Hema was born in the Tamil-speaking Chakravarthy household on October 16, 1948 in Ammankudi, Tamil Nadu. Her dad's name is V.S.R. Chakravarthy and her mom, Jaya, was a film producer. She was enrolled in the Chennai-based Andhra Mahila Sabha.
After performing as a dancer in a 1961 regional movie, she was rejected by Tamil Director, Sridhar, during 1964 when she first attempted to act, on the grounds that she had no star appeal. Sridhar was proved wrong when Hema persisted, debuted opposite legendary showman, Raj Kapoor in 'Sapnon Ka Saudagar' just 4 years after her rejection.
Thereafter there has no been looking back for this attractive Libran, who went to star in close to 140 movies; who also produced and directed two movies, and also directed a TV serial 'Noopur'.
After turning down marriage proposals from Sanjeev Kumar and Jeetendra, she met with hot fellow actor, Dharmendra, both were attracted to each other and wanted to get married. Dharmendra, who was already married to Prakash Kaur, and had two sons, Sunny and Bobby, could not marry Hema as Prakash refused to divorce him. According to the Hindu Marriage Act, a Hindu cannot marry a second time while the first wife is still alive. Dharmendra belongs to a Arya Samaj Hindu Punjabi Jatt family.
On August 21, 1979, both Hema and Dharmendra converted to Islam, changed their names to Aisha Bi R. Chakravarty and Dilawar Khan Kewal Krishn respectively, and got married in accordance with Islamic rites. Three years after their marriage, Hema subsequently gave birth to Esha and then later to Ahana. Esha is an actress in her own rights. The trio, well proficient in the arts of Bharatnatyam dance form, have performed together at a number of dance events and concerts.
Hema is a member of the right-winged Bharatiya Janata Party, and became a member of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament.
She was amongst the first actresses to wear bell-bottom and shirts in Hindi movies, and is also amongst the few who have kept their word of not wearing any revealing outfits in public. Hema, who is also called 'Dream Girl' continues to act in movies, with her latest being 'Baabul' in 2006.