Vyjayanthimala is my role model: Hema Malini

Mumbai: Actress Hema Malini said Vyjayanthimala has always been a ‘role model’ and like an ‘elder sister’ to her. The legendary actress who turned 75 on Aug 13 was felicitated at a programme held on September 18.

“I am grateful to get an opportunity to felicitate Vyjayanthimalaji. She was one of the most talented actresses of her time. At the same time, she also garnered huge respect as a classical singer. She has always been my role model. After I entered the industry, I tried many times to felicitate her but I didn’t get an opportunity,”’ Hema Malini told reporters at the Swatanta Veer Smarak auditorium here, where Vyjayanthimala was felicitated.

“I am thankful to finally get this opportunity. She is like my elder sister. We keep meeting in social functions and now she has become very close to my family,” she said.

Vyjayanthimala’s brother Deepak Kanegaonkar and his wife Sulekha had organised the programme to honour her.

Vyjayanthimala, who stays in Triplicane in Chennai, said, “I am very happy to see such a function in my honour. This became possible because my brother Deepak and his wife Sulekha called me to attend this function with lots of love. I am here to show my gratitude and accept the honour.”

“I had come from South India to work in the Bombay film industry and it has given me everything. It has given me name, fame and above all respect. I got the opportunity to work with the best directors like Bimal Roy, Hrishikesh Mukherjee and actors like Dilip sahab, Dev Anand, Raj Kapoor,” said the actress, who featured in films like ‘Sangam’, ‘Devdas’, ‘Leader’, ‘Madhumati’ and ‘Jewel Thief’.

Vyjayanthimala made her debut in Hindi movies with ‘Bahar’ in 1951.

Singer Sanjeevani Bhelande enthralled the audience by crooning some of the tracks from Vyjayanthimala’s films.

Former Maharashtra Chief Minister, Manohar Joshi, also attended the function.