Reshma Pathan, who body-doubled for Hema Malini & Meena Kumari in the 60s, speaks to SHAlINI SAKSENA about how she became a stunt woman
Almost all of us remember the dialogue ‘chal Dhanno’ from Sholay with Hema Malini at the helm of a tonga. But very few people know that the scene was done by her body double Reshma who began her career as a stunt woman in 1968 when she was just 14.
Recounting her Sholay days, the 62-year-old tells you that it was this movie that made her popular. In fact, all the stunts in the movie that we thought Hema Malini was doing were done by Reshma. The tonga scene as Gabbar’s men chase Basanti and the wheels come off were done by Reshma. Even the scene when Gabbar’s men enter the village and Dharmendra gives an indication to Hema Malini to get her tonga was done by Reshma. In fact, you can actually see her play a side artiste in the scene where she rescues a small girl sitting in the path of marauding horses. From there on, she was called the Sholay girl.
“I was very young when I stepped out of the house to eek out a living for my family of seven. Those were bad days financially. Though my father was not too keen to send a young girl like me to work, there was no choice and I was adamant,” Reshma says.
Those days working in movies was not considered to be good and definitely not for girls from good families. But Reshma rarely paid heed to relatives or neighbours. But then came a change. Journalists started visiting the sets to take interviews of stars. They would spot Reshma doing the stunts. Their write-ups would include her name and photograph as well. People would read about her and realise they had a ‘some-what star’ in their midst.
In a career spanning over four decades, Reshma has not only done stunts for actresses like Meenakshi Sheshadari, Sridevi, Saira Banu and Dimple Kapadia but even Meena Kumari.
“Unfortunately, I only did one scene for her in Mere Apne. There was a scene where Meena Kumari goes to stop a fight between Vinod Khanna and Shatrughan Sinha who push her and she falls. I did that stunt. Also, as the years passed, I learnt other stunts like horse riding, sword wielding, lathi fights, jumps, and car chases,” Reshma tells you.
Now at 60, she is a happily retired stunt woman.