HEIGHT:5 feet 10 inches (1.78 m)
WEIGHT:78 Kg (171 lbs)
HAIR COLOR: Black
EYE COLOR: Dark Brown
Qualification: Not Available
School: Government Senior Secondary School, Layton Kalan, Ludhiana
College: Not Available
- Profession: Actor, Politician
- Debut TV Series/Movie: Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere (1960)
- Salary: Under review
- Net Worth: USD $70 Million approx
Family & Relatives
- Father: Kewal Kishan Singh Deol
- Mother: Satwant Kaur
- Brother(s): Ajit Deol
- Sister(s): N/A
- Marital Status: Married
- Wife/Girlfriend: Prakash Kaur (1st Wife)
- Hema Malini (2nd Wife)
Son(s): Sunny Deol & Bobby Deol (both from 1st wife)
Daughter(s): Vijeeta Deol and Ajeeta Deol (from 1st wife) Esha Deol and Ahana Deol (from 2nd wife)
- Meena Kumari (actress)
- Saira Banu (actress)
- Hema Malini (actress)
Dharmendra came to be noticed after the release of Bimal Roy’s Bandini (1963). In this movie, he appears as a warm-heart doctor (assign to duties in a jail in the pre-independence period) who falls in love with a young woman prisoner (Nutan) convict for murder.
In Chetan Anand’s Hageegat (1964), set against the backdrop of the 1962 Chinese aggression, he made his presence felt in the role of a valiant army captain who falls in love with an innocent Ladakhi belle (Priya Rajvansh). He also put in a spirit performance in Phani Majumdar’s classic, Akashdeep (1965).
In Baaharen Phir Bhi Aayengi (1966), Guru Dutt’s venture complete by his brother Atma Ram after the master’s death in October 1964, Dharmendra appears as an upright editor who comes into conflict with the business interests of his employer, a woman, play by Mala Sinha. He plays a villain in Mohan Kumar’s Aayee Milan Ki Bela (1964) to Rajendra Kumar’s hero, both of whom are contenders for the heroine’s (Saira Banu’s) love.
Like Amitabh Bachchan later, Dharmendra, too, in his formative years, found in Hrishikesh Mukherjee a powerful and reliable mentor. The young actor came up with highly sensitive performances in Anupama (1966), Majhli Didi (1967) and Satyakam (1969), all three movies direct by the stalwart.
In the first movie, he portrays a struggling idealistic writer who loves the guilt-ridden heroine (Sharmila Tagore) who has been blam by her domineering father for her mother’s death during delivery. She becomes an introvert and recedes into a shell.
He rescues her from her isolation by writing a novel on her life, which emboldens her to break her emotional shackles. Majhli Didi was an adaptation of the Bengali writer Saratchandra Chatterjee’s novel.
The theme was about the ill-treatment of children in a semi-feudal domestic set-up. In Satyakam, set around the time of India’s independence, Dharmendra excels in the role of an idealistic engineer with strong nationalist feelings instill in him by his grandfather (superbly portray by Ashok Kumar). He refuses to obey the orders of his feudal master (Manrnohan), who wants him to sign a fake blueprint and is for to quit his job.
He marries a rape victim (Sharmila Tagore, who is carrying Manmohan’s seed), and in the face of his aged grandfather’s refusal to accept a child born of sin, he refers to a mythological tale from the Upanishads: Rishi Gautama accept Jabala’s son named Satyakam under similar circumstances.
The hero is compelled to change jobs frequently as he refuses to compromise with his principles and values. He eventually falls victim to cancer and dies. His grandfather allows the ‘illegitimate’ son to light the funeral pyre. In this film, Dharmendra plays the role of a lifetime.
He had great company in the form of Sanjeev Kumar, his college mate, an honest but practical individual, who knows how to adjust to the changing times. B. R. Chopra’s Aadmi Aur Insaan (1969), a melodrama based on the age-old clash between good and evil, again portrayDharmendra in the role of an upright engineer. In Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s unique movie, Guddi (1971), Dharmendra plays himself.
His objective in this film is to dispel the illusions of an impressionable teenage girl (Jaya Bhaduri, in her first Hindi film) about the film world. He takes the teenager to various shooting locations to show her the harsh realities behind the façade of glitz and glamour.
The actor also imbues his role in Rajender Singh Bedi’s masterpiece, Phagun (1973), with varying shades. This movie narrates a tragic story about the vulnerability of well-nurtured love when confronted by a sudden momentary humiliation.
DHARMENDRA ROMANTIC HERO
In the 1960s, Dharmendra emerg as a highly refreshing romantic hero, injecting a new charm into the light romances being churn out by Bollywood as seen in Mohan Kumar’s Aap Ki Parchhaiyan (1964), Rajendra Bhatia’s Neela Akash (1965), Raghunath Jhalani’s Aaye Din Bahar Ke (1966), T. Prakash Rao’s Izzat (1968) and Jhalani’s Aaya Sawan Jhoom Ke (1969).
He carried this image forward in the 1970s also, with films such as Ramesh Sehgal’s Ishq Par Zor Nahin (1970), Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Chaitali (1975), Devendra Goel’s Ek Mahal Ho Sapnon Ka (1975) and Pramod Chakravarty’s Dream Girl (1978).
He also appears as a conscientious male figure in several woman-orient family dramas (mostly opposite tragedienne Meena Kumari), often rebelling against the social conventions to stand up for the suffering woman protagonist as seen in Mohan Kumar’s Anpadh (1962), A. C. Trilogchandra’s Main Bhi Ladki ikon (1964), Krishnan-Panju’s Mera Kasur Kya Hai (1964), Narendra Sue’s Purnima (1965), Ram Maheshwari’s Kaajal (1965), D. D. Kashyap’s Dulhan Ek Raat Ki (1966), 0. P. Ralhan’s Phool Aur Patthar (1966) and later M. A. Thirumugham’s Maa (1976). Phool Aur Patthar brought about a sudden change in Dharmendra’s screen persona.
He was transformed into a formidable `angry’ hero figure in Bollywood, often blending his ‘he-man’ image with romantic-comic ingredients as well as simplicity and naivete. In this film, he appears as a hardened criminal, who takes care of a widow (Meena Kumari) abandon by her uncaring relatives when the plague hits a town. The hero opts to set up home with her and thrashes the neighbors and former criminal associates who oppose what they view as an ‘illicit relationship’.
The actor further energizes this image with Prakash Mehra’s Samadhi (1972, in a double role as father and son) and Nasir Hussain’s superhit Yaadon Ki Baraat (1973) in a role that was similar to Amitabh Bachchan’s in Zanjeer, release the same year.
In Yaadon Ki Baraat, a lost-and-found vendetta tale, he appears as the eldest of three brothers (the other two being Vijay Arora and Tariq) separate during childhood after their parents are killed.
He turns into a professional robber with a heart of gold, who launches a desperate search for the murderer of his parents (Ajit) and for his lost brothers. It is the title song of the film that ultimately brings the brothers together.
In this phase, he became a hot favorite of filmmakers specializing in this genre. Some of the films in this category are: Ramanand Sagar’s Aankhen (1968), Arjun and Anil Hingorani’s Kab?
Kyon? Aur Kahan? (1970), Raj Khosla’s Mera Gaon Mera Desh (1971, a precursor to Sholay, 1975), Arjun Hingorani’s Kahani Kismat Ki (1973), Vijay Anand’s Blackmail (1973), Pachchi’s International Crook (1974), Ramesh Lakhanpal’s Pocketmar (1974), Dulal Guha’s Dost (1974), Ramanand Sagar’s Charas (1976), Arjun Hingorani’s Khel Khiladi Ka (1977), Krishna Shah’s Shalimar (1978, co-starring with the Hollywood star, Rex Harrison of Cleopatra and My Fair Lady fame) and B. R. Chopra’s The Burning Train (1980, probably India’s first ‘disaster’ movie).
In films like Pramod Chakravarty’s Jugnu (1973) and Azaad (1978), Rama Rao Tatineni’s Main Inteqam Loonga (1982), Sudarshan Nag’s Insaaf Kaun Karega (1984), K. R. Reddy’s Paap Ko Jala Kar Rakh Kar Doonga (1988) and Veeru Dada (1990) and Rajkumar Kohli’s Virodhi (1992), Dharmendra’s action hero turn into a lone avenger.
In J. P. Dutta’s Batwara (1989), set in the context of land reforms and the threat pos to the zamindar class, he appears as the farmers’ leader waging a war against the tyranny of the Thakur (belonging to the upper castes) led by villain Vinod Khanna. In Hathiyar (1989), also direct by Dutta, he plays a fearsome mafia don, who is the protector of the hero’s (Sanjay Dutt) family.
Dharmendra had earlier successfully transported his vengeful hero to the costume drama genre as seen in Manmohan Desai’s Dharam veer (1977), as the lost prince fighting for his right to the throne. He was given company by Jeetendra, a loyal friend, who turns out to be his long-lost brother.
In Kamal Amrohi’s historical Razia Sultan (1983), set in the medieval Muslim era, Dharmendra portrays the slave-lover (Jamaluddin Yakut) of the lonely queen (play by Hema Malini) fighting for survival amidst a slew of court intrigues. In Mukul S. Anand’s Sultanat (1986), he dons the mantle of a Muslim nobleman who prepares his sons to avenge the wrongs done to him.
Dharmendra Also Proved His Mettle in Down-to-Earth Comedy Roles
In Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Chupke Chupke, he appears as one of the participants (along with Amitabh Bachchan) in organizing a hilarious leg-pulling caper (so common in Indian families, especially against one’s in-laws).
He plays havoc with the life of his wife’s sanctimonious brother-in-law who would always insist on speaking chaste Hindi and In Dulal Guha’s Pratigya (1975), Dharmendra’s slapstick comedy made a great impact.
He appears as a runaway from the law who takes shelter in a remote village, where nobody knows his real identity. He dons the uniform of a cop and ‘converts’ a group of villagers (who look like buffoons) into ‘policemen’ in order to protect the village against the recurrent attacks of bandits.
The romantic element is provided by the vivacious Hema Malini (whom he later marri she became his second wife). As in Yaadon Ki Baraat, he seeks revenge against the dacoit play by Ajit, who has killed his parents. In Ramesh Sippy’s blockbuster Sholay (1975), he was truly in his element in the role of the footloose, boisterous, but courageous, Veeru, constantly making fun of himself and others. At times, he proves to be a source of embarrassment for his saturnine buddy.
In the later part of the film, he turns serious, especially during his confrontations with the dacoit-villain Gabbar Singh, a role-play to perfection by Amjad Khan. The actor again appears in the company of Bachchan and Ajit in Vijay Anand’s Ram Balram (1980), but without any noticeable impact. Most of Dharmendra’s films were pack with highly popular songs, which help in bolstering his image as an idealist or a romantic on-screen.
In the early 1980s, Dharmendra enters film production, launching his elder son Sunny Deol (real name Ajay Singh Deol) in Betaab (1983). As an actor, he reappears in films after a gap of many years. In Anurag Basu’s Life in a Metro (2007), he portrays a septuagenarian non-resident Indian (NRI), who has return to India to spend the last years of his life with his first love (Nafisa Ali), now staying in an old-age home.
Anil Sharma’s Apne (2007) was a touching tale about down-to-earth family solidarity that is unaffected by personal goals. In this film, Dharmendra co-start with both his sons (Sunny Deol and Bobby Deol) for the first time. He made his mark as an ex-boxer suffering from the lifelong guilt of losing a crucial match.
He can never forget the person who ruins his chances of becoming the champion. His younger son (Bobby Deol) gives up his career in music and trains himself to be a boxer and wins many titles.
But in the final match, he becomes a victim of a conspiracy hatch by his scheming opponents and gets seriously injured. It is the elder son (Sunny Deol) who now steps in to turn the tables on the villains and bring his father the happiness that he has been longing for.
It is unfortunate that despite being a highly accomplish and versatile artist, Dharmendra’s talent has not been fully tapped to create meaningful cinema except probably in the formative years of his long career. In 1997, Dharmendra was bestowed with the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to cinema.
In fact, at the peak of his film career, Dharmendra was considering a matinee idol and was included among the ten most handsome men in the world at that time. Dharmendra enters politics as a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party and won a parliamentary seat from Bikaner (Rajasthan) in 2009.