BJP recognizes Hema Malini’s Value in Political Arena

Ever since her entry in the saffron party, she is pampered, regardless of the transition from Advani to Modi era. Bhartiya Janata party (BJP) ‘s move to field Hema Malini from Mathura despite her age is a recognition of actress’ value in the political arena. Prime minister Narendra Modi and his deputy Amit Shah seem […]

Ever since her entry in the saffron party, she is pampered, regardless of the transition from Advani to Modi era.

Bhartiya Janata party (BJP) ‘s move to field Hema Malini from Mathura despite her age is a recognition of actress’ value in the political arena. Prime minister Narendra Modi and his deputy Amit Shah seem to have made two major concessions for her. Hema Malini, 75, now, has been given a waiver as 75 years of age is considered ‘over age’ for a party ticket.
Oddly enough, the Iyangar Brahmin from Tamil Nadu had trounced supreme Jat leader late Choudhary Charan Singh’s grandson Jayant in Mathura seat, riding on the Jat sentiments. Jayant’s RLD is now an NDA ally. Jayant in 2019 Lok Sabha polls was left wondering how a section of Jats had sided with Hema Malini than him. Perhaps it was due to a fact that the actress herself is married to a debonair Jat from Punjab and her hero in 31 films Dharmendra Deol.

Hema Malini is acknowledged as conservative a Bhartiya Nari as it gets. Her rootedness in Indian culture is more manifest in film/dance than politics. Most of her ballets are inspired by Hindu mythological stories. She is deeply religious and has always remained an obedient daughter of Jaya Chakravarty since she debuted in filmdom nearly five decades ago. She carried forward the protective mother tradition by selecting grooms of her two daughters- Isha and Ahana. Isha, the elder daughter, dabbled in films for a while but could not make it big. Eventually she opted out of the tinsel town to settle as a homemaker. Ahana did not commit the elder sister’s mistake. She wedded a Delhi businessman in 2014. Hema Malini played the matriarch in upbringing and marrying off the two daughters while her husband chose to play a second fiddle. Hema loves to act as goddess Shakti in her dance-drama. She has played that role in real life too vis-a-vis the family.
Ever since her entry in the BJP, Hema Malini has been pampered, regardless of the party’s transition from Advani to Modi era.

Hema campaigned for her co-star and Bhartiya Janata party candidate Vinod Khanna in the 1999 general election in Gurdaspur constituency. That was the beginning of her political sojourn where crowds gathered to see the star. She regaled the mesmerised audience with her memorable Basanti dialogues from the blockbuster film Sholey. At that point, she had not nurtured any serious ambition of joining politics. But with Vinod Khanna’s campaign proving a huge success, the BJP approached her to campaign in other states as well. She travelled to remote villages and, everywhere the response was euphoric. She was herself surprised by the interest she generated in the crowds.

Rewards from the BJP for her work came in quick succession. In 1999, Hema Malini was awarded the ‘Padma Bhushan’ for her contribution to Indian Cinema. She also served as chairperson of the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) from 2000-2003.
But the real reward was yet to follow. The BJP recommended her nomination for Rajya Sabha in 2003. She was on her way to the US for staging her ballet Radha Krishna when she learnt that she was nominated to the Upper House. She recalls;” there was a buzz that my name was circulating but the confirmation came just when I was boarding the flight. When I stopped at Paris en route, i was flooded with congratulatory messages on my cellphone’.

The dream girl’s debut in the Rajya Sabha coincided with her 55th birthday on October 16,2003. On her birthday, the family holds a Puja at home every year to seek blessings of the almighty. Her mother Jaya Chakravarty organised an early morning puja to allow her to take the morning flight from Mumbai to Delhi. The flight got delayed but Hema Malini somehow managed to make it to the parliament for oath-taking.
In her maiden speech in Parliament, she said, ‘I hail from the film world…a world of dreams and one day, I would like to see these dreams transformed into reality”.
Within months of being nominated to the Rajya Sabha by the then President APJ Abdul Kalam, Hema Malini formally joined the BJP. Her decision created a stir. It was against the conventions for an appointed candidate to join a political party. Her re-nomination to the Rajya Sabha in 2010 from Karnataka again kicked off a mild row. She was picked to fill a vacant Rajya Sabha seat in a by-election for a year. BJP leaders in Karnataka were unhappy that an outsider was given the seat.

Hema Malini’s first project as an MP was to start a cleanliness and beautification drive at the Juhu beach in Mumbai. It was initiated by former colleague and MP Shabana Azmi, who endorsed a similar project in Bandra. It was Hema’s idea to beautify the place and build a park for senior citizens and children.
Ironically, the same Hema Malini stirred an unseemly controversy on another cleanliness drive in her Mathua constituency in 2015. On Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s clarian call for clean India, celebrities across India including BJP MPs wielded the broom and cleaned roads as a symbolic gesture. TV channels showed Hema Malini holding a broom rather awkwardly which barely touched the road surface. When she was asked to comment on her perfunctory demonstration of commitment to the PM’s pet project, Hema retorted, ‘I don’t know how to wield a broom. I have never cleaned road’. The BJP let her off without a comment on her insensitive remark.

Hema was born in the Tamil-speaking Chakravarthy household on October 16, 1948 in Ammankudi, Tamil Nadu. Her father’s name is V.S.R. Chakravarthy and her mom, Jaya, were film producers. She was enrolled in the Chennai-based Andhra Mahila Sabha.
After performing as a dancer in a 1961 regional movie, she was rejected by Tamil director, CV Sridhar, during 1964 when she first attempted to act, on the grounds that she was too thin to be heroine in Venniradai and the role went to Venniradai Nirmala. Later Hema performed in the song Singara Therukku Selai sung by Seergazhi Govindrajan and LR Eshwari as a supporting actor in 1963 Tamil film Idhu Sathiyam starring SA Asokan as the hero. But Hema persisted and debuted opposite Raj Kapoor in ‘Sapnon Ka Saudagar’ just 4 years after her rejection. The movie was a flop but Hema got noticed. Thereafter there has no looking back for this attractive Libran, who went to star in close to 155 movies. She also produced and directed two movies, and directed a TV serial ‘Noopur’.

After turning down marriage proposals from Sanjeev Kumar and Jeetendra, she met with hot fellow actor, Dharmendra. Both were attracted to each other and wanted to get married. Dharmendra, who was already married to Prakash Kaur, and had two sons, Sunny and Bobby, could not marry Hema as Prakash refused to divorce him.
According to the Hindu Marriage Act, a Hindu cannot marry a second time while the first wife is still alive. Dharmendra belongs to an Arya Samaj Hindu Punjabi Jat family. On August 21, 1979, both Hema and Dharmendra had reportedly changed their names to Aisha Bi R. Chakravarty and Dilawar Khan Kewal Krishn respectively, and got married in a nikah.

In the book “Hema Malini: The Authorized Biography,” (2007) Hema revealed that both actors Jeetendra and Sanjeev Kumar had proposed marriage to her but it was Dharmendra who won her hand in the end.