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It's a huge family affair

HARSHIKAA UDASI
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Chat Hema Malini and daughter Esha talk about the making of ‘Tell Me O Kkhuda' that also stars Dharmendra

Bonding over work Hema Malini with daughter Esha
Bonding over work Hema Malini with daughter Esha

H ectic is an understatement to describe the goings-on at Hema Malini's bungalow in Juhu, Mumbai. It is almost two decades since the actor's banner H M Creations saw some action, once more under her wings. “It's very exciting. Filmmaking has changed completelyPromotions have reached a crescendo. Anything we do seems insufficient for promoting a film,” says Hema laughing.

Relaunch vehicle

The film titled “Tell Me O Kkhuda” (TMOK) stars her daughter Esha Deol, who will be back on screen after a good three years. The film is being largely seen as her re-launch vehicle. But both mother and daughter abhor the ‘comeback' word. “I am certainly not re-launching Esha. Where is the need to do that? She has been working for about 10 years now and has 30-odd films to her credit. I told her to discontinue as there were no interesting roles coming her way. Nowadays, anyway most films are male-oriented. The girls have rather little to do,” says the yesteryear actor. Esha nods in agreement. “In the West, actresses can take a break and get back to work without anyone even batting an eyelid. But in India, they make a big deal about it. My mom told me to take a chill pill and I have been helping her in reviving our home banner.”

TMOK is the story of Tanya (Esha), a happy-go-lucky urban girl who is a novelist. Her life turns upside down when she finds out that she is an adopted child. Nursing a wish to meet her biological parents, she leaves home along with her childhood friend (Chandan Roy Sanyal) and boyfriend (Arjan Bajwa). The trio embark on a journey filled with adventure, action, emotion and comedy. The film also stars veteran actors Farooq Sheikh, Rishi Kapoor, Vinod Khanna, and Dharmendra.

The USP of the film is the story of the father-daughter bonding, both agree. “The script took a while to complete but it is the film's strength. It has a lot of emotional depth,” says Esha. “It is also the first time that the audience will see Esha working with her father,” says Hema with pride. The film's script is by Mayur Puri, who left the project midway owing to differences between Hema and him. It has delayed the film by almost six months. Ask Hema about it and she says, “Mayur was not ready to make appropriate amends. I had decided that I would allow the youngsters to call the shots and concentrate on the larger picture. But then I thought that this is my film. Why not direct it myself?” TMOK is an out-and-out commercial film. Tanya's childhood friend Kuki (Chandan) supplies the humour quotient. The film also has action. Esha says that the stunts were performed by her and though it was tough, it made for a thrilling experience. But of all things, Esha cherishes shooting with father Dharmendra. She insists she was not intimidated by her parents' presence. “My dad is a wonderful, warm person. My mother may appear strict but she is quite helpful and encouraging. All in all I knew I was in expert hands,” says Esha. Ask her mom to rate the daughter as an actor and Hema says, “She is not melodramatic and displays subtlety and restraint.”

When it comes to her husband, Hema says she let her head rule her heart. “He has worked under various directors and it was a privilege to shoot with him. Not only was he cooperative but also never interfering. He took active interest in the script when it was being drafted and in his role. He would encourage me but never overrule my decision.”

TMOK will release on Deepavali (October 27) alongside Shah Rukh Khan's “RA.One”. King Khan took time out to promote TMOK. The other Khan — Salman, has also lent support to the film. The promotional track ‘Someone Somebody' has him grooving with Esha.

Talking about her future plans, 28-year-old Esha says that she will only accept roles that will get her attention.

“A typical day for me involves listening to creative ideas, reading scripts, editing — aspects of filmmaking I wasn't remotely exposed to earlier. In fact, the small screen is also emerging as an interesting medium. A friend and I have written a script for a TV show which is awaiting mom's approval. It might take off after TMOK's release,” says Esha about her new avatar.

Meanwhile mom Hema is happy with her daughters' decisions. The younger, Ahana after years of deliberation has decided to take a plunge into acting.

“My life is busy; making movies, dancing, handling my political career and watching my daughters grow. What more can I ask for?” she smiles.

HARSHIKAA UDASI

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