Hema Malini turns 60, but feels 16

An actor, classical dancer, filmmaker and politician – Bollywood’s ‘dream girl’ Hema Malini who juggles different roles with aplomb, turns 60 on Thursday but says she still feels 16 at heart.

“I feel 16 at 60. I guess age has nothing to do with creativity, but it certainly has a lot to do with maturity and dedication. I have lived life on my own terms and conditions and now when I look back, I feel happy about all the decisions I have taken,” Hema said in a statement released here on Wednesday.

The actress, who is also a Bharatanatyam dancer-choreographer, plans to start her special day by offering prayers at the famed Tirupati Temple in Andhra Pradesh with daughters Esha and Ahana Deol.

“The best way to celebrate one’s birthday is by praying to the lord for peace and harmony in the world. In times of terrorism and global financial depression, I guess we can only find peace in our prayers,” Hema said.

Known for her memorable performances in films like Johnny Mera Naam, Seeta aur Geeta, Jugnu, Sholay, Dream Girl, Satte Pe Satta, Khushboo and Baghban, the actress has had a successful film career spanning almost 40 years.

However, Hema’s entry into films was not a cakewalk for her. In 1964, she was rejected by director for not having star appeal when she tried her luck in southern cinema.

Hema got her break in Sapnon ka Saudagar opposite Raj Kapoor in 1968 but became an overnight star with Johnny Mera Naam in 1970.

By 1972, she gained the status of the reigning Bollywood star and the success of her double-role in Seeta Aur Geeta fetched her the Filmfare award for best actress in 1973.

Throughout her career, Hema has been paired opposite a range of actors but it was her on-screen chemistry with actor Dharmendra – whom she later married – that made the duo a hit pair in films like Sholay, Charas, Jugnu, Seeta Aur Geeta and The Burning Train.

Hema took a sabbatical from the big-screen in the early 1990s during which she tried her hand at direction with box office dud Dil Aashna Hai in 1992 that was Shah Rukh Khan’s launchpad.

The actress made a comeback in 2003 with box office hit Baghban opposite Amitabh Bachchan and since then has been seen in films like Veer-Zaara, Baabul and Laaga Chunari Mein Daag.

An acclaimed dancer, Hema does not think age is a deterrent and plans to continue performing Bharatnatyam and her dance ballets across the country and abroad.

Representing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Hema is a Rajya Sabha member.

Asked how she manages to juggle different roles in life, she said: “Its all about time management and I guess one can do even more than this if we sort out our priorities.”

Hema’s future projects include Ek Thi Rani Aisi Bhi, Saadiyan and Deepa Sahi’s directorial venture opposite Nana Patekar.

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