Friday September 21, 2018
Home India Hema Malini: ...

Hema Malini: You get more respect as member of Parliament than as an Artiste

0
//
127
Image source: itimes.com

New Delhi: Bollywood’s evergreen ‘Dreamgirl’ Hema Malini, who became a BJP MP in 2004, says that she got “more respect” as a member of parliament than being an artiste. The veteran actor is also a successful Bharatnatyam dancer.

“You get more respect as a member of parliament. As an artiste, I had my own dignity, but as a politician, it increases… It doesn’t go down,” Hema, who represents the Mathura constituency in Lok Sabha, told reporters in an interview.

Recently, Hema was embroiled in allegations that she had illegally grabbed a plot of land for her dance academy Natyavihar Kalakendra Charity Trust at a nominal price of Rs.70,000 in Mumbai’s Andheri area. But the Padma Shri awardee says the whole hullabaloo happened because she was a BJP MP.

“The Maharashtra government giving me land, created a huge ruckus. Why? Just because I am Hema Malini? I don’t think it’s for Hema Malini… It is because Hema is a BJP member of parliament. This is why it created a problem for people,” Hema said, adding that she had kept herself “very different in the political world”.

On the big screen, she has essayed a range of glamorous as well as non-glam roles, proving her worth as a versatile talent. The 67-year-old has also showcased her proficiency in dance many a time in movies — and always had the aura of a star actor.

But as a politician, she has reached out to bring about the changes that she wishes to see in her constituency.

Often, Bollywood celebrities deliberate upon gender bias in the Hindi film industry. Is the scenario same in the political world?

“I don’t feel any inequality in my political work. To me, I am different, I don’t indulge in small things. So I cannot compare myself to others,” Hema said.

However, she said that inequality in Bollywood is nothing new. Pointing out that Bollywood has always been a male and hero-dominated industry, she explained: “Suddenly these points are coming up about inequality. Bollywood was always been as a male-dominated industry.”

She said that the characters which Dharmendra or other actors portrayed, the heroines could not do. “For a heroine to get the same kind of acknowledgment, it has to be a heroine-oriented film and for men, a hero-dominated film. There is clearly no comparison,” she said.

Dwelling upon the gap in pay for men and women in Hindi films, she said: “Moneywise in those days, the heroes had so much of shooting and so much of work. I don’t think heroines had that much of work. Heroines had a few songs to sing, some nice interesting scenes, and that’s it.”

Nevertheless, the former chairperson of the National Film Development Corporation said there were some exceptions. As an actress, Hema had taken on strong roles in films like “Chaalbaaz”, “Mulzim”, “Satte Pe Satta” and “Sholay”. (Kishor Sud, IANS)

Next Story

What Would Be The Outcome Of The Judgement On Homosexuality With BJP At The Centre?

If parties like the BJP and "cultural" organisations like the RSS realise the value and motivation of such mindsets, they will desist from their present attempts to impose a straitjacket of their pseudo-religious identity on the nation.

0
Flag Of BJP, homosexuality
Ruling on gays: Is the BJP out of sync with modern realities? Flickr

More than the social impact of the Supreme Court’s judgment on homosexuality, what will be of concern to the ruling party at the Centre is its political fallout. Hence, the eloquent silence of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on the subject.

For the BJP and its ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), any expansion of the concept of civil liberties is fraught with danger to their restrictive worldviews since a widening of human rights carries the prospect of greater individualism.

If the rights of the homosexuals to live without legal constraints are conceded, it can only encourage the people to free themselves of other restrictions as well such as on choosing live-in partners (of whatever sex) and eating, dressing and speaking as they please.

Homosexuality, India
SC decriminalises homosexuality, victory for gay rights. Pixabay

It is noteworthy that the verdict on gays has come close on the heels of the judgment which described the right to dissent as a “safety valve” which the government can only shut off at its peril lest there is an explosion.

Moreover, the court had also upheld not long ago the right to privacy which the government described as an “elitist” concept.

For the Hindu Right, as also for other religious fundamentalists, this dalliance with civil rights — the freedom to criticise the government, the exaltation of privacy and now the decriminalisation of homosexuality — entails a push towards liberalism and modernism which are anathema to any group which wants the society to be bound by shackles of orthodoxy and obscurantism.

It is ironic that although the Hindutva brotherhood speaks of decolonising the Indian mind, the two colonial laws which have long been its favourites are the section on homosexuality in the Indian Penal Code and on sedition.

Now that one of them is gone, there is little doubt that these closet followers of Britain’s 19th century politician Lord Macaulay — even as they decry the secular groups as “Macaulay’s children” — will hold on resolutely to the law on sedition as their only safeguard against the “anti-nationals” who, they believe, stalk the land.

Homosexuality
It is ironic that although the Hindutva brotherhood speaks of decolonising the Indian mind, the two colonial laws which have long been its favourites are the section on homosexuality in the Indian Penal Code and on sedition.
Wikimedia Commons

It is also possible that the saffronites will keep a hawk’s eye on any social problems that may arise because of the assertion of gay rights. As the BJP MP Subramanian Swamy has said, with eager anticipation, if a five-judge bench can overturn an earlier judgment in favour of criminalising homosexuality, a larger bench can undo the present verdict if gay bars begin to flourish and there is a rise in the cases of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infections.

Interestingly, what these judgments underline is how the judiciary is more attuned to the changing world than the elected representatives of the hoi polloi who often argue in favour of giving greater primacy to the legislature than the judiciary since they claim to represent the people while the judges are unelected denizens of an ivory tower.

However, one possible reason why MPs and MLAs, especially of the BJP, seem to be out of sync with the present-day world is the presence in their midst of a large number of criminal elements who can hardly be regarded as the most progressive sections of society.

For instance, of the 543 elected members of the Lok Sabha, of whom 186 have a criminal record, 63 belong to the BJP, followed by eight of the Shiv Sena, four of the Trinamool Congress and three each of the Congress and the AIADMK.

Homosexuality
Gay Pride Procession. Pixabay

What the Supreme Court judgment appears to have done is to persuade parties like the Congress, which usually hedges its bets lest it should fall on the wrong side of public opinion, to come out in the verdict’s favour, presumably because it senses that this judgment, more than any other, has become a touchstone in the matter of breaking out from the stranglehold of the past.

To distance a party from it, as the BJP is doing, will amount to virtually alienating the entire youth community. Even if a majority among them do not have homosexual instincts — according to official figures, there are 2.5 million gay people in India, but this may be an underestimate since, till now, it was unsafe for them to reveal their sexual orientation — the youths nevertheless see the ruling as an assertion of living life on one’s own terms and not be held hostage by the dictates of a society steeped in conservatism and of political parties which believe that their agenda can only advanced if the country is made forcibly to conform to khap panchayat-style social and cultural norms.

Also Read: Why JDU & BJP Coalition Will Remain Instant

To these youths, being or not being aware of homosexuality is of little consequence. What matters to them is to be able to make up their own minds and not be told by elders to abide by certain rules which are regarded as outdated by the younger generation.

If parties like the BJP and “cultural” organisations like the RSS realise the value and motivation of such mindsets, they will desist from their present attempts to impose a straitjacket of their pseudo-religious identity on the nation. (IANS)