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Dharmendra

Dharmendra remained a top Hindi film star for three decades creating an influential image as a markedly North Indian (Punjabi) macho man devoted to his mother and committed to upholding the honour of his family or the village.

He was born Dharam Singh Deol in Phagwara, Punjab and was fascinated with films right from childhood, often travelling miles to frequent the touring cinema. (He remembers going to see Dillagi (1949) starring Suraiya at least 40 times!). He was married at the age of 19 and took up a job with an American Drilling Company boring tubewells. Fortunately for him, he was noticed in a Filmfare spot-the-talent contest and came to Bombay to become an actor. He was signed by Arjun Hingorani for Dil Bhi Tera, Hum Bhi Tere (1960), his first film as hero for Rs 51 as signing amount and a daily breakfast that was to contain strictly of tea, two toasts and butter but no jam! Ironically, after all the struggle he went unrecognized at the premiere of the film and sneaked back home on a train.

However strong, supporting romantic lead roles in women oriented films like Anpadh (1962) with Mala Sinha, Bandini (1963) and Soorat Aur Seerat (1963), both with Nutan brought Dharmendra to the fore. A liaison with Meena Kumari saw the two of them starring together in a series of films.

Phool Aur Patthar (1966) finally made Dharmendra into a star. As the ruffian Shaka, Dharmendra combined muscles and sensitivity to give Shaka a human touch. And when he whipped off his shirt in the film, for the first time Hindi filmmakers woke up to the need to cater to female sexuality. In one of the most sensuous scenes in Hindi films, Dharmendra leans over a sleeping Meena Kumari only to finally cover her up.

Most of Dharmendra’s earlier films were soft romantic films, many of which presented a secularized Hindustani version of Bengali literary stereotypes, starting with Bimal Roy’s Bandini and continuing with Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s 60s socials – Anupama (1966), Manjhli Didi (1967) and Satyakam (1969). He mainly played the nice, romantic, handsome hero and was in fact voted as one of the five most good-looking men in the world in the 1960s.

Satyakam saw Dharmendra giving perhaps his greatest ever performance as an idealist seeing his dreams crumble after Indian Independence. It was a sensitive, nuanced performance of an honest, committed man who perseveres with his philosophy of total truth even when it brings about his downfall and one that was straight from the heart. The scene in which he is dying where he just had to emote with his eyes as his estranged father berates him, represent some of the the finest moments in Dharmendra’s acting career.

The 1970s saw Dharmendra take to the action genre like a fish to water. (The seeds of this were seen earlier in films like Aankhein (1968), a James Bond style thriller following the success of Phool Aur Patthar) He was prefect as the pistol packing hero threatening the villain – No one could tell the villain, “Kaminey, Main Tera Khoon Pee Jaoonga!” more convincingly than ‘Garam Dharam!’ Films like Mera Gaon Mera Desh (1971), Jugnu (1973), Kahani Kismet Ki (1973), Yaadon ki Baraat (1973) and Sholay (1975) swept the box-office largely due to Dharmendra’s brawn show!

Sholay (1975) and Chupke Chupke (1975) revealed another facet of Dharmendra – his flair for comedy. Even though the former was a large scale action drama, Dharmendra’s comic scenes with Hema Malini – feeling her up on the pretext of teaching her how to fire a gun or speaking to her as the ‘voice of God’ or of course his ‘soo-cide’ scene with her aunt, him atop a water tank and threatening to jump if she didn’t marry her niece to him – were among the many highlights of the film. And Chupke Chupke saw him single-handedly carry Hrishida’s whacky comedy of a botany professor who impersonates a driver to spend some precious time with his wife at her brother-in-law’s place! It is a masterful performance with razor sharp comic timing.

Dharmendra also formed a hugely successful pairing with Hema Malini, the two of them doing a string of hit films together – Naya Zamana (1971), Raja Jani (1972), Seeta Aur Geeta (1972), Jugnu, Dost (1974) and Sholay among others. They fell in love and Hema became his second wife. Dharmendra and Hema went on to have children as well but so strong was her morally upright image that she was able to go through the marriage without being slandered by press or public which in fact more than accepted the union.

The ‘Garam Dharam‘ act was perfected in the 1980s by Hindi filmmakers as Dharmendra was cast as the invincible hero bearing colloquial names like Veeru Dada, Hathoda Singh or Sherdil who was locked in mortal combat with the villain. But his films were largely undistinguished and of poor quality even if a couple did score at the box-office. (Aag hi Aag (1987), Hukumat (1987))

In fact, among Dharmendra’s later films in the 1980s and 90s, his work with director J.P. Dutta stands out – Ghulami (1985), Yateem (1988), Batwara (1989), Hathyar (1989) and Kshatriya(1992). The films barring Hathyar were mainly set in feudal Rajasthan featuring conflicts among the Jats and the Thakur Zamindars with Dharmendra usually playing a powerful charismatic leader who unites the people against the oppressive thakurs.

Dharmendra has successfully launched both his sons Sunny (Betaab (1983)) and Bobby (Barsaat (1995)) as leading men and today his daughter from Hema Malini, Esha Deol, is on the verge of becoming a successfull actress. Though he shockingly won no major awards throughout his entire career, Dharmendra was awarded the Filmfare Life Achievement Award for his contribution to Indian Cinema.

 

Awards Received By Dharmendra

  • National Film Awards 
  • 1990 – National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment for Ghayal (producer)

 

Filmfare Awards

  • 1965 Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award Ayee Milan Ki Bela Nominated
  • 1967 Filmfare Award for Best Actor Phool Aur Patthar Nominated
  • 1972 Filmfare Award for Best Actor Mera Gaon Mera Desh Nominated
  • 1974 Filmfare Award for Best Actor Yaadon Ki Baaraat Nominated
  • 1975 Filmfare Award for Best Actor Resham Ki Dori Nominated
  • 1984 Filmfare Best Comedian Award Naukar Biwi Ka Nominated
  • 1997 Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award Contribution to Indian Cinema Won

Films done  By Dharmendra

  • Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere (1960) … Ashok
  • Shola Aur Shabnam (1961) … Bunnu
  • Boy Friend (1961) … Inspector Sunil Singh
  • Soorat Aur Seerat (1962)
  • Anpadh (1962) … Deepak M. Nath
  • Shaadi (1962) … Ramesh R. Malhotra
  • Bandini (1963) … Dr. Devendra
  • Begaana (1963) … Prakash
  • Pooja Ke Phool (1964) … Balraj ‘Raj’
  • Mera Qasoor Kya Hai (1964)
  • Haqeeqat (1964) … Captain Bahadur Singh
  • Ganga Ki Lahren (1964) … Ashok
  • Ayee Milan Ki Bela (1964) … Ranjit
  • Aap Ki Parchhaiyan (1964) … Chandramohan Chopra ‘Channi’
  • Main Bhi Ladki Hoon (1964) … Ram
  • Purnima (1965) … Prakash
  • Neela Aakash (1965) … Aakash
  • Kaajal (1965) … Rajesh
  • Chand Aur Suraj (1965) … Surajprakash A. Malik / Suraj
  • Akashdeep (1965)
  • Phool Aur Patthar (1966) … Shakti Singh / Shaaka
  • Mohabbat Zindagi Hai (1966) … Amar
  • Mamta (1966) … Barrister Indraneel
  • Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya (1966) … Ashok
  • Devar (1966) … Shankar J. Rai / Bhola
  • Baharen Phir Bhi Aayengi (1966) … Jitendra ‘Jiten’ Gupta
  • Anupama (1966) … Ashok
  • Aaye Din Bahar Ke (1966) … Ravi
  • Majhli Didi (1967) … Bipinchandra ‘Bipin’
  • Jab Yaad Kisi Ki Aati Hai (1967)
  • Ghar Ka Chirag (1967)
  • Dulhan Ek Raat Ki (1967) … Ashok
  • Chandan Ka Palna (1967) … Ajit
  • Shikar (1968) … Ajay Singh
  • Mere Hamdam Mere Dost (1968) … Sunil
  • Izzat (1968) … Shekhar / Dilip P. Singh (Double Role)
  • Baharon Ki Manzil (1968) … Dr. Rajesh Khanna
  • Baazi (1968) … D. S. P. Ajay
  • Ankhen (1968) … Sunil
  • Yakeen (1969) … Rajesh / Jackoss (Double Role)
  • Satyakam (1969) … Satyapriya ‘Satya’ Acharya
  • Pyar Hi Pyar (1969) … Vijay Pratap
  • Khamoshi (1969) … Dev (Patient No. 24) (Guest Appearance)
  • The Gold Medal (1969) … Acharya (Guest Appearance)
  • Aya Sawan Jhoom Ke … Jaishankar ‘Jai’
  • Aadmi Aur Insaan (1969) … Munish Mehra
  • Man Ki Aankhen (1970) … Rajesh Agarwal
  • Tum Haseen Main Jawaan (1970) … Sunil
  • Sharafat (1970) … Rajesh
  • Mera Naam Joker (1970) … Mahendra Singh
  • Soldier Thakur Daler Singh (1970)
  • Kankan De Ole (1970) … Banta Singh
  • Kab  Kyoo  Aur Kahan (1970) … C. I. D. Inspector Anand
  • Jeevan Mrityu (1970) … Ashok Tandon / Vikram Singh
  • Ishq Par Zor Nahin (1970) … Ram
  • Jeevitha Samaram (1971) Malayalam Movie
  • Rakhwala (1971) … Deepak
  • Naya Zamana (1971) … Anoop
  • Mera Gaon Mera Desh (1971) … Ajit
  • Guddi (1971) Dharmendra Himself
  • Seeta Aur Geeta (1972) … Raka
  • Samadhi (1972) … Lakhan Singh / Jaswant Singh / Ajay (Double Role)
  • Raja Jani (1972) … Rajkumar Singh ‘Raja’
  • Lalkar (1972) … Major Ram Kapoor
  • Do Chor (1972) … Tony
  • Anokha Milan (1972) … Ghanshyam “Ghana”
  • Yaadon Ki Baaraat (1973) … Shankar
  • Phagun (1973) … Gopal
  • Keemat (1973) … Gopal (Agent 116)
  • Kahani Kismat Ki (1973) … Ajit Sharma
  • Jugnu (1973) … Ashok Roy / Jugnu
  • Black Mail (1973) … Kailash Gupta
  • Loafer … Ranjit
  • Jheel Ke Us Paar (1973) … Sameer Rai
  • Jwaar Bhata (1973) … Balraj Prasad ‘Billoo’
  • Resham Ki Dori (1974) … Ajit Singh
  • Patthar Aur Payal (1974) … Ranjit Singh
  • Pocket Maar (1974) … Shankar
  • Dukh Bhanjan Tera Naam (1974)
  • Do Sher (1974)
  • Dost (1974) … Maanav
  • International Crook (1974) … Shekhar
  • Teri Meri Ik Jindri (1975)
  • Saazish (1975) … Jaideep ‘Jai’
  • Pratigya (1975) … Inspector Devendra Singh / Ajit D. Singh (Double Role)
  • Kahte Hain Mujhko Raja (1975) … Balram
  • Ek Mahal Ho Sapno Ka (1975) … Vishal
  • Dhoti Lota Aur Chowpatty (1975) … Madman
  • Chupke Chupke (1975) … Dr. Parimal Tripathi / Pyare Mohan
  • Chaitali (1975)
  • Apne Dushman (1975) … Brijesh
  • Sholay (1975) … Veeru
  • Santo Banto (1976)
  • Charas (1976) … Suraj Kumar
  • Maa (1976) … Vijay
  • Tinku (1977)
  • Swami (1977)
  • Kinara (1977)
  • Aaina (1977) … Guest App
  • Khel Khiladi Ka (1977) … Shaki Lutera / Raja Saab / Ajit
  • Dream Girl (1977) … Anupam Verma
  • Do Chehere (1977) … Kanwar Pran (Drunkard) / C.I.D. S.P. Shukla
  • Dharam Veer (1977) … Dharam Singh
  • Charandas (1977)
  • Chala Murari Hero Banne (1977)
  • Chacha Bhatija (1977) … Shankar
  • Giddha (1978) … Banta
  • Shalimar / Raiders of Shalimar (1978) … S.S. Kumar
  • Phandebaaz (1978)
  • Dillagi (1978)
  • Azaad (1978) … Ashok (Azaad)
  • Dil Kaa Heera (1979)
  • Kartavya (1979)
  • Chunaoti (1980) … Shakti Singh (Special Appearance)
  • Ram Balram (1980) … Ram
  • The Burning Train (1980) … Ashok Singh
  • Alibaba Aur 40 Chor (1980) … Alibaba
  • Insaaf Ka Tarazu (1980) … Soldier (Guest Appearance)
  • Professor Pyarelal (1981) … Ram / Professor Pyarelal
  • Krodhi (1981) … Vikramjit Singh (Vicky) / Acharya Shradhanand
  • Katilon Ke Kaatil (1981) … Ajit / Badshah
  • Aas Paas (1981) … Arun Choudhury
  • Naseeb (1981) … Himself in a Song (Special Appearance)
  • Teesri Aankh (1982) … Ashok
  • Samraat (1982) … Ram
  • Main Intequam Loonga (1982) … Kumar Agnihotri ‘Bitto’
  • Ghazab (1982) … Ajay Singh ‘Munna’ / Vijay Singh (Double Role)
  • Do Dishayen (1982)
  • Baghavat (1982) … Amar Singh
  • Badle Ki Aag (1982) … Sher Singh ‘Shera’ / Jaggu
  • Rajput (1982) … Manu Pratap Singh
  • Ambri (1983) … Dharam Singh
  • Putt Jattan De (1983) … Chaudhary Dharam Singh (Punjabi film)
  • Razia Sultan (1983) … Yakut Jamaluddin
  • Naukar Biwi Ka (1983) … Deepak Kumar / Raja
  • Jaani Dost (1983) … Raju
  • Andhaa Kaanoon (1983) … Truck Driver (Guest Appearance)
  • Qayamat (1983) … Shyam / Rajeshwar
  • Sunny (1984) … Indrajeet
  • Ranjhan Mera Yaar (1984) (Punjabi film)
  • Raaj Tilak (1984) … Zoravar Singh
  • Jeene Nahi Doonga (1984) … Roshan / Raka (Double Role)
  • Jagir (1984) … Shankar
  • Dharam Aur Kanoon (1984) … Rahim Khan
  • Baazi (1984) … Inspector Ajay Sharma
  • Insaaf Kaun Karega (1984) … Veeru
  • Jhutha Sach (1984)
  • Rajhan Mera Yaar (Punjabi Film) (1984)
  • Karishma Kudrat Kaa (1985) … Vijay / Karan (Double Role)
  • Ghulami (1985) … Ranjit Singh
  • Sitamgar (1985) … Sonu / Shankar
  • Saveray Wali Gaadi (1986) Sher Singh (Guest Appearance)
  • Mohabbat Ki Kasam (1986) … Shop-Owner
  • Main Balwan (1986) … Inspector / D. C. P. Chaudhary
  • Sultanat (1986) … General Khalid
  • Mit Jayenge Mitane Wale (1987)
  • Watan Ke Rakhwale (1987) Mahavir
  • Mera Karam Mera Dharam (1987) … Ajay Shankar Sharma
  • Mard Ki Zabaan (1987) … Laxman Chauhan
  • Insaaf Ki Pukar (1987) … Vijay Singh
  • Dadagiri (1987) … Dharma Dada
  • Aag Hi Aag (1987) … Bahadur Singh / Sher Singh
  • Superman (1987) … Superman’s Dad (Guest Appearance)
  • Insaniyat Ke Dushman (1987) … Inspector Shekhar Kapoor
  • Loha (1987) … Inspector Amar
  • Hukumat (1987) … Inspector Arjun Singh
  • Jaan Hatheli Pe (1987) … Soni
  • Zalzala (1988) … Inspector Shiv Kumar
  • Soorma Bhopali (1988) … Mahendra Singh / Dharmendra Himself (Double Role)
  • Sone Pe Suhaaga (1988) … Vikram / C. B. I. Officer Ashwini Kumar
  • Khatron Ke Khiladi (1988) … Balwant / Karamveer / Teesri Adalat
  • Mardon Wali Baat (1988) … Yadvinder Singh
  • Mahaveera (1988) … Ajay Verma
  • Paap Ko Jalaa Kar Raakh Kar Doonga (1988) … Shankar
  • Ganga Tere Desh Mein (1988) … Vijay Nath
  • Sachai Ki Taqat (1989) … Constable Ram Singh
  • Nafrat Ki Aandhi (1989) … Sonu
  • Hathyar (1989) … Khushal Khan
  • Kasam Suhaag Ki (1989)
  • Ilaaka (1989) … Inspector Dharam Verma (Special Appearance)
  • Batwara (1989) … Sumer Singh
  • Elaan-E-Jung (1989)
  • Sikka (1989) … Vijay
  • Shehzaade (1989) … Subedhar Zorawar Singh / Inspector Shankar Shrivastav (Double Role)
  • Veeru Dada (1990) … Veeru Dada (Siddhartha Narbarity)
  • Vardi (1990) … Havaldar Bhagwan Singh (Special Appearance)
  • Qurbani Jatt Di (1990)
  • Pyaar Ka Karz (1990)
  • Nakabandi (1990)
  • Humse Na Takrana (1990)
  • Trinetra (1991) … Raja (Special Appearance)
  • Mast Kalandar (1991)
  • Kohraam (1991)
  • Farishtay (1991) … Veeru
  • Paap Ki Aandhi (1991) … Dharma / Mangal (Double Role)
  • Dushman Devta (1991) … Shiva
  • Zulm Ki Hukumat (1992) … Pitamber Kohli
  • Waqt Ka Badshah (1992)
  • Tahalka (1992) EX Major Dharam Singh
  • Virodhi (1992) … Inspector Shekhar
  • Khule-Aam (1992) … Shiva
  • Humlaa (1992) … Bhawani
  • Kal Ki Awaz (1992)
  • Agnee Morcha (1993)
  • Aag Ka Toofan (1993) Karan / Dharam (Double Role)
  • Kundan (1993)
  • Kshatriya (1993) … Maharaj Prthivi Singh (Surjangarh)
  • Maha Shaktishaali (1994)
  • Juaari (1994) … Police Inspector Dharam Singh
  • Dillagi… Yeh Dillagi (1994)
  • Policewala Gunda (1995) … A.C.P. Ajit Singh
  • Maidan-E-Jung (1995) … Shankar
  • Aazmayish (1995) … Shanker Singh Rathod
  • Taaqat (1995) … Shakti Singh
  • Hum Sab Chor Hain (1995)
  • Fauji (1995)
  • Veer (1995) … Veeru Bhaiya / Veer (Double Role)
  • Smuggler (1996)
  • Return of Jewel Thief (1996) … Police Commissioner Surya Dev Singh
  • Himmatvar (1996) … Sultan
  • Aatank (1996) … Jesu
  • Mafia (1996) … Fauji Ajit Singh
  • Loha (1997) … Shankar
  • Jeeo Shaan Se (1997) … Bramha / Vishnu / Mahesh (Triple Role)
  • Gundagardi (1997)
  • Agnee Morcha (1997)
  • Dharma Karma (1997) … Dharma
  • Jeeo Shaan Se (1997) … Dharma
  • Hamaara Faisla (1998) – swaroop pictures
  • Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya (1998) … Thakur Ajay Singh (Chacha)
  • Zulm O Situm (1998) … SP. Arun
  • Nyaydaata (1999) … DCP Ram
  • Munnibai (1999)
  • Lohpurush (1999)
  • Sultaan (2000) … Sultan Singh (Extended Special Appearance)
  • Dacait (2000)
  • The Revenge: Geeta Mera Naam (2000) … Baba Thakur
  • Meri Jung Ka Elaan (2000) … Ajit Singh
  • Kaali Ki Saugandh (2000) … Sultan Singh
  • Jallad No. 1 (2000) … Shankar
  • Daku Kali Bhawani (2000) … Bhawani Pratap
  • Bhai Thakur (2000)
  • Shiva Ka Insaaf (2001 film)
  • Jagira (2001)
  • Saugandh Geeta Ki (2001)
  • Zakhmi Sherni (2001)
  • Bhooka Sher (2001) … Ranbir Singh
  • Ek Lootere (2001) … Iqbal
  • Reshma aur Sultan (2002)
  • Border Kashmir (2002)
  • Kaise Kahoon Ke… Pyaar Hai (2003) … Dharam
  • Tada (2003) … Balraj Singh Rana
  • Sabse Badi Ganga Ki Saugandh (2004) (Guest Appearance)
  • Hum Kaun Hai? (2004) … Virendra ‘Viru’ (Guest Appearance)
  • Kis Kis Ki Kismat (2004) … Hasmukh Mehta
  • Life in a… Metro (2007) … Amol
  • Apne (2007) … Baldev Singh Chaudhary
  • Johnny Gaddaar (2007) … Sheshadri
  • Om Shanti Om (2007) … Himself in song Deewangi Deewangi
  • Apne (2008) … Dharm Singh
  • Har Pal (2009) … Baba
  • Yamala Pagla Deewana (2011) … Dharam Singh Dhillon
  • Tell Me O Kkhuda (2011) … Tony Costello
  • Yamla Pagla Deewana 2 (2013) … Dharam Singh Dhillon
  • Dusman Ke Khoon Paani Ha (2014)
  • Singh Saab the Great (2013) … Cameo in song ‘Daru Band Kal Se’
  • Double Di Trouble (2014) … Ajit / Manjit (Double Role)
  • Second Hand Husband (2015) … Ajit Singh
  • Jora 10 Numbaria (2015) … Jagga Baba
  • Yamla Pagla Deewana: Phir Se (2018) … Jaywant Parmar
  • Shimla Mirchi (2020)… as Foreign Minister
  • Jora: The Second Chapter (2020) …