Veteran actress Dr Vyjayanthimala Bali unveiled the authorized biography of Hindi cinema’s iconic star Hema Malini at a glittering ceremony in London, in the presence of an array of Bollywood celebrities, including J.P. Dutta, Bindiya Goswami, Sonu Sood and Arjun Rampal. Her daughter Esha Deol Takhtani and her niece Madhoo Shah also attended the function. The event was hosted by noted singer Rageshwari Swaroop Loomba, while the book launch was organized by Nari Hira and Ashok Dhamankar from Magna Publishing.
Written by noted author and film-maker Ram Kamal Mukherjee, Hema Malini: Beyond The Dream Girl was published by HarperCollins India in October 2017. The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi has penned the foreword for the book, while the afterword has been written by veteran film-maker Ramesh Sippy, who directed Hema Malini in two of her most iconic roles.
‘Hema is like a family, and I am glad to launch her book written by Ram Kamal,’ said Vyjayanthimala at Grosvenor House in Central London. Speaking on the occasion, Hema Malini said, ‘I thank Ram Kamal for taking all the pain in writing a book on me. In 2005 he had surprised me with his coffee-table book which was published by Nari Hira. When he wanted to do an authorized biography twelve years later, I was wondering what else he would have to say. It was the title, Beyond the Dream Girl, that intrigued me, and finally I agreed to his vision.’ Thanking Vyjayanthimala for gracing the occasion, Hema Malini added, ‘My mom (Jaya Chakravarthy) loved Vyjayanthimala-ji … as a kid I used to love her grace. I grew up watching her films. It was my mother who wanted me to be a film star just like her. I have mentioned many instances from my life where she played a pivotal role, mostly unknowingly. If you read the book, you will know what I mean. It’s an honour that she agreed to be part of this ceremony.’
Author turned director Ram Kamal Mukherjee said, ‘I knew that Hema-ji would be happiest if I could get Vyjayanthimala-ji to release the book in London. The book has been well appreciated by readers, reviewers and in the media. It’s an honour to share the stage with Nari Hira, Hema-ji and Vyjayanthimala-ji, three important personalities who have played a pivotal role in my career as a journalist.’
Amidst thunderous applause and a standing ovation, Hema Malini also received the Stardust Icon of the Industry Award, while Ram Kamal Mukherjee received an award for his outstanding contribution to journalism and film writing from Nari Hira.
Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri, executive editor at HarperCollins India, expressed his happiness at the book travelling to London for a launch. ‘HarperCollins is proud to have published this biography of a true legend of Indian cinema and it’s immensely gratifying to see the book being unveiled in London at an event where Hema-ji also received the Stardust Icon Award. It has been an immensely fulfilling journey for me and for HarperCollins India with the book.’