Hema Malini recently revealed her initial reservations about playing the role of a mother of four in the 2003 family drama film ‘Baghban,’ directed by Ravi Chopra. Despite her doubts, the movie went on to achieve tremendous success at the box office, with Hema starring alongside Amitabh Bachchan. During that time, Hema, in her early 50s and having taken a break from acting, had only appeared in occasional projects such as Kamal Haasan’s 2000 Tamil-Hindi bilingual crime film ‘Hey Ram.’ Following ‘Baghban,’ she once again collaborated with Amitabh Bachchan in Yash Chopra’s 2004 blockbuster “Veer-Zaara.”
In an interview with Lehren Retro, Hema recalled the moment she agreed to do ‘Baghban’ and mentioned her initial hesitation. However, it was her mother who played a significant role in convincing her to take on the role of Raj-Pooja in the film. During a discussion with Ravi Chopra about the story, Hema expressed her concerns about portraying a mother to four grown-up children, and her mother was present. Despite her doubts, her mother insisted that she should accept the role, emphasizing the excellence of the story and encouraging her to do it. Eventually, Hema reluctantly agreed.
“I remember when I was listening to the story from Ravi Chopra, my mother was sitting there. After he left, I said, ‘He’s asking me to play the mother of four grown-ups. How can I do this?’ But my mother said, ‘No no no, you must do it!’ I asked, ‘Why?’ She replied, ‘No, the story is very good. You must do it.’ She was persistent. I said, ‘Okay, I’ll do it.’ But before that, I had reservations. You see, I wasn’t doing films before that. After a long gap, I was working. So I thought, ‘Why should I do this?’ But she said, ‘No, you must do this. The role is very nice.'”
In the same interview, Hema also mentioned a previous incident when Raj Kapoor approached her for the film ‘Satyam Shivam Sundaram.’ However, Raj Kapoor expressed doubts about her willingness to accept the role.
“Raj Kapoor came to me and asked me to do ‘Satyam Shivam Sundaram.’ But he said, ‘This is such a film, and I don’t feel you would do it. But I am very keen that you should do it. But I know you will not do it.'”
Hema recalled how her mother also played a role in her decision not to take up the film and told Raj Kapoor, “No no, she will not do all that.” Her mother was indeed resolute in her opinions.
Eventually, Zeenat Aman was cast in ‘Satyam Shivam Sundaram,’ the 1978 romantic film directed by Raj Kapoor. The movie featured Raj Kapoor’s younger brother, Shashi Kapoor, in the lead role opposite Aman, and it was produced by RK Studio.