After an intense month of campaigning for the elections, the very beautiful and hardworking superstar actor-turned-politician Hema Malini is back in Mumbai with her family. “My daughter Esha is expecting her second child in June but I’ve had no time to be with her or to look into the running of my own home. It’s been on auto-pilot for a while,” reveals the seasoned politician, adding, “Once you become an MP, your life becomes a roller-coaster of travel, work and sleepless devotion.”
Fiercely devoted to the betterment of her constituency Mathura, Hemaji says she would like to come back for one more term as an MP before giving up politics for good. “Bas, uske baad, aur nahin. Bahut ho gaya. I need to slow down and be with my children and grand children. But if I return to Parliament, it would be more hectic than my first five years. Whatever I have learnt in my first five years would be of great use to me now,” says the Dream Girl, now far removed from the world of dreams.
With great pride, she elaborates on how Mathura has changed for the better. “We’ve built so many flyovers and cleaned up the city. Made it more tourist-friendly and more comfortable for the devotees. I got a lot of funds from outside the constituency, especially from UP CM Yogi Adityanathji, who was surprised at how much I wanted to do for Mathura. He said, ‘I thought you were just a big name from the glamour industry who had come into politics.’ I am glad that the perception of film people as glamorous props in politics is changing,” says Hema, adding, “Though a lot has changed in Mathura, a lot more needs to be done.”
Speaking of her plans, she rattles off one astounding scheme after another. “I want to start a metro service connecting all the major temples in Mathura and make the city of Krishna more tourist-friendly. But I also want to ensure that the devotees feel more comfortable when they visit the temples to say their prayers, and am working towards a separate entrance for devotees and tourists in all the major temples,” she explains.
Hema feels that tourists are both a blessing and cause for concern in Mathura. “Undoubtedly, more tourists mean huge resources to Mathura, and we need to respect that. But they also bring a lot of practical problems with them, such as overcrowding and littering. We want to ensure that tourists are comfortable but not at the cost and comfort of the local population,” she states, even as she reveals plans of an aerodrome in Mathura. “We want a small airport in Mathura where small aircrafts with tourists can land instead of in Noida. We also want to build a shaheed samarak for our martyred soldiers who are brought home in coffins in Mathura. It’s heartbreaking but they deserve to be honoured,” she says.
Point out that there’s still no acting school in her constituency and she pops up with a ready answer: “I’ve spoken to several producers who are willing to hold mass auditions in Mathura, so talented and aspiring actors can get an opportunity in Hindi cinema.”
Hema Malini’s husband, the iconic actor Dharmendra, joined her in Mathura for a day of campaigning. Lighting up at the mention of his name, Hema says, “He was there for just a day. But he was happy because his fans were happy. Rarely does he get a chance to interact with such a broad spectrum of fans on one platform. Now of course, he’s busy giving political advice to Sunny (Deol).”
Interestingly, one of the most surprising things about the interview with Hemaji is that the actress-turned-politician speaks fluent Hindi; something that she is proud of. “Politics has done to me what 40 years of acting couldn’t — made me fluent in Hindi,” she says with a smile, adding, “Now I can give speeches in shuddh Hindi.”
On PM Modi
Talking about Akshay Kumar’s recent interview with PM Modi, Hema says, “I saw the interview and instantly warmed up to it. Even I like to speak to Modiji about ordinary things. When I meet him and ask him how he is, he replies, ‘Main kaisa hoon? Jaisa tha waisa hi hoon'’ We quickly get politics out of the way and then we just chat about life. He loves to talk about things other than politics, as do I.”
On Shatrughan Sinha leaving BJP
Hemaji is saddened that her friend and co-actor Shatrughan Sinha has decided to leave the Bharatiya Janata Party. “And that too to join a party that has always badmouthed us. Why did he have to do this after so many years of loyalty to the BJP?” she asks, adding, “If Shatruji had any problems with the High Command, he should have sat down with Modiji and sorted them out. Conversation is the only solution to any deadlock.”
On Sunny Deol joining politics
Sunny will be an asset. He’s as sincere and hardworking as his father. I am so glad he’s standing for elections from Gurdaspur which was my friend and co-star Vinod Khannaji’s constituency. Now Sunny will carry on Vinodji’s good work in Gurdaspur if he wins. And I am confident that he will,” she adds.