|Don't mention your birthday, you say? Well, I shall. Try and stop me.|
I'm pretty sure every week is going to be Hema Malini week here for a while (yes, I'm obsessed), so I won't worry about dedicating a post series just to her films. That might turn out to be rather superfluous, given my watching choices recently. For now, I'll just count down the newly discovered things that make me adore Hema on my journey so far . . .
5. Her oh-so-lovely chemistry/deeply palpable on-screen understanding with Dharmendra.
I mean really, how could I not mention this? I can't speak to their personal life, but their onscreen life is the epitome of what I want to see between male/female romantic leads.
|Even when she wasn't playing his on-screen love-interest, they made perfect sense as friends and partners in crime.|
(Seeta aur Geeta, 1972)
|I'm not gonna lie, for me, if space between people can hum . . . the space between them practically shouts. Even in their first role together. (Sharafat, 1970)|
|After over a decade of starring together, they still HAD it. (Rajput, 1982)|
4. Her ferocity.
Sure she could handle herself in the dishoom dishoom department, and knew what to do with a whip. But you really don't want to get on her bad side in any way, shape, or form . . . considering that she could also slay you with a look.
|My name is Geeta. You stole my sister . . . prepare to die.|
3. Her ability to convey bitter ironies with merely a look, a turn of the wrist, or a wry smile.
I can't think of a more powerful example than this song, Mubarak Ho Tujhe Ae Dil (Raja Jani, 1972), in which she congratulates Dharmendra's character on getting everything he wanted . . . while making her life a misterable lie in the process. One of her many excellent uses of the "kindness as a rebuke" strategy.
2. Her distinct, droll, and refreshingly frank comedic style:
| These kind of facial acrobatics seem to be par for the course in Hema roles, especially in masala films.|
(Seeta aur Geeta, 1972.)
|I LOVE it when she talks to herself. Best conversations ever. (Raja Rani, 1972)|
1. Her ability to project the strength of her own self-awareness even on the most oppressed, downtrodden characters.
Even in her suffering female roles . . . I still see the strong woman underneath . . . the woman who is confident in her own identity, no matter who else takes issue with it.
|She looks sad, but the beauty of it is, you knows she's about to get it done.|
Whether she is faced with societal sexism or goondas galore or even (horrors!) bad writing, I always feel that her characters will never give up. I'd like to think that is perhaps a reflection of who she is. (If it's not, she's TRULY the greatest actress ever.) Gosh, I love her, but I'm going to end it here, instead of going on and on and on and on for the rest of the night. I don't know if she'd like all this fuss, anyhow.