Dharmendra and Hema Malini knew each other for almost a decade before they married in 1980. The actor, who was already married to Prakash Kaur at the time, fell head over heels for Hema as they worked in several films together.
However, did you know that the first time Dharmendra saw Hema, he found her ‘pretty’? Hema shared the anecdote in her biography Hema Malini: Beyond the Dream Girl, which released in 2017. The duo first met at the premiere of KA Abbas’ film, Asmaan Mahal.
“I remember (producer and mentor) B Ananthaswami had told my mother that I should start attending premiere shows of big films to gain visibility. I had just completed my first film and I had no idea what premiere shows were all about. My mother made me drape a traditional Kanjeevaram sari, put kaajal and wear a gajra. During the interval of the film, they called some of the artists and producers on stage for their feedback – as they usually do at premieres. When I was called on stage, I had to walk alone, and I remember being so shy,” she recalled, as reported by The Quint.
“I had just finished my film with Raj Kapoor but the film had not yet released. While walking towards the stage I heard Dharam-ji tell Shashi Kapoor in Punjabi, “Kudi badi changi hai” (The girl is quite pretty) but I chose to ignore it. Then they introduced me as Raj Kapoor’s Dream Girl. How nervous I was to be sharing the stage with Dharam-ji and Shashi Kapoor!’” she added.
Hema and Dharmendra met for the first time in 1970 for their film Tum Haseen Main Jawaan. Their on-screen pairing became a hit and the duo starred in numerous movies including Seeta Aur Geeta, Sholay, Raja Jani, Dream Girl, and Burning Train, among other films. They eventually married in 1980, despite opposition from Hema’s parents.
Dharmendra had four children from his earlier marriage — sons Sunny Deol and Bobby Deol, and daughters Vijeta and Ajeita. He welcomed two daughters, Esha and Ahana, with Hema.