Happy Birthday again Hema Malini! I got all the way through Seeta Aur Geeta in my first post, which is barely into your career, but it did get me over a 3rd of the way through your life (so far).
23. Just gonna go right from Seeta Aur Geeta into Sholay! Which is not what Hema did, she made 25 movies in the intervening 3 years. But I am going to skip over aaaaaalllllll of them, because I only have 45 items left to cover the whole rest of her life! So, Sholay! I love Hema for taking on what is, on paper, the smallest of the 6 lead roles and turning it into one of the most memorable characters in the history of Indian film.
24. And of course Sholay is also where if became more and more clear that Sanjeev Kumar and Dharmendra were both in love with you and it was going to get messy. Which makes me love you, because you didn’t try to run from the mess, you just embraced it.
25. And most importantly, Sholay is where you did the greatest dance of all time, in real time, in the sun, with little shards of plastic under your feet.
26. I love you because Sholay was really just a confirmation of what many many films had already shown, that you were an amazing dancer, an amazing star, and much older and very married Dharmendra was in love with you.
27. I love you because you didn’t rush to resolve the Dharmendra situation, continuing to explore your career into your 30s, which is “old” to be career focused even now, and was “older” back then.
28. I love you because you didn’t limit yourself to only co-starring with the man you loved, who also happened to be a super popular co-star with you, but continued to work with all the top stars of the day from Shashi to Amitabh to Vinod Khanna to Everyone Else.
29. I love you because you expertly juggled Shashi and Amitabh in Trishul, and dropped the one you had no use for, proving that you are the coolest of the cool.
30. I love you because you were in The Burning Train, which is AMAZING, and you got to play a character with a great twist to it.
31. I love you because you were in a movie named for yourself, with a truly stunning title sequence.
32. I love you because you were in a bonkers period drama in which you played a female medieval Sultan of Delhi and Dharmendra was your Abyssinian slave lover.
33. I love you because you also took on an Indian remake of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and basically single-handedly made it NOT horribly misogynistic.
34. And I love you because you were taking on all these roles in the middle of one of the biggest scandals in the history of Indian film, when Dharmendra made you his second wife right at the top of your fame.
35. I love you because your marriage at age 31, was followed by two daughters at age 34 and 36. Again, not the usual timeline for an Indian actress!
36. I love you because you didn’t retire after marriage, or after having children, but kept up making several films a year.
37. I love you because you did slow down in the 90s, not because of a husband or babies, but because your interests had shifted to your politics and your dance school.
38. I love you because you slowly moved up the political ladder instead of demanding an overnight success, going from campaigning for Vinod Khanna, to being nominated for the Rajya Sabha, to being General Secretary for the party, to finally winning a seat in the Lok Sabha in 2014.
39. I love you because you effortlessly returned to full film roles in Baghban.
40. I love you because when I saw you in Baghban, I got mad that they had cast someone so clearly age inappropriate for Amitabh, not realizing that you just look way way more beautiful than anyone would expect for a 60 year old.
41. I love you because I think most people would agree with me after seeing this song! And would agree with Amitabh in calling you a butterball.
42. Plus, showing all the kids how it is done in the Valentine Song.
43. I guess the Amitabh-Hema pairing most have done pretty well in Baghban, because they came back for a reprise friendly appearance in Veer-Zaara.