Hema Malini is an Indian actress, director and producer, Bharatanatyam dancer-choreographer, a politician and in 2012 she became a doctor. Making her acting debut in Sapno Ka Saudagar (1968), she went on to appear in numerous Bollywood films, most notably those with actor and future-husband Dharmendra and with Rajesh Khanna. She was initially promoted as "Dream Girl", and in 1977 starred in a film of the same name. During this period, she established herself as one of Hindi cinema's leading actresses, noted for both her comic and dramatic roles, her beauty, and her accomplished classical dancing.
Malini is among the most successful female film stars in the history of Indian cinema. Appearing in over 150 films in a career span of 40 years, she has starred in a large number of successful films, and her performances in both commercial and arthouse cinema, were often recognised. During her career, she has been nominated 11 times for the Filmfare Award for Best Actress, of which she won once in 1972. In 2000, she was presented with the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award. In the same year, she was honoured with the Padma Shri, the fourth-highest civilian honour, by the Government of India. In 2012, the Sir Padampat Singhania University conferred an Honorary Doctorate on Malini in recognition of her contribution to Indian cinema. She also served as the Chairperson of the National Film Development Corporation. She was awarded the prestigious "SaMaPa Vitasta Award 2006" in Delhi by SaMaPa - "Sopori Academy of Music And Performing Arts" by Music Legend Pandit Bhajan Sopori for her lifetime contribution and service to Indian culture and Dance.
Of late Malini spends most of her time on charitable and social ventures, while making occasional appearances in films. She is a member of India's Bharatiya Janata Party and was nominated member by the party in Rajya Sabha, the upper House of parliament during 2003–2009.
Hema was considered for a Tamil film when she was 15 but rejected by director C. V. Sridhar saying that she was too thin. In 1965, she got an opportunity to portray a danseuse in Pandava Vanavasam, a Telugu film. Later Ananthaswamy, a film poducer, offered her a role opposite Raj Kapoor in his film Sapno Ka Saudagar (1968). She was promoted as the dream girl of Bollywood right from that film.
In Johnny Mera Naam (1970), she was cast in a more pivotal role and the film became a blockbuster. She took challenging roles which most of the heroines of the 1960s refused to do. She played the role of a young widow in Andaaz (1971) and in Lal Patthar (1971) she played a character with negative shades. The following year, Hema double-roled with Dharmendra and Sanjeev Kumar in Seeta Aur Geeta. Even after many years the film remains one of the best in her career. The film was a blockbuster and earned her first Filmfare Best Actress Award. Within four years of making her debut, she established herself as one of the leading actresses in Bollywood.
During the mid 70s, her fans started calling her "Dream Girl", an allusion to the movie of the same name where she starred opposite Dharmendra.
A majority of her films released during this period were highly successful; Sanyasi, Dharmatma and Pratigya. Sholay, released in 1975, became a box-office phenomenon, where she played the role of Basanti, an unforgettable role of a talkative girl.
Malini starred in many movies throughout the 1970s and is perhaps best remembered for her glamour, style, and accomplished classical dancing. The Dharmendra-Hema pair had back to back hits from the early 70's like Sharafat, Tum Haseen Main Jawan, Naya Zamana, Raja Jani, Seeta Aur Geeta starring together in 28 movies in all, eventually marrying him in 1980. The pair continued with box office hit movies like Patthar Aur Payal, Dost, Charas, Jugnu, Azaad, Dillagi and Dil Kaa Heera. She also achieved some strong dramatic or comic moments in films like Trishul, Joshila and Khushboo. In the late 1970s she acted in female-centric movies like Kinara (1977) and Meera (1979), directed by Gulzar.
Post marriage: 1980–1999
After her marriage she continued to work in films like Kranti, Naseeb, Satte Pe Satta and Vijay Anand's Rajput. Dharmendra & Hema Malini were paired together after marriage in Alibaba Aur 40 Chor, Baghavat, Samraat and Razia Sultan. In 1983 she starred in Andha Kanoon which marked the debut of Tamil actor Rajinikanth in Bollywood. In the film she played the sister of Rajinikanth, seeking revenge for the death of her parents. The following year she acted in K. Balachander's Ek Nai Paheli, a remake of his Tamil film Apoorva Raagangal. She portrayed the role of a classical singer in the film. Her on screen pairing opposite Rajesh Khanna was very popular as they appeared in a number of box-office hits such as Andaaz, Bandish, Prem Nagar, Mehbooba and Kudrat.
She was a part of the hit multi-starrers Baghavat and Raaj Tilak both opposite Dharmendra, and continued to gain success in films focusing on her character like Aandhi Toofan, Durgaa and Ramkali in 1985, Sitapur Ki Geeta in 1987 saw her doing action oriented roles while Ek Chaddar Maili Si (1986), Rihaee and Jamai Raja (1990), saw her playing more matured roles.
Hema also directed a film, Dil Aashna Hai which was a commercial failure and her career tapered off as she chose to concentrate more on her dance commitments and Television serials.
After taking a break from films for a number of years, Hema made a comeback with Baghban (2003). The film had Amitabh Bachchan playing her husband and also earned her a Filmfare Best Actress Award nomination. She also played a cameo in the 2004 film Veer-Zaara. In both films, she played a self-possessed, elderly married woman. In 2011, she directed her second feature film that featured her daughter Esha Deol in the lead role alongside her husband Dharmendra in Tell Me O Khuda which released on Diwali of 2011.
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