• Tuesday, April 16, 2024


Will never come out of ‘Basanti’ shadow: Hema Malini

The cinema icon and BJP MP is currently seeking a third Lok Sabha term from Mathura, India.

Hema Malini (Photo by SUJIT JAISWAL/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Mohnish Singh

The shadow of Basanti still looms large and Hema Malini, who references her role as the feisty tonga puller from the 1975 classic Sholay in many of her rallies, says candidly she may never come out of it.

The cinema icon and BJP MP is currently seeking a third Lok Sabha term from Mathura.

“I will never come out of the Basanti shadow. It will always be there. I was born with that. I have done 200 films and people still remember me as ‘Sholay ki Basanti’ or from Seeta Aur Geeta, and Baghban,” she said.

“I tell everyone that I am three in one — a film artiste, a dancer, and a politician,” Malini told PTI in an exclusive interview.

Forty-nine years after it was released, Ramesh Sippy’s Sholay continues to be a massive draw with its ensemble cast and characters living on in celluloid memory. There was Jai (Amitabh Bachchan), Veeru (Dharmendra), Gabbar (Amjad Khan), Thakur (Sanjeev Kumar), and Basanti, one of Malini’s best-loved characters.

Malini, 75, is also a Bharatanatyam exponent and continues to perform at live shows.

“I am dedicated to my classical dance… I am thankful to God that I was given the opportunities at the right time,” she added.

The veteran actress, whose last film appearance was 2020’s romance drama “Shimla Mirchi”, also with Sippy, said she is waiting for the right script to come her way.

“If there are any good roles in films, I will also do that. If somebody offers me a nice role that suits me in today’s time, I definitely will do it. But nothing is in the pipeline as of now,” she said.

Malini, who has acted in over 200 films in a six-decade career, also directed two films — Shah Rukh Khan starrer Dil Aashna Hai (1992) and Tell Me O Kkhuda (2011) featuring her daughter Esha Deol.

Asked about her directorial plans, she said simply, “It will take time.”

Malini, who practises yoga regularly, said she believes in staying healthy.

“You should have the intention to look good and the intention to keep your health well… Be a little spiritual… I have all these things with me,” she added.

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