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The world still remembers Hema Malini as ‘Dream Girl’. Hema Malini, who did her first Hindi film ‘Sapno Ka Saudagar’ with Raj Kapoor, was noticed by people in films like ‘Johnny Mera Naam’, ‘Lal Patthar’ and ‘Andaz’, but becoming the biggest turning point of her career I film ‘Sita and Geeta’. On the occasion of completion of 50 years of the film’s release, Hema Malini had a long conversation with Pankaj Shukla, Consultant Editor of ‘Amar Ujala’. In this conversation, for the first time, Hema Malini not only accepted Sanjeev Kumar’s infatuation with her, but also told that another actor used to be more infatuated with her in those days. An emotional story related to the film is that Hema Malini has once danced in front of the house where her daughter now lives with her children wearing a ghaghra for this film. This SUPER EXCLUSIVE interview of Hema Malini is full of such funny stories.
Hemaji, what was your reaction when the story of the film ‘Sita Aur Geeta’ was narrated for the first time? Was there any hesitation in doing this film similar to the story of Dilip Kumar’s ‘Ram Aur Shyam’?
What should I tell now? We had entered films with the film ‘Sapno Ka Saudagar’, but I did not know that I would make such a big career in it. My base in those days was Madras. We had left from Delhi. Papa was transferred. We had seen ‘Ram Aur Shyam’ there in the theatre. Loved the film and enjoyed it a lot. But I had never thought that we would ever do the same story like ‘Sita and Geeta’. I used to come to Mumbai for shooting. Was working in the film ‘Andaz’ with director Ramesh (Sippy) ji. Everything was new so I feel scared, how to do it? What is the plan? Had to work with such a big actor Shammi Kapoor ji. And, Rajesh Khanna! He was becoming a very emerging popular artist. His and my first picture released back to back. But, he got success very fast and very quickly. It was during the dubbing of the film ‘Andaz’ that the mention of ‘Sita and Geeta’ came to my notice for the first time.
Ok how, who did it?
What happens is as soon as a picture goes to dubbing, the directors start planning for the next picture. So Ramesh ji said one day, ‘It is a wonderful script. I am thinking of making a film on it. It has a double role. I started wondering whose double role is it? Don’t know what are you talking about? I told him that I have seen ‘Ram Aur Shyam’ some time back. Then, he started saying that we are making the same story but the ladies version of it. According to me, then he was thinking of making this film with Mumtaz, so I did not say much. Just said, ‘Wow, very good, very good.’ Then after a few days he came and told me that would you like to do this film? I said would like to do what would mean. I have to do I would love to have fun. Just immediately all the plans started being made. I can say that Ramesh ji must have already planned to take me, but what is it that people in the film industry do not speak directly and quickly. First, they provoke the artist so that he should say in front that I want to do, I want to do. Arouse an excitement inside the artist first. And, when it starts appearing, they come and catch it at that time.
I was recently told that while shooting for the film ‘Sita Aur Geeta’, Ramesh ji used to tell you in a slow voice that this scene is of Sita, it is of Geeta?
Before shooting, he used to tell me to do this. Sita is like this, Gita is like this. But, after wearing the dress, I used to know what it is? Is it Sita or Gita? I am only Sita when I came on the set wearing a saree, so even if you ask me to do Geeta’s action at that time, I will not be able to do it. Then the next day on the same set, when I happened to do Geeta’s scene at the same location, I made two big braids. Paste tattoo stickers. They wear black bindi to look like tribals. As soon as the make-up was done, my walk, shield all changed. I still remember her ghagra. Such a beautiful and such a big circle that if you keep a single step, then the whole will go up and down like this. So it was not necessary to tell. Along with the costume and make-up, I used to feel whether I am Sita or Geeta today.
And, now whenever you go to Nariman Point or Worli, you remember this film, a song of which you shot there at street intersections..
Yes, I remember that a lot. That whole song, ‘Zindagi hai khel koi paas koi fail, khiladi hai koi anari hai koi’, we shot that all over Mumbai. The shooting of that song went on for about a week. Sometimes in Nariman Point, sometimes in Worli. It was shot there in Worli as well. Where there is a house of Parsi people. There was a three way. And there was some empty space lying nearby. I was shot by putting a rope there. Just a few days ago, I was watching ‘Sita and Geeta’ like this, then my daughter said, Mama, this is our house. You will also be surprised to know that my daughter is now living in the same house. Then he also showed my grandson that look, in front of your house, Nani had danced on that table. And, I also met the housekeeper of that house. She started telling, ‘I was very young. You used to come in between the shots and sit in front of my house. Then in the middle of the shooting, he used to put a chair somewhere there to rest in between the shots. This is also a memory for me. And that shooting was also done in Juhu where Jamnabai school is located. All these children have been going there. Children still watch the full video of the movie ‘Sita Aur Geeta’. Dekho na, where I shot early in my career. There I went again as a grandmother.
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