His life started as a young man who only had his dreams to inspire him. He believed and had faith and trust in them. He pursued them with the passion of an ardent lover. Like all great lovers, it was not very easy for him. He had a difficult choice to make. He decided to live with his dreams and they never let him down. He reached new heights, touched the sky of success and his story is a source of inspiration for any one who aims to be an achiever with just dreams and the will to turns those dreams to reality . The grand success of Dharmendra Singh Deol , now known as Dharam , Dharamji or Dharam Paji is one of the most out standing stories of our times …
Today , December 8 the same Dharmendra turns seventy five , believe it or not. Seventy fife years in life and that’s not all. The same Dharmendra who came to make it in Hindi films and was not sure stands rock steady. He completes fifty years of a memorable career , an extra ordinary feat very few have accomplished and very few can come any where near , not because of any thing else , but because they are not like Dharmendra , a man who has never stopped receiving the un -ending love of his admirers of all ages . It has been a festival and a celebration of life for Dharmendra. He has been one of the leading stars, a giant among them. He has been a fascinating actor any time he has been challenged with a role the actor in him has been waiting to do justice to. He has handled his own destiny and given shape to his own success story. He has been the master of his own self. He has his own production company, Vijayeta Films and his own most modern recording studio, Sunny Sound and Recording Studio. His two sons, Sunny and Bobby are his major contribution to Hindi Cinema. And the way he is going and the way God has kept him in the best of health and the love of the people for fifty long years can only take him to new heights and make him a chapter that will be etched in the history of Indian cinema forever…
Say Dharmendra and you think of a true son of the soil, the son of a father he worshipped and a mother he adored in a place called Phagwara in Punjab, the soil known for its fragrance and its fertility where every seed sowed reaped a very rich harvest.
Say Dharmendra and you know him as the handsome, young, tough man who saw Dilip Kumar once and then saw him again and yet again till he decided to leave for Bombay where Dilip Kumar lived and ruled like a “Shahenshah”, an emperor all because of his God-gifted acting talent, a man who drove men and women crazy, Dharmendra Singh Deol was just one of the millions
Say Dharmendra and you think of stories about his struggle to find a roof in Bombay , to find his next meal and to find people who would feel the “seene mein aag”, the “sultagte armaan” , the “sunhere khwab” to make it as an actor one day .
Say Dharmendra and you know how this handsome man who was not so well educated and hardly knew the wild and wily ways of the world stayed on to find his dream and fulfilled it , stayed on to be the Adonis , the handsome man who rocked the Hindi screen first softly and then with the kind of fire that set every heart on fire , a prediction made by Dev Anand who once called him out from a crowd out side a studio and told him not to give up because he was destined to make it big .
Say Dharmendra and you remember his first winning a talent contest and then making his presence felt in films like “Dil Bhi Tera, Hum Bhi Tere”, “Shola Aur Shabnam” and “Anpadh” and proved how he could be more than just a handsome man but also express the innermost feelings of a human heart.
Say Dharmendra and you think of Dharmendra taking off his shirt and showing his bare body and looming large over a sleeping widow, Meena Kumari in “Phool Aur Pathar”, an act that made him the craze of the entire nation which beat in the same way when they saw or thought of Dharmendra.
Say Dharmendra and you think of the hundreds of films he has done during the last fifty years, a man who has seen stars come and go, bigger stars, more talented stars but not being Dharmendra, a star in a class of his own , a star like no other star even after fifty long years .
Say Dharmendra and you think of love , the over flowing love he had in him and shared with others , love which was a feeling he saw going out of life with the rough and tough times he was living through but never giving up his faith in love , you think of the unbelievable story of a humble man who is still so humble in all his greatness , after all that he has achieved and the unlimited power of love he has in him , love that has come to him from hearts full of love , love born out of the inspiration he has given men and women to love and keep loving without expecting anything in return .
Say Dharmendra and you think of his first marriage with Prakash and then his controversial marriage with Hema Malini, two women who have understood him, cared for him, walked by his side and given him all the encouragement he needs in the kind of life and career he has been living with.
Say Dharmendra and you think of his sons, Sunny and Bobby, who he has given to the industry as his gifts for all that he has received in abundance, things he could never have imagined
Say Dharmendra and you find it difficult to believe that the man his seventy -five and still has the strength , the will and the confidence to face any kind of challenge , crises , controversy , gossip slander and rivalry coming from any one from anywhere , a man who has the world in his heart because every one loves to give him a place in their hearts , to think of it any one who has to say anything about Dharmendra can only say all that is the very best about any human being now and at any other time to come.
More on Dharmendra
Dharam has always been a very grateful man, grateful to his parents for their help in bringing him up with the right values. He is also very grateful to his first film maker who he says had the courage to cast him as the leading man way back in 1958. The name of the film maker is Arjun Hingorani. Dharam has done all his films till he made his last film “because I just can’t say no to a man like him”
- He was the first hero to bare his chest in a film called “Phool Aur Patthar”, long before any Aamir Khan or Salman Khan had. It was the film which gave him the name, “Garam Dharam”
- Dharam was the true he -man. He was very weak in playing scenes in which he had to cry.
- Sometime in the early seventies a survey conducted by an international magazine voted him as one of the ten most handsome men in the world.
- Dharam was married to Prakash, a girl from Punjab chosen by his parents. She is the mother of Sunny and Bobby. His younger brother Ajit Singh Deol also tried his luck as an actor but couldn’t make it. Abhay Deol the talented actor is Ajit Singh’s son. They all live together in the same bungalow in the neibhourhood of celebrities like Yash Chopra , the Sagar family , J.Om Prakash and the latest to join this group are Ajay Devgn and Kajol .
- Dharam worked with all the leading ladies of the fifties, Mala Sinha, Waheeda Rehman and Nutan and down to Zeenat Aman .
- Dharam worked with Hema Malini in a record number of twenty eight films. They fell in love and defied all traditions and Dharam took Hema as his second wife. They have two daughters, Esha and Ahaana. The two families live separately and Dharam manages to be the head of both families.
- Dharam has always had a foul temper when he has been hurt or humiliated. The story of his smashing the head of a male journalist for writing gossip about him and Hema and threatening another female journalist made front page news in the eighties.
- He has tried his best to solve problems in an amicable manner, but when things have gone out of control he has always used his fists . His favourite line is, “Yeh haath Dharam ke haath hai , yeh pyare se samjha bhi sakte hai aur hathoda ban kar maar kar dukh bhi de sakte hai.”
- Dharam has had a very long and strong affair with alcohol. He has tasted every kind of liquor, from the liquor distilled by tribals in distant villages, aunty’s homes and the costliest kind of Scotch. “Log glass se peete hai , baaltiyo aur baldiyon se bhi peete honge, lekin humne drumon se pee hai,” he sometimes says . He has however given up drinking since the last two years and has vowed never to drink again. His sons, Sunny and Bobby however have learned their lessons from their father and are teetotalers.
- Dharam had always succeeded in keeping away from politics but was forced by circumstances to join the BJP and fight the elections from Bikaner in Rajasthan and won by a large majority. He did a lot of good work for the people there but was totally disappointed when he heard stories about people in politics playing dirty games. He had spent a large amount of his own money to help the poor and the needy but refused to contest the elections again in spite of leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee pleading with him. But he politely refused but continues to help the people of Bikaner.
- Dharam has now taken over the responsibility of running the campaign against cancer which was once run by the late Sunil Dutt.
- Dharam came to films because of his love for Dilip Kumar and was carried away by the films he had seen in which Dilip Kumar who he calls his “God” and landed in Bombay.
- His first goal after reaching Bombay was to have a glimpse of Dilip Kumar. He made the rounds of every studio to find that one chance to see Dilip Kumar till he finally saw him at a studio in Dadar and spent the next three days at the same studio just to look at Dilip Kumar. He was a winner of a talent contest run by Filmfare where he found a very good friend in a journalist called L.P.Rao .He once told Rao about his dream to see Dilip Kumar and Rao introduced him to a young women who was also working as a journalist in Filmfare . That woman was Dilip Kumar’s sister. She arranged an evening for the young Dharmendra with her brother. Dharam couldn’t believe what happened to him that night. The legend talked to him for three hours and treated him to a sumptuous dinner and by the time they had finished it was midnight. It was also very cold. The legend brought him a coat and asked him to wear it to protect him from the cold. Dharam walked all the way from Pali Hill to Juhu that night and that coat still finds a very important place in Dharam’s wardrobe even today more than fifty years later. He still observes the birthday of the legend in his own way. He always wanted to have the experience to work with him. A time came when the two were teamed in a film called “Chanakaya” to be directed by B.R.Chopra but unfortunately that film was never made.
- Dharam who is now being very careful about the films he is doing is only working in films made under his own banner.
- These days he is obsessed with writing poetry and is writing some very good poetry in Urdu which he hopes to publish in a book soon.
The Dharmendra favourites (his personal choice)
- “Black Mail”
- “Guddi” ( even though he made a gust appearance )
- “Chupke Chupke”
- “Naya Zamaana”
- “Phool Aur Patthar”
The films he would like to forget
- “The Burning Train”
- “Ali Baba Aur Chalis Chor”
5.Many films made in the south
The directors he loved working with
- Hrishikesh Mukherjee
- Dulal Guha
- Ramesh Sippy
- Pramod Chakravarty
- Mohan Segal
The films he regrets not being able to do
1.“Chanakya”( Dilip Kumar)
2.“Devdas” (directed by Gulzar with Hema Malini and Sharmila Tagore)
3.“Dagdar Babu”(directed by Bimal Roy’s writer Nabendu Ghosh with Jaya Bhaduri )
MAIN BAS CHALTA GAYA….
(HIS POEM DESCRIBING HIS JOURNEY SO FAR)
I vividly remember that evening at the preview theatre of Filmalaya Studios. Dharmendra was shooting for a film and I was walking around after I had finished my day’s work at the Studio. He came out of one of the floors and saw me and embraced me like he always does and said, “chal main tujhe meri ek film ki jhalkiya dikhaata hoo”. How could I say no to him? The lights went off and I saw him slowly taking out his spectacles. He saw me in action and quietly said, “kisi se kehna nahi,kya kare abhi umar honi lagi hai aur chashma lagaana padta hai”. I just smiled. The preview was over and he took me to his room and said he wanted me to listen to some dialogue he had written himself. I heard him out and he asked, “kaisa lagta hai?”I said it was very good and asked him to keep writing…..
Years passed and I happened to meet him in his bungalow. I was treated in the same way like he always does. We talked about various subjects and he then told me what he called a secret. He said he was now spending most of his time (when he was not shooting), writing poems (shaayari). He also told me that he was in the process of writing his autobiography. I was more excited than him and wondered what would form the book he was writing about a man who had lived one of the most exciting, adventurous and controversial lives. He then went up the staircase of his palatial house and came down with a diary. He said it was his private collection of poems he had written down the years. I was curious. He said I should listen to some of his poems when we both had time. I said I could make time to listen to his poems. He however said he wanted to recite one of his poems to me. I told him that I was very eager to listen to his poem. This time he did not hide his spectacles and reached the page where he had written the poem he wanted to recite for me. It was a poem which described his long journey as an actor and a major star during the last fifty years. He began reading and this is how his short poem which was a picture of his entire life and career goes…..
HASRATEN PARWAAN PAR THEEN,
LEKIN MAINE SABKO POORA KIYAA.
KHUDAA NE BHI PADH LIYAA CHEHRAA,
SUN LEE MERE DIL KEE SADAA.
PHIR SHURU HUA RASM-E-SAFAR,
AUR MANZIL KEE JAANIB MAIN CHAL PADAA.
JISSE BHI MAIN MILAA TAH-E-DIL SE MILAA,
HOTE GAYE BULAND HAUSALE..
MILTE GAYE NAYE FAASLE
UMAR KEE THEE LAAKHON CHAHTEN
MAN KEE DUAAEN LAGEEN BARASNE
RAFTAA RAFTAA HAR CHAAHAT POORI HUI
MAIN BUS BADHTAA GAYAA AUR
YE KAARWAAN LAAKHON BARAS CHALTAA GAYAA………
That morning I discovered a new Dharmendra Singh Deol. The strong man who once worked in some quarries in Phagwara district in Punjab was chosen by destiny to be one of the most popular and successful stars. He was a symbol of all that was strong in man and was known as the macho hero before the word macho could become common, but he could also play some of the most sensitive and even comic roles. He is now 75 going on 76 and more than working in films which are his first love he has taken to writing the kind of poetry that can put some of the so called poets in the shade. I am eagerly waiting for his collection of poems. I am also interested in his autobiography which has to take the millions who have been his ardent fans for more than 50 years into his world, a major part of which is still not seen or known.
Incidentally ,his brother ,Ajit Singh Deol who was a onetime actor and producer and has not been keeping very well has also been writing poetry which is of a very high standard. The two brothers are going to give poetry a new life, a new heart , a new soul and even a new mind, watch out.
I HAVE NEVER BEEN INTERESTED IN AWARDS. THE LOVE OF MY AUDIENCE IS MY ULTIMATE AWARD– DHARMENDRA
At Agenda Aaj Tak 2017, Dharmendra spilled the beans on his journey in Bollywood, his inspiration Dilip Kumar and his equation with Amitabh Bachchan.
Back in 1958, a handsome jatt from Punjab boarded a train to Mumbai for Filmfare star talent, and never looked back. After winning the star talent, it took him two years to make his Bollywood debut with Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere (1960). However, it was Phool Aur Pathar in 1966 which helped him make a mark in the Hindi film industry.
In a career spanning over 50 years, Bollywood’s “Dharam Garam” gave some of the most memorable films to the Hindi film industry. On Day 1 of Agenda Aaj Tak 2017, Dharmendra spoke his heart out…
Excerpts from the session that was titled ‘Yamla, Pagla, Deewana’:
On Dilip Kumar being his role model
I was mesmerised watching him on the big screen. I used to see a glimpse of myself on all filmi posters. I don’t know when I was bitten by the filmi bug, but somewhere Dilip saab was behind this fascination to join Bollywood. He was my inspiration.
On his first major hit
With “Phool Aur Patthar”, I made my mark in Bollywood. It was that era’s “Sholay”.
On his favoruite genre
I have worked in almost all genres. Be it romance or action. But my favourite genre has to be comedy. Getting the right comic timing gives you a different high.
On never winning an award
He has more than 300 films to his credit, but Dharmendra never won a Best Actor award. It was only a few years ago that he got a Lifetime Achievement award, and it was presented to him by none other than Dilip Kumar.
“I went to take that award only because Dilip Kumar was giving it. I have been such a big fan of him, and it was the happiest moment for me. Not because I was receiving the award, but because I got to meet him. I have never been interested in awards. The love of my audience is my ultimate award,” said Dharmendra.
On recommending Amitabh Bachchan for Sholay
They went on to become the most popular jodi on screen, with their characters Jay and Veeru in “Sholay”. But not many know that Dharmendra had recommended Amitabh for the super-hit film.
“Amitabh says now that I recommended him. If he is saying that from where he is now, from such a dizzying height, people will talk about his greatness. He never said earlier that I had recommended him. So now when he says it, people will say he is great, not I,” said the son of the soil.
On his favourite directors
Bimal Roy and Hrishikesh Mukherjee were two of the best directors of our times. Both of them have given Bollywood some of the best films. To be a great director, you need to be a great director, and Hrishi da was one of them.
On his magical pairing with Hema Malini
We did many hit films together. People started to like our pairing.