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Hema Malini (Hindi: हेमा मालिनी Tamil: ஹேமமாலினி) (born 16 October 1948) is an Indian actress, director and producer, as well as a Bharatanatyam dancer-choreographer. Making her acting debut in Sapno Ka Saudagar (1968), she went on to appear in numerous successful Bollywood films, most notably those with actor and future-husband Dharmendra. 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, and her accomplished classical dancing.

Malini is one of the most successful female filmstars 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 hit films, and her performances in both commercial and arthouse cinema, were often recognised.

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. She now spends most of her time involved in charitable and social ventures, though she still makes occasional appearances in films.

Early life

Hema Malini R. Chakravarty was born in Ammankudi, Thanjavur district, Tamil Nadumarker to V.S.R. Chakravarty and Jaya. Her mother was a film producer.


Hema Malini was educated at Chennaimarker. She acted in a short episode as dancer in Pandava Vanavasam, a 1961 Telugu film. Hema first tried to enter films in 1964, but was rejected; Tamil director Sridhar said she had no star appeal. She persisted and found her niche in Bollywood. She debuted in a 1968 film Sapnon Ka Saudagar ("The Dreamseller"), playing a young teen opposite the ageing superstar Raj Kapoor. With Dev Anand in Johnny Mera Naam (1970), Hema became a top star. She worked with him again in Tere Mere Sapne (1971), among other films, with the latest being Aman Ke Farishtey (2003). Hema double-roled with Dharmendra and Sanjeev Kumar in 1972s Seeta Aur Geeta as the top female star in Bollywood. She became one of the reigning divas of the Bollywood film industry, and her fans called her The Dream Girl of Bollywood (an allusion to the movie of the same name where she starred opposite Dharamendra).

Hema starred in many movies throughout the 1970s and 1980s and is perhaps best remembered for her glamour, style, and accomplished classical dancing. She formed a hit pair with Dharmendra, and the duo performed a number of hit movies like Sholay, Charas, Aas Paas, Jugnu, Seeta Aur Geeta, The Burning Train. She also achieved some strong dramatic or comic moments in films like Trishul, Joshila, Lal Patthar, Meera and Satte Pe Satta.

After taking a long break from films for a number of years in the 1990s and early 2000s, Hema has recently made a comeback of sorts. She co-starred with Amitabh Bachchan in the successful film Baghban (2003), and played a cameo role (also opposite Bachchan) in the 2004 blockbuster Veer-Zaara. In both films, she played a self-possessed, old married woman rather than the ingenuinee roles of her earlier career.

She tried her hand at directing and made the 1992 film Dil Aashna Hai which featured an all-star cast including Shahrukh Khan and the late Divya Bharti.

She also directed and starred in the TV serial Noopur, in which she was depicted as a Bharatanatyam dancer going to America.

Personal life

She is a dedicated Odissi artiste, a classical dance of India(Odissa). Her two daughters have trained in the same dance form and the three have performed together at several charity dance concerts.Top Bollywood stars like Sanjeev Kumar and Jeetendra proposed to her, but she married Dharmendra on 2 May 1980, who was already married with four children; two sons: Sunny Deol and Bobby Deol and two daughters. Later Dharmendra and Hema Malini had two daughters: Esha Deol (born 1982) and Ahana Deol. Her daughter Esha, coached by her mother, is also an accomplished classical dancer.

In 2005, on the TV show Koffee with Karan, she said that she taught her daughters Tamil language very well, but had to hire a tutor to help her daughter Esha Deol learn Punjabi for a film. Apparently, Esha's father Dharmendra, whose mother tongue is Punjabi, converses with Hema and his daughters only in Hindi and English.

Hema Malini and her husband have been involved in politics, as members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). She was elected to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament of India, with the support of the BJP. In February 2004, she joined the party officially. With her film career less hectic, she has been an active member of the party, attending party meetings and rallies and campaigning for the party through various elections.

Hema Malini's niece is actress Madhoo who had starred in hits Phool Aur Kaante (1991) and Roja (1992).

Awards, honours and recognitions

Filmfare Awards



Other Awards


  • 2000 - Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian award from the Government of India.
  • 2004 - "Living Legend Award" by the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in recognition of her contribution to the Indian entertainment industry.
  • 2007 - The 2007 Bangkok International Film Festival screened several films starring Hema Malini in a special tribute programme.
  • 2008 - Honoured for her contribution to classical dance.

Selected filmography

See Hema Malini filmography


Further reading

External links

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