Exclusive Photo-shoots

The Diwali gift from Hema Malini

Hema Malini's first and only Diwali photo-shoot. For this blog.

Photographs by Shantanu Das

I needed a Diwali gift for the readers of the blog.

After receiving a fabulous response to the Sonam Kapoor photo-shoot, I had no doubts in my mind that it had to be an exclusive photo-shoot again.

But who could it be?

I wondered, why not arrange a photo-session with a senior Bollywood actress who has aged as gracefully as Bollywood itself?

Of course, some of my colleagues and friends voted for Rekha but a few discerning ones vetoed the proposal which said that Bollywood hasn’t seen a more glamorous woman than Hema Malini.

I couldn’t agree more.

Next, was a brainstorming session with my photographer friend Shantanu Das.

We decided to work on a similar arrangement that we had earlier drawn up: The best picture from the photo-shoot will be contributed to the Bengali edition of The Times of India called Ei Samay while a few more will be displayed on my blog.

The next part of the job (or the hardest part!) was getting in touch with Hema and then getting her to agree to do the shoot.

Surprisingly, that turned out to be the easiest part.

She agreed readily despite her schedule being choc-a-bloc with her dance shows and of course, she was too busy planning for the impending marriage of her younger daughter, Ahana. In fact, she was so busy that the first photo-session got cancelled and we had to reschedule it.

Hemaji asked our photographer to meet her backstage at Juhu’s Iskon auditorium after the dance show. Always a perfectionist when it comes to her dance recitals, Hema Malini had been rehearsing with her troupe till late afternoon for the show

It was well past 10 pm when she finally left the auditorium after an electrifying performance.

The fatigue of such a gruelling day would bog down any human being and here I was asking her to stand in front of the camera looking as fresh as a daisy!

But that is exactly how she was looking despite the 16-hour day.

When they met backstage, Hemaji asked Shantanu Das to accompany her to the bungalow at Goregaon. After reaching there, she went upstairs to “freshen up a bit” before the shoot.

Believe it or not, Hema Malini took just 10 minutes to freshen up and by 11 pm the photo-shoot was over!

Just look at the photo (below). Does it look like that she had such a gruelling day?

Hema Malini holds up a diya as she poses in front of the camera after a grueling 18-hour day

I remember at least three incidents in my career where a photo-shoot with a Bollywood actress had to be cancelled without notice because either the actress felt tired or she was looking too worn out since she had started her day very early.

Clearly some of the senior actresses in Bollywood have energy levels that few contemporary heroines can match.

For all you Hema Malini fans, here is a bonus slide-show of pictures clicked during the shoot.

I hope all of you liked your Diwali gift.

Happy Deepavali to all the readers of this blog.

I am also taking a short festive break. Will be back with renewed vigour after Diwali.

God bless us all.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The best picture from the series was published in the Bengali newspaper of The Times of India,  Ei Samay, here.
The short-link of the post -> http://wp.me/p3x1zT-HQ
Here is the page about the photographer Shantanu Das, who holds the copyright of these pictures. Kindly don't take the pictures without his permission.

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