The unbeatable director-actress combo of Ramesh Sippy and Hema Malini created history three times over with Andaz, Seeta Aur Geeta and Sholay.
Would they again generate the same hysteria with their fourth outing together entitled Shimla Mirch?
"It's hard to say from so early in the shoot if this film would turn out to be as special as our earlier films," said Hema speaking exclusively from location in Simla. "I am working with Rameshji after nearly 40 years. But it seems like just the other. We picked up the threads of our association as if the big time-gap didn't happen in-between."
Hema says the director has a very special way of bonding with her. "He is very mischievous with me. There is a glint in his eyes and a secret smile that hasn't faded with time. He is still the same. Shooting with Rameshji is still a lot of fun. Let's see if this time around we again emerge with something special. Rameshji has given me another very important role in Shimla Mirch."
Quite a bold departure from what Hema has done so far.
Says Hema, "It isn't as if I haven't done any bold films. I did films like Rihaee and Lal Patthar where I played unconventional characters. However Shimla Mirch is not a bold film. It's a very sweet tender and endearing film about human relationships. I haven't yet started shooting with the youngsters. But I am looking forward to it."
Initially Hemaji could take only 3 days off from her political work to shoot in Shimla. She intends to continue with her political career. "Although a majority of time is now taken up by my work for my constituency in Mathura, I will continue doing an occasional film, maybe one every year. I am first an artiste and then a politician. In fact I got a chance to be a MP because of my name in cinema. And I should never forget that. In fact people in my constituency ask, 'Hemaji, when do we get to see you in another film?' "
The Dream Girl who hasn't faced the movie camera for a year now says Ramesh Sippy made her an offer she couldn't resist. "Rameshji insisted. And when I heard the script I knew why. At my age actresses don't get such important roles that easily."
Hema has decided to never go into film production again. "I lost loads of money on every project that I've produced so far. So thanks, but no thanks. No more film production for me. I'll act in selected films. The rest of my time would be devoted to my constituency."