Late actor Sanjeev Kumar came close to getting married more than a few times but could never land a wife. He even dated his co-star from Seeta Aur Geeta and Sholay, Hema Malini, but they, too, had a bad break up.
In his recently released authorised biography, An Actor’s Actor, writers Hanif Zaveri and Sumant Batra wrote about all that happened between the two and the misunderstandings that drove them apart.
They write about how Hema and Sanjeev became acquainted while shooting for thehit Seeta Aur Geeta song, Hawa Ke Saath Saath. The song showed them skating down the hill and the two even had an accident during the shoot. After suffering a near-fatal fall, the two were more concerned about each other than themselves. “Many believe that this was the moment they began developing feelings for each other,” the book reads.
Sanjeev’s mother also approved of Hema, who always ‘covered her head with her pallu and touched Shantaben’s feet’. However, his family did not wish for Hema to continue work once they were to get married. Hema’s mother refused to let her entertain the idea. Sanjeev and his mother even arrived at Hema’s home to ask for her hand in marriage but things could not work out.
Their unwillingness to ‘compromise’ and a few more misunderstandings spelt doom for their relationship. Years later, in an interview with Bhawana Somaaya for Junior G’s April 1991 issue, Hema said that Sanjeev expected a docile wife, something she could never be.
“A Sanjeev Kumar who desired a stay-at-home, all-sacrificing wife who would care for his ageing mother and support him, while he mesmerized the audience and won accolades, seems like a caricature of a male chauvinist. But before judging him too harshly, let’s consider the era we are dealing with. Back in the day, it was common to look down upon women who chose to be a part of showbiz,” she had said.
Also read: When Anju Mahendroo said Sanjeev Kumar believed women were after his wealth: ‘At the end he had neither home nor wife’
“A ‘good woman’ and a ‘good wife’ was a woman who chose her family over herself and her career, a tireless homemaker who helped her husband reach the pinnacle of success — rubbed oil in her mother-in-law’s hair, taught her daughter good manners and helped her son with his homework. Times have changed and women are liberated from this unfair burden. The truth is that an ‘ideal woman’ or, for that matter, an ‘ideal man’ is a myth, and perhaps this is the reason Sanjeev Kumar could not settle down in his lifetime. The perfectionist in him searched for the perfect woman — who frankly doesn’t exist,” she added.
Hema later got married to Dharmendra and had two daughters with him–Esha and Ahana Deol. She is Dharmendra’s second wife after Prakash Kaur. He had sons Sunny and Bobby Deol and daughters Ajeeta and Vijeta from his first marriage.