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One of the most enduring divas of Hindi cinema, a producer and director for films and television, dancer and choreographer par excellence, magazine editor, an active member of Parliament and now a singer, Hema Malini wears many hats with admirable ease. No other industry name comes close to matching the breadth of her achievements.
In an industry where the male star has traditionally driven the commercial success of films, Hema was an exception, with her name alone sufficing to ensure a film’s box-office glory. She was, arguably, India’s first female superstar. Apart from starring in mainstream super-hits like Johny Mera Naam, Jugnu, Andaz, Seeta Aur Geeta, Sholay and, more recently, Baghban, she received critical acclaim for her performances in Lal Patthar, Khushboo, Kinara, Meera, Ek Chadar Maili Si and Razia Sultan. But there is much more to her than just her Bollywood journey.
From her efforts at reviving and sustaining classical dance to her graceful handling of her personal life and the controversies that have plagued her in her political avatar, from her relationships to her religious beliefs and her recent tryst with singing, Hema Malini: Beyond the Dream Girl covers it all. With detailed interviews and exclusive anecdotes from her family, friends and co-actors, this is an inside look at the remarkable life of one of our greatest cinema icons, someone who has truly lived life on her own terms.
About the Author
Ram Kamal Mukherjee started his career with The Asian Age, Kolkata, in 2001. Having completed his postgraduate diploma in media studies from the University of Calcutta, his very first role was that of official reviewer of the international films showcased at the Kolkata Film Festival. His knowledge of cinema got him noticed and he was offered a role by the editor of The Asian Age, where he started off as a freelance journalist.
As sub-editor at The Asian Age, Ram Kamal was soon heading the regional entertainment industry. Under the keen eye of veteran editor M.J. Akbar and firebrand resident editor Tikli Basu, he built a reputation for himself as one of the most unbiased film journalists in the business. His column, ‘Arkay’s Diary’, was a rage in Kolkata. In another two years, he would go on to host his own television chat show, Talk Bangla. He was also the youngest – and possibly first – journalist to host a sex-education show, called Chokhey Amar Trishna, for Asian Television Network.
Taking up an offer made by Stardust, Ram Kamal joined the group as senior correspondent in 2003, making the shift to Mumbai. It was around now that he wrote a coffee-table book, Diva Unveiled: Hema Malini. Published by Magna Books, it won great appreciation for its pictorial representation of the actor’s journey. At twenty-seven, it also made Ram Kamal the youngest Bollywood biographer in the country.
Subsequently, Ram Kamal went on to work with several leading publications, including Mumbai Mirror, Mid-Day, ABP Group’s Ananda Bazaar Patrika and Anandalok, and TV 18. His column for Mumbai Mirror, ‘Ram Katha’, enjoyed a large following. He also worked for Pritish Nandy Communications as Vice President, Special Projects. In a few years, Ram Kamal would make his way back to Stardust, this time as editor. His tenure saw him conduct two successful award shows, apart from bringing in a freshness and vibrancy to the publication.
Recently, Ram Kamal published his first work of fiction, Long Island Iced Tea, and produced a television series, Bin Kuch Kahe, for Zee TV. With close to three lakh social media followers, he continues to be one of the most well-loved names in film journalism in the country. Ram Kamal was honoured with the Best Journalism Award in 2006 by Lions Club, Mumbai, and the Best Author Award for Diva Unveiled: Hema Malini in Kolkata in 2006 by Kalakar Awards Foundation.
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