The quintessential 'Dream Girl' of Hindi cinema, Hema Malini, has revealed in a new book that her father was strongly against her marriage with Dharmendra and when she tied the knot with the actor after his death, her mother was deeply hurt.
The actress-MP, who has fiercely guarded her private life from media glare, shares many intimate details of her life with journalist and film critic Bhawana Somaaya in "Hema Malini - An Authorized Biography".
This is perhaps the first time Hema candidly talks about her relationship with her parents, co-stars with whom she was linked with and her husband Dharmendra.
Hema says in the book that her father V.S.R. Chakravarti opposed the alliance with Dharmendra because he was convinced it would only bring doom. She married the actor after her father's death - a decision her mother, Jaya, didn't take kindly to.
"As far as I know, I have never intentionally hurt my mother. Except in my choice of marriage partner, perhaps. That was a tough decision for the entire family to accept. I guess the decision was inevitable," said Hema.
"It was not as if he (Dharmendra) wooed me with roses or took me for moonlight drives. At times, I feel I was attracted to him because he was so much like my mother, strong and silent," she added.
But, Hema says, neither age nor time has affected their love for each other.
"After all these years, he still looks at me like he did when we first met. He makes me feel special," she said.
In the book, she also talks about her children and her twin passions of dance and acting. It archives virtually every phase of her life.
"To agree to a biography reflects a state of mind. It means you are ready to reflect on your past actions. Part of me was ready for the exercise for I believe that not analysing meant escaping. My daughters insisted that I should. At least this way they would connect with all that happened to me when they were not a part of my life," said Hema.
Hema's journey to stardom was not an easy one. After being unceremoniously dropped from her first Tamil film as the director felt she didn't have 'star quality', she signed the Hindi film "Saudagar" in which she was paired with Raj Kapoor when just 18.
She soon conquered the hearts of all moviegoers with her beauty, grace and charisma. From "Johnny Mera Naam" to "Sholay", from "Meera" to "Baghbaan", she has portrayed a diverse range of characters.
"Hema Malini..." has been published by Roli Books (P) LTD and is priced at Rs.495. It is already in the market but the publishers are planning to formally launch it March 20.