My oldest memory of Hema Malini goes back to a Sunday when evenings meant family gatherings in front of the television, watching Hindi movies that Doordarshan would telecast. There she was on the screen, in the song, Kisi Shayar Ki Ghazal… and the child in me, wide-eyed would be all awestruck by her beauty. That was the beginning of a lifetime of adoring and idolizing her.
Years later, I found myself reading her biography by Ram Kamal Mukherjee with a foreword by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The book touches the unknown parts of the diva’s life. While her mother’s contribution and the strict regime she followed, was not unknown, the book spoke about her life growing up, her father, her brothers, her name almost being changed to Sujata, her dance, performances and a lot more.
Beyond The Dream Girl takes the reader to a journey beyond the glitz and glamour all Bollywood junkies are aware of. Showbiz is said to be a difficult place for reserved people and that’s exactly where Hema Malini’s life becomes inspirational. She doesn’t change herself; instead lets her movies do the talking.
The book has an array of photographs in three sections, showing various sections of her life, bringing the reader closer to the diva.
Beyond the Dream Girl delves into aspects like Hema’s experiments with spirituality, her relationship with her husband, her taking up newer roles like that of a producer and then a politician. And not to forget, her launching the man who later went on to become the Baadshah of Bollywood.
In this book, Mukherjee has kept the content drama and gossip free, fitting the diva’s personality. A story has been told in a dignified manner, presenting how it looks from inside the world of a dancer-actor-director-politician who has successfully played multifaceted roles in her life. Hema Malini’s life is also an excellent example of how not every child who is pushed into something by parents becomes a rebel. Some go on to become great and set examples. Her work has always left a mark, irrespective of the task at hand.