Hema Malini's biography is to be launched this Monday, Bhawana Somaaya talks about the writing of the book and her subjectToday when the stars are ready to share what they do in their bathrooms, it is hard to imagine that a star could refuse to answer a question just because she was walking. Yes, we are talking about Hema Malini and the young journalist, who committed the alleged bad manners, was Bhawana Somaaya. That was late `70s. Times have changed and now Bhawana has come up with the biography of the dream girl. A seasoned journalist Bhawana has written extensively on cinema. She says the ice between the two was broken when Bhawana reviewed her ballet "Draupadi". "She called me and asked me to write a book on her as a dancer. She felt that people know the actor, the star she is but they don't know that there would be no Hema Malini without her dance and the hardships she had to go through."
The trustBut Bhawana had never worked on a commissioned book. "I told her that the book would be incomplete unless we include the actress and the woman. She agreed and thus started our meetings. At times, I would leave a draft of 2500 words with her. Next morning I would find a thousand words added to the text. Sometimes, it hurt the journalist in me but as an author it made my work more challenging." So here Hema talks candidly not only about her career but also about the highs and lows in her relationship with her mother, father and Dharmendra. Talking about the person about whom reams were written but rarely ever with her quote, Bhawana says there is no double side to her. "Her face reflects whatever she has in her heart. One of the reasons that she chose me was that I never indulged in `sensational' journalism."Time and again critics have called her a limited actress, who thrived on her magnetic beauty and screen presence, but Bhawana feels Hema has been "enormously lucky". She completely trusted her directors. She replaced Mumtaz in Seeta aur Geeta.
Offbeat rolesInitially, very apprehensive to play the naughty Geeta's part she would ask director Ramesh Sippy to first enact every scene to her. Like the scene where she had to sit on the ceiling fan or for that when she had to dance on `Jab Tak Hai Jaan' on glass pieces in Sholay!"As for the range of roles, Bhawana reminds she did her share of off beat films like Kinara, Rihai and Ek Chadar Maili Si but like most successful stars fell into the image trap. Averse to exposure, even when the script demanded it, Bhawana calls it a matter of personal choice. "Even Amitabh has stayed away from kissing scenes and nudity."Final word: "She brought dignity to whatever she did and managed to retain her innocence despite the hardships."ANUJ KUMAR