By Atul Mishra Last Updated:
Bollywood, since its inception almost a 100 years ago, has famously been a place of denial and acceptance. Relationships, affairs, marriages and divorces are as much a part of such discourses as are the glamour and glitz. And possibly, one such Bollywood affair that still rings fresh in everybody’s mind was a triangle and turmoil of emotions between Bollywood’s dream girl, Hema Malini, her now husband, Dharmendra and the yesteryear’s superstar, Jeetendra.
Before beginning the story, we would like to wish Hema Malini and Dharmendra a very happy 38th marriage anniversary. The couple, over almost 4 decades of their marital life, have taught us so much and have regularly given millions of their fans some major marital goals. And one the occasion of their anniversary, let us take you through an anecdote that happened before the two got married, and which shook the media and fans to the core.
The story starts when love was blossoming between Hema and Dharmendra. But, Jaya Chakravarthy, Hema’s mother, somehow got to know about their affair. But the young lovebirds had their own ways to keep their relationship a secret. They would meet outside, and on the film sets, but nobody was supposed to know the truth. And once, Hema disappeared for an entire day without any heads-up to any of her family members. However, when she did return home, Jaya was too relieved to rebuke her.
But she kept vigilant on her daughter’s movements. Obviously, by now, Hema and Dharmendra had little choice but to limit their meetings to film sets. But by then, Jaya was getting too paranoid and she only had one option at her disposal- getting Hema married. And for that, she didn’t even have to go on a search spree for the answer lay near. A potential groom that she saw in Hema’s contemporary actor and a co-star of many films, Jeetendra, was the solid guy for Hema. In fact, Jaya knew that Jeetendra also had a soft corner for Hema, and that he himself had approached her quite a few times. But because Hema was in love with Dharmendra, she denied Jeetendra’s proposal and the two settled on being friends forever.
Hema and Jeetendra’s friendship grew so strong that the two became each other’s secret keepers. In fact, Hema was the only person who knew that earlier Jeetendra had a huge crush for Mumtaz. But the possessive lover, Dharmendra, didn’t like their growing camaraderie and that always made him disheartened. He, in fact, once stormed into one of the film sets where Hema and Jeetendra were working and dragged Hema into her vanity van. Parallel to all these, Jaya kept her plans intact and coaxed Hema to meet Jeetendra’s parents at least once. And once Hema agreed, the two families went ecstatic. A source close to Jeetendra revealed him saying:
“I don’t want to marry Hema. I am not in love with her. She is not in love with me. But my family wants it, so I might as well. And she is such a good girl”.
Quite obviously, the ceremony had to be solemnised as soon as possible before either Hema or Jeetendra could change their minds. The two families, Hema and Jeetendra flew down to Madras and everything was set. But somehow, a leading daily got whiff of the situation and the news spread like wildfire.
As soon as Dharmendra got to hear the news, he couldn’t keep his temper settled. He immediately reached out for Shobha Sippy, Jeetendra’s airhostess girlfriend, and the two, in no time, were in Madras, ready to confront Hema and Jeetendra.
When Dharmendra and Shobha arrived at the venue, the scene couldn’t have been more dramatic. Hema’s angry father pushed Dharmendra out of the house, and screamed:
“Why don’t you get out of my daughter’s life? You are a married man, you can’t marry my daughter.”
But that didn’t help. A helpless, heartbroken and angry Dharmendra would not budge. And finally, he was allowed to talk to Hema alone in a separate room. Hema’s parents, Jeetendra’s parents and Jeetendra himself stood outside, waiting desperately. Inside the room, Dharmendra kept on begging Hema not to marry Jeetendra and commit such a mistake. Outside, all the hell break loose, when Jeetendra told Shobha that he really wanted to marry Hema.
The moment arrived, and puffy-eyed Hema and Dharmendra came out of the room. Hema asked everyone if they could wait for a few days before taking any decision. Jeetendra’s parents were furiously angry by now and said that the marriage would be now or never. While everyone waited, the insult was too big to handle for Jeetendra, and he darted off angrily out of the place with his parents.
Eventually, things settled and Hema Malini got married to Dharmendra on May 02, 1979. Jeetendra went on to marry Shobha Kapoor.
(Taken from Hema Malini's book Hema Malini: Beyond the Dream Girl)