Hema Malini: 'I’m waiting for someone to offer me something nice...'

Hema Malini: 'I’m waiting for someone to offer me something nice...'

Hema Malini, whose dance ballet opens in Mumbai today, is not only a part of an initiative to clean 75 rivers across Maharashtra, she is also working towards culturally elevating artistes in her constituency, Mathura   

Roshmila BhattacharyaUpdated: Saturday, March 18, 2023, 07:45 PM IST
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Ask her about her first sighting of the Ganga and Hema Malini is momentarily stumped. Then the memories start flowing. “I think it was during the shooting of Sanyasi in Varanasi… Then again, during a visit to Kolkata, one evening, when at the Belur Math, I watched, amazed, as the water gushed up the banks with such force and ferocity probably because of high tide… In Rishikesh, I saw a very different Ganga, so beautiful and divinely blue,” she reminisces with a smile.

The smile disappears as the actress points out that while we often take a dip in the river because it is believed that your sins will be washed away if you bathe in the Ganga, we have done little to keep this symbol of purity and sanctity from getting dirty and polluted. “The idea of my new ballet is to raise awareness about this. The subject has been brewing in my mind for a while, Ganga carries forward that message. The river has given us so much, it’s time for us to give something back in return,” asserts the danseuse.

She is enthused by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s clean Ganga mission. Now, the government of Maharashtra’s Department of Culture and Directorate of Cultural Affairs has also decided to clean and revitalize 75 rivers across the state. The initiative, Chaliye Jaanein Nadi Ko, which is a part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, in the 75th year of India’s Independence, has aligned with Hema Malini’s dance ballet which chronicles Ganga’s fascinating journey across the various yugas. Ganga, conceived, scripted, produced and performed by Hema Malini, premieres today, March 19, 6.30 pm, at Mumbai’s Jamshed Bhabha Theatre, NCPA. “The challenge is that this is not a pure classical Indian dance like Bharatnatyam, but a creative fusion that gives the effect of water,” explains Bollywood’s evergreen Dream Girl, who has essayed the roles of Durga, Mahalakshmi, Radha and Draupadi on stage earlier.

Which of these ballets was the most difficult, you wonder, and she says dismissively, “Nothing is difficult. The dedication and concentration is already there, uske upar se thoda riyaaz kar lo, four-five rehearsals, and you are set. Practice brings perfection.”

She is happy that not just her daughters, Esha and Ahana, even Esha’s daughters, Radhya and Miraya, though still young, are showing much interest in dance. “Ahana’s twins, Astraia and Adea Vohra, are just two, but music chalte hi even they start dancing,” she beams.

Hema Malini has not been seen on screen for a while now, but she insists that if any good role comes her way, she will definitely do it. “I’m waiting for someone to offer me something nice, maybe write something special for me. Mujhe kaam karna hai. I may be a Member of Parliament, but acting still remains my main profession,” she asserts.

Meanwhile, she is gearing up to actively campaign during the 2024 Indian general elections. “I don’t know yet if it will be for myself or for others,” she says, admitting that while she had got into politics to do seva (work for the people) after getting so much name and fame, it has since become very close to her heart. “There is so much more that I can do as a politician than as an actress because as an MP, I have access to many more opportunities and facilities,” she points out.

She has been working towards making the annual Vraja-mandala Parikrama a more comfortable walk. “Devotees walk through Vrindavan in the name of Lord Krishna every year, and when they told me about the kind of hardships they face, particularly women as there are no designated toilets for them, I spoke to Nitin Gadkari (Minister of Road Transport & Highways) and a few others and with a budget of Rs 14,000 crore, work has started in making their travels more pleasant and enjoyable. There are also many more flyovers in Mathura now aimed at making journeys easier,” she shares.

Hema Malini wants to not just beautify her constituency, but also culturally elevate artistes there. Finishing touches are being put to two new theatres and she has plans to host daily cultural shows in Brij bhasha there.

“Sur padavali and rasleela will be performed every day so locals and visitors, after a tour of the temples and a delicious meal, can be entertained in the best possible way. It is also my dream to start a Krishna theme park there, along the lines of Disneyland, with rollercoasters and the works, and Lord Krishna accompanying children on these rides. It will be so much fun!” she signs off with a flourish.

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