy either. "When I was the chairperson of NFDC, I was happy because they gave me a chair in a well decorated room. The rules of bureaucracy can't be broken whether it is for men or women," she says laughing.

Did anyone recite Ernest Hemingway's words "All things truly wicked start from an innocence?

RANA SIDDIQUI

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