The Best of Stardust 1978

In October 1971 the first issue of Stardust magazine was published and a new era of film journalism began: it was snarkier, more gossipy, more intrusive, and a smash hit with readers.

Seven years on, a special edition of the magazine called “The Best of Stardust” was published to commemorate its success.

I am sharing four articles from that today. One I think is just hilarious for its overwrought fan-girly squeeeee on behalf of Mahender Sandhu, who never really made it big, as the editor acknowledges a bit shamefacedly. The second is a “Court Martial” feature where Saira Banu answers a bunch of nosy questions. Third is an interview with Raj Kapoor and his two sons Rishi and Randhir, which is very funny and well-written (and sarcastic), and fourth is a sweet interview with Dharmendra and his next-door neighbor and lady-love Hema, proving that by the late seventies their love story was pretty widely acknowledged even by them.

I scanned them and have converted each article into a pdf file that you can download and read at your leisure.


Mahender Sandhu

Saira Banu Court Martial

Kapoor Article

Aas Paas

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96 Comments to “The Best of Stardust 1978”

  1. Thank u thank u- swooning in gratefulness!

  2. Thanks so much for this… So FAB. I’ve just read the Mahender Sandhu article and have only one question – did Aaj Ki Radha ever get made? IF yes, I need to find it ASAP, even if Sandhu is the worst actor ever!

    • I have no idea…and I know I have seen him in something although off-hand I can’t remember what it was, but he wasn’t the worst actor ever by any means. I also have to wonder if he was embarrassed or pleased by the writeup—it would say a lot about him! :D

    • HA! That was my first thought too – MUST see this Aaj Ki Radha movie if it ever got made.:-) Bollywood obsessed minds think alike?:-) I have a couple of Mahendra Sandhu movies lying around somewhere, I think I’ll check them out…

      Mega thanks for sharing these, Greta…they’re just what one needs to let the mind play after a hard’s day of avoiding work.:-D

      • You really need to come visit me Shalini—I have stacks and stacks of old Stardust, largely mid-70s through the mid-80s. Full of snark and so much fun! And Amitabh’s name appears NOWHERE (although he is sometimes obliquely referred to as HIM or as Jaya’s husband, ha ha)…

  3. Oh what a blast- just got through reading them all. I laughed through the entire Mahendra Sandhu one, and the Saira and kapoors were all I could expect them to be. cant really comment on the Dharam-hema bit- am not reconciled to men having 2 wives :P

    • That is what is so interesting about them—even in the 1970s it seems the public were pretty accepting of them. It would be a good case study to find out what particular qualities their romance or personas had that made it okay for them to bend/break societal rules when it really wasn’t for most anyone else :)

      • I dont think they were bending societal rules all that much. I personally know several such people – men-and-two-wives – who did this in the 80s and their friends and families accepted that (not always happily). Of course, if the woman had so much as been accused of flirting with anybody but her husband (even if she was a bigamous second wife) – that would have been totally unacceptable!

        • Well, Hema was not his wife until 1980…and there is also a lot of gossip about her and Sanjeev Kumar and Jeetendra throughout my stash.

          But I’m sure being “film” people helped a lot :) Different standards and all!

  4. My understanding is that Hema apparently had a big scene with Dharam’s dad and bro, and explained to them that Dharam had already accepted him as his wife, and she needed their supprot as a woman. In public, she wouldnt talk about her private life at all, and by some strange universal calculation, this was deemed respectable and socially acceptable. ugh. I dont get it all all!

    • This is pretty public talking about her personal life! That’s what makes it so fun…

    • Dharmendra-Hema took advantage of religious rules to circumvent bigamy law. Bigamy is not allowed as per Indian laws for people following most religions such as Hinduism, Sikhism, Christianity etc, but muslims in India are allowed to have their own personal rules, according to which a man can have upto four wives. Not just Dharmendra, some others, viz Mahesh Bhatt, for instance) also took advantage of this fact. Salim Khan wed Helen as his second wife, taking advantage of the same fact.

    • Is there anyway we can get to read the Dharmendra interview?

  5. You’ve got a goldmine there! Needless to say, I loved the Kapoor article– “Daboo could see it 40 times because it was his family’s film and he did not have to buy a ticket.” Ha ha ha!

    • The Kapoor article is by far MY favorite in the whole magazine. It is just absolutely hilarious. How I would have loved to be a fly on the wall for that interview! Just picturing “Busybee” needling them about their flops makes me fall over laughing.

  6. Although “lock up your wives and daughters” is ALWAYS fun too.

  7. (1) that Mahender Sandhu article is soo breathless! ::gasp!:: lol..
    (2)Saira was only 19 when she got married to Dilip Kumar??
    (3) I felt sooo sorry for “Chintuji” during the interview, lolz!
    (4) I wonder what Hema’s mom said about Dharam in the other interview.. humm..!!

    Okay, now I’m ready for the next installment!! :P

  8. Yes! A real gold mine!! Thank you so much.
    I’ve read only Saira Banu’s CM and am so surprised to find out she’s quite intelligent and witty too.
    I have often wondered how Dilip saab and she got along – he being so superior and all that. I’m quite fascinated with him nowdays after having seen half a dozen of his films. Found him verrry sexy in Aan.

  9. Thank you so much for sharing this. A treasure. I’ve liked your other Stardust posts too. Hema-Dharam, well, mostly Dharam is a hugely interesting topic for me. They were madly in love. How lucky.

  10. You know, Mahender Sandhu was really good looking, I used to have a crush on him, and Kawaljit, who later turned to TV.

  11. You. Are. Awesome!!!!!!!!!! Thank you so much for the pdfs. Have downloaded them and will devour them asap :D

  12. So FAB!!! Who is that woman in the second row below Sharmila? Too bad Stardust is such a mess these days; Filmfare is so gay rumor obsessed and kiss ass I’d have appreciated something different.

    • Anju Mahendru. She used to be Rajesh Khanna’s girlfriend for years. Until he dumped her one fine day, and married Dimple Kapadia. Now, you know, I grew up with “Stardust’.

      Am going off now to read the Kapoors. :)

      Thanks, Memsaab.

    • I agree—the way this writing is angled is so much more entertaining than the full-on crazy rumor-mongering. It’s so much more believable for one thing!

      There is an excellent Anju-Rajesh article coming up! Banno—if you only still had all those magazines, what a treasure trove! :)

      • Yes, I know. Those days, they were ‘disposable’, and I was way too young. I was reading Stardust when I was 10. Yes, my mother had no sense of censorship. :)

        I remembered the Dharam-Hema article as soon as I saw it. Am off now to read the Anju-Rajesh dirty laundering. Whoa, what fun!

    • Ooooo! Why does her face look like that? Thanks for clearing that up Banno!

  13. Mahendra Sandhu was hailed as the next Dharmendra, all he-man and coiffed hair. Starred in a couple of known films, including Agent Vinod, which name has been picked for a new forthcoming film starring Saif Ali Khan. Around that time a lot of Institute pretty boys were supposed to be the next big thing–Anil Dhawan, Vijay Arora, Vikram, all failed.

    • I like Anil Dhawan and even Vijay Arora quite a bit in the little I’ve seen of them although neither is really even close to Dharmendra in terms of charisma.

      Vikram I have only seen in Call Girl, which was a very interesting film, but he is not at all impressive…

    • I remember how the film institute acting pass-outs were considered potential gold those days. Of them I think Navin Nischal actually came close to becoming a star. Then he too vanished. BTW, Shabana Azmi is also from the institute.

  14. First first publication duly 1971 magazine when Super Star rajesh khanna was at his peak

  15. Thanks you sooo much. I used to love flipping through the mag…I have an aunt who used to regularly subscribe and i used to love her for it.
    Oh! it was so much fun :)

  16. Wow! a very good one dear….thanks for letting us know about this :)

  17. You are a great friend! So much love! Thanks for sharing!
    You should be called Mother Teresa of Bollywood splendour!

  18. Thanks memsaab! Have downloaded the articles to read, but skimmed the Hema one quickly. Unfortunately left a bad taste in my mouth – like Swetha, their whole affair squicks me out, even after all these years :) (Not that my opinion matters in the least, of course). It was also interesting that the article “bengali-fied” Hema’s father’s name to ChakravOrty from plain old Chakravarthy!

    My mother was a contemporary of Hema’s in their Delhi days, and her mother’s efforts at getting her daughter into movies by any means alienated her from the conservative tambram crowd- Jaya was supposedly a battle-axe of the first order…My mother said that some girls named Hema (it is a relatively common Iyengar name) were asked by prospective matrimonial prospects, to change their names, because of the notoriety of her affair with Dharam (Changing names on marriage is not a common Iyengar custom, though it is done occasionally) – in the general Iyengar community, Hema’s life is still considered somewhat scandalous and popular opinion still seems to be “Jaya spoilt her daughter’s life”….


    • Living well is the best revenge! so I guess Hema still comes out on top—she seems to be pretty happy anyway.

      Maybe because I am a bleeding heart liberal American I tend to be less judgemental myself about what people do with their own private lives. It would be interesting to read Dharmendra’s “first” wife’s take on things, but I guess that will never happen. And anyway—it’s really none of my business, despite my love of prurient gossip mags :)

    • Thanks for that interesting perspective on Hema. My mother was also a contemporary of Hema–I think Hema’s father was a govt. servant and they lived in Pandara Rd in Delhi. Hema went to Convent of Jesus and Mary according to my mom (my mom and I went there too). I too have heard that Jaya really liked the money and Hema in interviews has said that she had initially only wanted to dance. Jaya had movie connections I think.
      (My mom is really clueless and uninterested in Bollywood so she may have misremembered some of this.)

      But as Memsaab says living well is the best revenge. Hema came from a conservative Tambram setup. I can see how it could be scandalous not just there but in any Indian middle class setting. Besides, Dharam was a Punjabi, a jat, an actor etc…. I’m Tambram too and have been exposed to this mindset. But I am also liberal, and unfortunately rootless and without strong allegiances. Hema and Dharam are just two people. As a romantic, I love their story. And now I want a Dharam for myself.

      About the first wfe’s take, she compared Dharmendra to Jugnu– a man with two faces. I’ve seen pictures of Prashant Kaur, she really does exist.

  19. Love the scans, thanks for sharing! I just blogged about Dharmendra’s 70s flicks for 70s Week, so of course I talked about his relationship with Hema. I personally find the entire thing extremely romantic and seems to have worked out very well for Hema and Dharam, although like you I wonder what his first wife makes of it. Like you said though, it’s fun to read about and speculate upon, but it’s not like we’ll ever know the full story, and why should we? It’s entirely their affair.

  20. Prakash did speak out once when the Hema-Dharam marriage was exposed – by Rekha I believe – they had gotten married at Tirupati and Rekha happened to be visiting Tirupati at the same time. To at least shut up the men who were commenting on the Dharam-Hema marriage she said that any man if asked to choose between Hema or her, would choose Hema – I think she was commenting on the glamour and looks part. She must have suffered emotionally. Romance or not, their action was not justified or fair for sure.

    • Very sad for Prakash for sure– in fact, I can’t bear to think of it. I do feel she should have left him. Why, oh why didn’t she?

    • Well what might be right for us may not have been right for her. The whole arranged marriage thing kind of blows my mind (okay to be honest, the whole MARRIAGE thing *period* blows my mind) but it all seems to work for lots of people.

      At some point we are each responsible for our own happiness, and that’s all we can be responsible for. So hopefully they each are happy now.

      • Their affair affected so many people – that is what I find hard to reconcile, even after all this time. Parkash Kaur came from very modest beginnings, she sounded very bitter about Dharam’s philandering – but at that time, what *were* her options? I don’t think she had any means of supporting herself, and her maternal relatives probably wouldn’t have taken her back. I also remember some articles about Bobby Deol being very bitter about his father’s treatment of his mother, not talking to or accepting Hema and the girls even now – and Sunny apparently has a situation similar to his father’s going for years now (with Dimple?) – so I’d argue that Dharam’s actions did affect plenty of people close to him.

        I’m all for love, but at this cost? When either party has prior commitments that cannot or will not be broken, it seems more selfish than anything else.


  21. Busybee rocks… but then he always did.

  22. Oh and Parkash has made a very comfortable space for herself over the last 50 years, in the bosom of the sisterhood of Juhu Punjabi wives of a certain age, all married to men involved in filmdom. It is essentially a transplanted punjabi village except that they wear chanel inspired salwar kameezes. She adapted to her changed marital circumstances. I guess she had to… like all of them. To be honest I dont think Indian women have many choices, perhaps women the world over do not.

    • Yes, Busybee was HIGH-larious. And I want a Chanel-inspired salwar kameez!!!! I think women of her generation especially had no choices…but hopefully that is changing :)

      • Yes, Dharmendra would have set up Prakash nicely divorce or no. He’s old fashioned and chivalrous and in any case he would have seen it as a reflection on his ability to provide. Women have choices. i’ve lived a completely different kind of life and even in my grandma’s generation there were people who went there. Maybe all this is more an issue of character than of the shortcomings of men of which there are plenty.

        • I agree with Sophy on this.
          It’s mostly a question of character, and to some extent the environment, *Individualistic* (as in the west) or a *community* one.

          Hema isn’t as happy IMO as one may want to believe if one would read between the lines.
          He doesn’t live with her. Wonder if that contributed to the ‘success’. LOL.

          I once read that she did say how she wished he would live with her.

          In the end – the man got away with having his cake and eating it too!!

          Personally I don’t find any romance in their love. It seems sordid and treacherous.

      • The dharm hema romance has got a lot of press cov erage. However Dharm is supposed to have had a hot affair with Meena Kumari too earlier (for quite a no of yrs). So hema is not the only woman, his wife Prakash had to bear with.

        I think it was the same Stardust mag that labelled Hema as “First Lady of Second Marriages”.

        Dharm does not publicly acknowledge his daughters (with hema). I remember watching the IFFA awards DVD where he was given the lifetime achievement award. He came on stage with all funfare with Sunny and Bobby and was going on signing their praises. No mention of his daughters at all. Of course he did not mention his daughter from his firt wife too. To me that is a sad state of affairs!

        • I didn’t even know he HAD a daughter with his first wife!

        • The whole thing is quite absurd. I also read Dharam and Prakash Kaur have recently (whenever recent was) adopted Hema’s girls because they didn’t have official status.

          Memsaab, about Dharam’s two other daughters from Prakash, my take is that Dharmendra has a public life and Sunny and Bobby are part of it but the women are not. He never talks about Prakash’s daughters but he did name his production house after one of them (Vijayeta).

          He’s going to be acting with Esha so that is publc acknowledgement of sorts.

          • I’ve read interviews with him where he talks quite a bit about his daughters with Hema. Have seen photos of them all together too. Maybe his other daughters prefer to be more anonymous? Who knows…

  23. Wonderful to read these articles again. Do you have the copy of Stardust with Raaj Kumar on the cover . It was sometime in May 1972 and had an excellent article on Suraiya and Dev Anand. Try to scan that please!

  24. I want to know some more about Anil Dhawan, whats his date of birth, who he is married to and anything else you /anyone can tell me…there seems to be no info on him anywhere.

  25. Thanks, I hope so, I like him and after seeing few more of his films , i decided i like him more now.

    I think he did get far less credit than he deserved, A handsome and charming actor from yester-years with an enchanting and attractive appeal, hot youthful looks, subtle but different kind of roles, like Chetna (1970) or the receptive, understanding , good -natured young doctor in Yauwan (1973) with Yogita Wali, he was not noticed much…he was endearing in the role of a lover in Annadata or Piya Ka ghar at the same time possesed an exotic, wanton and alluring sex appeal that appeals deep to the psyche…if you see him in Hawas particularly in song – Yeh hawas kya hai…he was not cheap, but was thrilling…without being over the top …you will not find the thrill and sheer sensation in the new age movies….!!

  26. Hi,
    I have really enjoyed the spicy tit bit about the stars of yesteryear’s.I have been trying to download the pdf’s mentioned in both the articles, but somehow it isn’t working out for me.I get the message that the pdf may be corrupted.Do help me with downloading the pdf’s as you have stoked my desire to read them.
    Thanks !!

    • Others have said that too, and I re-uploaded the two that had been specifically mentioned as problematic, yesterday. I have no trouble with them so I don’t know if it’s an issue of versioning or what…I’m sorry!

      • Which ones did you re-upload? I’ll specifically try to download those ones.In the 2 stardust posts, there are I guess 8 pdf’s.Hopefully, that should clear the doubt.
        And pleas don’t apologize….you have done such a wonderful job with this blog…it is quite an experience reading and enjoying all your posts.I too am an avid fan of olden classics :-)

  27. where on earth do you get such cool old magazines?
    i collect british ones from london markets but where on earth would an american get old indian magazines? sorry but wow!

    • Different places, but I got most of my huge stack of Stardust mags from the 70s-80s on eBay :)

      • You got this from Times of India..they published old magazine covers some months back….liar :)

        • Um, that’s a little harsh (and weird)…if you’ll read the post, you’ll see that I also included four articles which I scanned from the magazine, and this was published back in early 2010, almost two years ago now. It’s far more likely that the Times of India took my scan from here.

          • Neha, I hope you’re only having a laugh here (that smiley hopefully indicates that) because if you’re not, that’s a downright libellous accusation to make! Memsaab’s posts are either 100% original or, where she’s borrowed material from another source, she’s always been upfront about the source, giving it full credit. She has nothing to gain from pretending others’ material is her own or denying others’ credit.

            Most of us who’ve been following this blog for a while now have realised that Memsaab goes to great lengths (some would even say absurd lengths) to indulge her passion and love for old Bollywood. When she says she’s sourced old material from various sources – including buying old issues of Stardust on eBay – we have absolutely no reason to doubt this!

            It is possible that Times of India have independently published old magazine covers too – I do not wish to cast aspersions on them. Similarly it is extremely low of you to cast aspersions on Memsaab’s character and an apology would be in order if you did not mean this in jest.

  28. I APPLAUD YOU wow what a treasure trove I have always wanted to see how an affiar of those days in bollywood was different to now

    ofcourse now if u look at couples in bolly I feel they are less and less influenced by what their parents think and make their own descisions in regards to being together- its more the norm to see interracial couples- muslim and hindu couples- BUT back then they were so shameful I mean they had two wives- first dharmrndar then salim khan – Would actresses of the modern era even stand for being second best like hema ji- NO nowadays its ‘ divorce your first wife then u can be with me’ Did women have no respect at all for themselves back then???

    but I lol’ed at hema’s mom bitching about dharam to tabloids and then boldy facing him the next day in her own house LOL yet hema never said ‘ oh I told my mom off for saying that’ yet I wholeheartedly believe someone like kareena would yell at her mother for saying that about her boyfriend saif – and that she wouldnt cave into any peer pressure from her parents – oh and we have live in relationships now also and actresses choosing to marry later on in life as opposed to in their teens

    how bollywood has changed-

  29. @memsaab

    today they featured Ek Paheli on Zee Classic Cinema (movies from the 70s and before) – featuring Feroz Khan, Sanjeev Kumar, Tanuja, the villainous Madan Puri and his moll Aruna Irani, and for comic relief – Rajendranath and Tun Tun

  30. I really admire memsaab for preserving the 70s bollywood stuff and I picked up an exclusive interview of my most favorite golden couple Hemamalini & Dharmendra, titled as Aas pass in pdf format. Thanks a lot. And I wish to have further articles if any during that period from your library, about these legends and divas of hindi cinema. I am very if i got intimated. Thanks againg for preserving such wonderful information.

  31. Thanks a tonne for your passion and the awesone job of preserving a part of the golden era!

    I’d love to see more articles from this edition of the magazine (The Best of Stardust 1978), especially the one on “The truth about the divorce – Raakhee – Ajay Biswas”. Can you be bribed into posting more articles from this magazine?!?!?

  32. hi…was directed here by beth loves bollywood! -do you have any ideas to where i can access/buy these old bolly mags in the UK or Online? Lovely blog by the way!

  33. I get very emotional when I see those covers. Reminds me of another period in my life when everything was lovely. My dear mother was there for me and I didn’t have a care in the world. I used to be so happy.

  34. oh wow! what a wonderful blog. i had boxes and boxes full of old stardust, filmfare, cineblitz, movie etc, however ended up throwing them all out about 10 years back. how i regret it now!! i am looking to build up my collection again, any idea how i would be able to do that? please email me!! so glad i found this blog.

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