‘Where are the young classical dancers?’

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Yesteryear dreamgirl HEMA MALINI talks to SANGEETA YADAV about Jaya Smriti, a tribute to her mother, dearth of young classical dancers and good roles for senior actors, and about parenthood

 

  • Jaya Smriti is obviously close to your heart….

My mother Jaya means a world to me and it’s a dance tribute to her as she taught me classical dancing. Apart from being a film producer, she is the best mother and a great role model. Had I not been an exuberant dancer, I would not have been in this film industry. So what better tribute than this? It started around 9 years back and now Jaya Smriti is a brand all its own.

  • Can you talk about your mother as a mentor?

When I was a child, she made me practice dance for hours at a stretch. A perfectionist, she would shout at me if I didn’t get the mudras right. I used to be scared. She taught me how classical dancing enhances character and helps shape up for life. Only a classical dancer knows its value.

  • What lessons learned from your parents do you cherish and have passed on to your children?

My mother was a dignified woman who taught me to stand up for what is right and do your heart approves of. Most importantly, she taught me dignity which I’ve passed on to my children too.

  • What’s up with your dance academy?

The blueprint is ready. I’ve asked the Government to sanction me a place where I can start my dance institute. If everything goes well, by the end of next year you’ll see it standing. It will not only teach you classical dancing but also classical stage make-up, costumes, lighting, basically everything related to classical dancing. I’ll have qualified teachers who will train students under me.

  • How is it like to perform with your daughters on stage?

I enjoy performing with Esha and Aahana. They are great dancers and I know that somewhere in their heart they know that mummy will handle everything in case they err while performing. More than their dance teacher I am their mother so I understand them like no one else.

  • Which young dancers have impressed you?

Where are the young dancers? We only have people doing Bollywood dance, which is not even dancing. With western dancing coming into India we’ve lost our culture and our tradition. Classical dancing is taking a backseat. I want to see more youngsters taking up classical dancing. I don’t want classical dancing to get lost in the pseudo Bollywood dancing. Having said that, in this generation, I’m impressed by Aishwariya Rai and Deepika Padukone.

  • Is it true that you are away from Bollywood because there are very few roles and script for senior actors?

Actually, no one offers me a role. I keep waiting all the time but I guess people don’t want to see me on big screens (laughs). I’m doing a film titled Shimla Mirchi with Rajkumar Rao. I’m concentrating more on Jaya Smriti, my dance institute and politics.

  • Why did you join politics? Who influenced you to?

I’ve always been doing social work. But I knew if I really wanted to bring in a vast change in the lives of our countrymen and make India a better place to live in, I had to join politics.

  • What are you doing about Mathura, your constituency?

I want to open educational institutes there, especially for girls so that they can get economically independent. Also, they are wonderful dancers so I’m also opening a few dance classes.

  • How do you manage dance, acting, political work and parenting?

Everything has fallen in place. Now that my daughters Esha and Ahana are married, I’ve enough time to spend with the people of my constituency. Every morning I make calls to see that all the work has been completed on time. I’ve been able to complete roads that lead to the Krishna Nagri interiors. Earlier it was impossible to travel smoothly. Esha has always stood by me like a son. I pin great hopes on her and am sure she will carry the legacy forward. Parenting, I’m done with it now and love taking care of my little lovely grandson.

  • Your biggest transformations?

All the three phases of my life – career in films, being a wife, mother and grandmother and as a politician, I’m thankful to Lord Krishna that I’ve been able to perform all my duties with care. My film career I would not have asked for more. Mine was a different family life – unlike the common ones. But I’ve enjoyed it as a wife too. As a mother, I’ve successfully fulfilled all my duties towards my daughters. As a grandma, it’s like the revival of my past and how I looked after my children. The flashbacks come alive when I watch Ahana looking after her son. If God will ask me to choose any one phase of life from all the past to relive, it’ll be very difficult.

  • Celebrities hire nannies to look after their children. Your take on that?

I, too, had a nanny. I was so surprised that Ahana, who’s son has a nanny, told me one day: “Mom the nanny doesn’t give my son to me. Will he not love me?” I told her not to worry. I too had gone through the same worries. Children will always love their mothers.

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