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    I am not right for TV: Hema Malini

    [Interview by Subhash K. Jha]
    Saturday, March 26, 2005
    Actress and MP Hema Malini is not too happy about doing television. It''s too much work, she says.

    "I''m the wrong person to be on television," Hema said about her serial "Kamini Damini" in an interview with IANS. She is, however, looking forward to a Bollywood version of the "Bridges of Madison County" opposite Amitabh Bachchan.

    Excerpts:

    (Railway Minister) Lalu Prasad claims you're a fan of his, and vice versa?

    I think he's trying to divert attention from the purpose of my visit to Bihar by talking rubbish about me being his fan and he being my air-conditioner...He's a very clever man.

    Anything you do turns into gold. Hopefully your TV serial too will work.

    Yes, "Kamini Damini". But I don't know how the public has taken to it. I took it on while I was dubbing for Ravi Chopra's "Baghban". He tempted me with a double role on television, and I got carried away. But I'm not enjoying the experience.

    It's too much work for me. There're too many things demanding my attention. I don't know if enough people switch to "Kamini Damini". It's not a bad serial. But it's really hard work. Television requires more hours and more concentrated labour than even cinema...and that's saying a lot. I'm the wrong person to be on television.

    How could they pair you with Pankaj Dheer?

    Who else will do a TV serial with me?

    Bachchan?

    Why would Bachchan do a TV serial? I don't think audiences want to see us film stars on TV. The medium doesn't work for us. And yet they continuously make the same mistake of casting big-screen stars. I think stars should stay far away from television.

    "Baghban" saw a resurgence in your big-screen career...

    But I got no good roles thereafter, except that brief cameo with Amitabh in "Veer-Zara". The Chopras have signed me with Bachchan again in "Babul".

    But isn't that a father-in-law/daughter-in-law story?

    Yes. But I'm not there just to be a silent spectator. I play Bachchan's wife who opposes his plans to get our widowed daughter-in-law remarried. So I'm very much part of the dramatic conflict.

    Now Ravi Chopra wants to remake the Clint Eastwood-Meryl Streep starrer "The Bridges Of Madison County" with me.

    And who'll play Eastwood?

    Bachchan. Who else can it be with me? It's very important to have someone of stature standing next to me. After "Baghban" audiences want to see us together. Couples of our generation have re-discovered themselves through "Baghban".

    How's your stint in parliament?

    Very fruitful, very fulfilling. Attending parliament I'm as excited as a schoolgirl. Parliament has helped me to tap new sides of my personality. After five years in parliament I wouldn't like to sit at home. I don't think I'd want to give up politics.

    Dharmendra (Hema's husband) isn't as comfortable in politics as you are.

    No, he isn't the least comfortable. I've advised him to quit politics if he doesn't like it. There's no point in doing anything half-heartedly. He has a lot of time on hand now. He can use it to do what he enjoys doing.

    What was he doing in that appalling film with Mallika Sherawat?

    What to do? He enjoys acting. Now I think he'll be doing a film with both his sons. He keeps telling me to find a good script. He wants to be in cinema, not politics.

    Cinema was never that big a passion for you?

    No, never. It was always dancing.

    Does your younger daughter want to act?

    She gets lots of offers. But Ahana isn't interested in acting. She wants to be behind the camera. Sometimes she says she wants to go into direction, cinematography or scriptwriting.

    (Elder daughter) Esha's career has taken off after "Dhoom".

    Yes, but she should get more successful films. I hope she does. She has two very nice films "Main Aisa Hi Hoon" and "Kaal" coming up. Esha has also got an offer for a British film. It's a nice subject.

    You're rattling off her films like a good secretary?

    That's what children do to you. Life is hectic for me. I don't have even time to breathe. I need time for myself now. I keep fighting for time for myself. Sometimes I feel the need to be alone. I dream of going away to the Himalayas.

    You lost your mom recently?

    It's an irreparable loss. My big regret is she kept hoping she'd recover. I couldn't grant her that wish. She was in a lot of pain for two years. Her foot was infected with gangrene. We had to make a very difficult decision as to whether we should amputate it. I decided against it.

    Now I feel if we had gone with the decision to amputate she might still be with us. But I did get to spend more time with my mother than most daughters do.


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