Telugu debut, and not Bollywood comeback for Hema Malini

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Half a decade after her last release Tell Me O Khuda, Hema Malini was supposed to make her comeback to the big screen with Shimla Mirchi. However, while there is no sign of that movie making any headway to theaters, the Baghban lady would instead be seen in the Telugu historical costume war drama, Gautamiputra Satakarni.

“After taking over the reigns of direction for her daughter Esha Deol’s relaunch film Tell Me O Khuda, Hemaji had taken a break from the world of Bollywood. She continued with her endorsement assignments though. However, films were far from her mind. It was only a couple of years back when Ramesh Sippy offered her a challenging role of a mother who falls in love with her daughter’s suitor. The film, with Rajkummar Rao and Rakul Preet Singh, went on floors soon too but now there is no sign of it,” informs an insider.

She was last seen on the big screen in 2011 when she also did Aarakshan and Bbuddah… Hoga Terra Baap. However, there has been a stony silence ever since as far as her Bollywood engagements go.

“Well, not any more as she is finally making a comeback with Gautamiputra Satakarni,” our source adds, “In the film, she is playing the mother of the central protagonist Satakarni, enacted by Nandamuri Balakrishna. It is a grand film on the lines of Baahubali and is directed by Krish, who had delivered Akshay Kumar‘s Gabbar Is Back last year. Hemaji has a very meaty role in the film and those who have missed her histrionics since the days of Baghban [2003] would be more than happy to see what she has to offer this time around.

The last time Hema Malini had done a regional film from South India, it was way back in year 2000 when Kamal Hassan tempted her to play Ambujam Iyengar in Hey Ram. She had a relatively minor role in the film though.

“As a matter of fact in her career spanning five decades, she has never acted in a core South Indian film. Even Hey Ram was a Tamil-Hindi bilingual. Gautamiputra Satakarni is her first ever core Telugu film and she has a key role to play in there. In a way, the film is not just her comeback to the big screen but also a debut in Telugu cinema,” a historian observes.

With the film releasing on January 13 around Makar Sankranti, which is as big a day as a Diwali holiday up North, rest assured Hema Malini’s Telugu debut after being in the industry for half a century (she made her debut as a leading lady with Sapnon Ka Saudagar in 1968) would be much hyped.

– By Joginder Tuteja