Dharmendra – From Veeru to He Man – An Actor for All Seasons
His roles in action films earned him nicknames such as “Action King” and “He-Man”. Dharmendra is one of the biggest stars of Indian cinema. He has starred in a large number of hit films and is a living legend. Giving block busters consistently right from 1960s till this century. In a career spanning 55 years, Dharmendra has worked in over 300 films. He’s nothing less than a film factory.
Dharmendra was born in Nasrali, a village in Ludhiana district, Punjab to Kewal Kishan Singh Deol and Satwant Kaur. His ancestral village is Dangon, near Pakhowal, Ludhiana He spent his early life in the village of Sahnewal and studied at Government Senior Secondary School at Lalton Kalan. His father was a school headmaster in the village of Lalton Kalan, Ludhiana. He did his intermediate from Ramgarhia College, Phagwara in 1952. In 1958, he landed in Mumbai for a talent contest, where his photographs were selected in the final round by none other than Nargis & Sunil Dutt. Today he’s known as one of the most handsome man in the showbiz. But his real feat is more than his impressive looks.
Dharmendra made his debut in 1960, starring opposite Kumkum in ‘Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tera’ and the offers started pouring in. He worked in several more black and white romantic films such as ‘Soorat Aur Seerat’, ‘Shaadi’, ‘Bandini’, ‘Ayee Milan Ki Bela’ and the blockbuster ‘Phool Aur Paththar’, which earned the young actor his first Filmfare nomination for ‘Best Actor’. He proved his acting prowess with memorable performances in films such as ‘Anupama’, ‘Devar’ and ‘Satyakam’ and romanced most leading ladies of the time on screen including Meena Kumari, Saira Banu, Sharmila Tagore, Mumtaz, Asha Parekh, Parveen Babi, Zeenat Aman and Hema Malini. He romanced Hema Malini in films like Seeta Aur Geeta, Dreamgirl, Sholay, The Burning Train, and the couple got married in 1980. He enthralled the audiences with his antics while portraying the role of “Veeru” in blockbuster the “Sholay”.
He outlived the 60s dealing with the likes of Raj Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor, Dev Anand, Dilip Kumar. He thrived the 70s alongside Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan. The 80s and 90s saw him as an action hero, earning him the name of “He-man”. Dharmendra was industry’s favourite leading man without asking any favours from media. After a brief hiatus, Dharmendra returned to the tinsel town with a pivotal role in the Salman Khan-Kajol starrer ‘Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya’ (1998) and also made an appearance in the multi-starrer ‘Life in a… Metro’. That same year, he appeared in ‘Johnny Gaddar’ and starred alongside his sons Sunny and Bobby for the first time ever in ‘Apne’. The hit combination was repeated in 2011 ‘Yamala Pagla Deewana’, which is one of the highest-grossing films of the year.
Impressive looks, soft etiquettes, an action man, an accurate sense of comic timing, a style icon…..Dharmendra, for sure, is the actor for all seasons.