Kiran Malikwrote on Aug 11 2008 7:11PM
Dharmendra ( full name Dharmendra Singh Deol) was born on December 8, 1935 in Phagwara, a small village of Punjab. He was a huge hindi filmi buff right from his childhood. He would travel miles and go to city to watch Suraiyya starrer Dillagi (1949) again and again. When Dharmendra was 19, he was married off to Prakash Kaur. Soon, He joined an American drilling company boring tubewells.
A few years later, He was spotted in a Filmfare Talent hunt, which made him run away from home to Bombay to become an actor and try his luck in hind films. His first film was Arjun Hingoorani’s Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere (1960), for which his remuneration was 51 Rupees, and a daily breakfast. After its release, Dharmendra decided to come back home.
Dharmendra’s first big film was Anpadh (1962) where he was paired with Mala Sinha. Anpadh was a big hit, and it fetched Dharmendra many offers from big film makers. He later did small but pivotal roles in Bimal Roy’s Bandini (1963) and Chetan Anand’s Haqeeqat (1964). But it was his performances in melodramatic mainstream films that won him a lot of recognition. His other big hits in the mid 60s were Ayee Milan Ki Bela (1964), Kaajal (1965), Phool aur Paththar (1966) and Mamta (1966). He also did Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Anupama (1966) which was critically acclaimed as well as succeeded at the box-office. Ramanand Sagar’s Aankhen (1968) established him in a action hero avtaar, which was to last forever. However, Dharmendra’s best performance came in Satyakaam (1969). In the 70s, Dharmendra’s stature only grew bigger. He gave many more hits and was very consistent at the box-office. Some of his major successes in the 70s were Mera Gaon Mera Desh (1971), Yaadon Ki Baarat (1973), Dream Girl (1977), Dharam Veer (1977), The Burning Train (1980). He also displayed his comic timing in Seeta aur Geeta (1972), Chupke Chupke (1975), Dillagi (1978) to perfection. But his most memorable role was in Ramesh Sippy’s magnum opus Sholay (1975). Dharmendra played the character of lovable rogue Veeru with compelling ease, and Sholay went on to be the biggest hit of hindi cinema ever. He made a great pair with Hema Malini and went on to marry her.
Dharmendra was arguably one of the most bankable stars in the 80s. Although he did many B-grade action films, most of them were great success at the box-office due to Dharmendra’ presence. Some of his big hits in that era were Naukar Biwi Ka (1983), Aag hi Aag (1987) Watan ke Rakhwale (1987), Hukumat (1987), Khatron Ke Khiladi (1989), and Tehalka (1992). However, He also did some great films with J. P. Dutta like Ghulami (1985), Yateem (1988), Batwara (1989) Hathyar (1989, Kshatriya (1993). With the coming of romantic films’ era and the Khans, Dharmendra largely cut off on his work. Meanwhile, He turned producer and produced Ghayal (1990) and Barsaat (1995). Later, he also produced Socha Na tha (2005) which launched his own nephew Abhay Deol. Dharmendra made a great comeback last year with 3 great performances in supporting roles in Apne, Life..in a Metro and Johnny Gaddaar.
Dharmendra was awarded the FILMFARE LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD in 1997. He also won Filmfare award for Best film in 1990 for Ghayal.
He has 4 children – Sunny and Bobby Deol from his first wife Prakash Kaur and Esha and Ahana Deol from his 2nd wife Hema Malini. He converted to Islam to marry Hema Malini, as it was illegal for a hindu to marry twice. He was voted as one of the 10 most handsome men in the world in 1968. Dharmendra was also the brand ambassador for Bagpipers for many years.