Dharmendra is an Indian actor, a film producer, and a former politician. He is the “Action-King” and “He-Man” of Bollywood. Dharmendra is one of the versatile actors of the Bollywood industry and the recipient of Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian honour by the Government of India. Let’s delve into the actor’s professional and personal life.
Dharmendra was born as Dharam Singh Deol on 8 December 1935 (aged 82; as in 2018) in the village Nasrali of Khanna tehsil in Ludhiana, Punjab, India. He spent his early childhood days in the village, Sahnewal. As a child, Dharmendra was very reluctant to go to school and often used to trouble her mother while going to school. He completed his high school education from Government Senior Secondary School, Lalton Kalan, Ludhiana, Punjab and went onto Intermediate R.G. (Ramgarhia) College Phagwara, to pursue his senior secondary education. Due to lack of interest in studies, Dharmendra left studies just after completing his 12th standard.
He started developing an interest in movies from a very young age and often shared his fascination with his mother. He was a huge fan of the actress, ‘Suraiya‘ and walked down miles to watch her film Dillagi. Dharmendra had seen that film for almost 40 times. One day, his mother saw an advertisement for a movie in Filmfare by Bimal Roy and Guru Dutt and advised him to participate in it. Dharmendra then went to Malerkotla to get his portfolio done by Jaan Mohammed (John & Sons) and sent an application for participation. He won the ‘New Talent Hunt Award’ by the Filmfare Magazine and relocated to Mumbai in search of work.
The brown-eyed actor is around 5’ 8” tall and weighs around 75 kg.
Family & Caste
A native to Ludhiana, Dharmendra was born in a Jat Sikh Family. He is the son of Kewal Kishan Singh Deol, a government school teacher and Satwant Kaur. Dharmendra has a brother named Ajit Singh Deol.
In the 1960s, Dharmendra was allegedly romantic linked to actress Meena Kumari. It was even said that she helped Dharmendra to establish as A-listers of Bollywood.
In the 1970s, Dharmendra fell in love with Hema Malini, while shooting for the film,’Sholay.’ It even happened that Dharmendra bribed the light boys to disturb the lights whenever there was an intimate scene in order to have as many retakes as possible. However, the love was just not limited to sets and the actor decided to marry Hema, despite being already married.
In 1980, when his first wife, Prakash Kaur refused to divorce him, Dharmendra converted to Islam and got married to Hema Malini. The couple has two daughters, Esha Deol and Ahana Deol.
Dharmendra marked his film debut with Arjun Hingorani’s, “Dil Bhi Tera, Hum Bhi Tere” in 1960. He earned Rs. 51 for this film. Next, he played a supporting role in the film, ‘Boy Friend’ in 1961. Dharmendra usually starred as a romantic hero at the beginning of his career from 1960 to 1966.
In the year 1966, Dharmendra appeared as a solo hero in Phool Aur Patthar. The film went on to become the highest-grossing film of 1966 and propelled Dharmendra to greater heights of fame and glory. Dharmendra also received his first Filmfare nomination in the Best Actor category for this film. Dharmendra who was earlier portrayed as a romantic hero started playing action roles in films from 1974 onwards.
From the beginning of his journey, he got the opportunity to work with some of the renowned actresses of his times. He starred opposite Nutan in Bandini (1963) and Soorat Aur Seerat (1962). Dharmendra paired successfully with Meena Kumari in Main Bhi Ladki Hoon (1964), Kaajal (1965), Purnima (1965), Phool Aur Patthar (1966), Majhli Didi (1967), Chandan Ka Palna (1967) and Baharon Ki Manzil (1968).
Dharmendra also paired up with Hema Malini and gave hits like ‘Raja Jani’, ‘Sharafat,’ ‘Seeta Aur Geeta,’Charas,’ ‘Maa,’ ‘Sholay,’ and ‘Azaad.’ In fact, they formed the most successful on-screen pairing of that time. His significant performances include Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s ‘Satyakam’ and Ramesh Sippy’s action-adventure packed ‘Sholay.’ ‘Sholay’ became one of the greatest films in the history of Indian cinema and is listed by India as one of the “Top 25 must-see Bollywood films of all time.”
Besides Bollywood, Dharmendra also appeared in a few Punjabi Films. He made his debut in Punjabi cinema with “Kankan De Ohle (1970)”.
As a producer, he launched both his sons in the industry. He landed Sunny Deol in Bollywood with his first release (as a producer) Betaab in 1983. He also launched his younger son, Bobby, in Barsaat in 1995.
Apart from Bollywood, Dharmendra also actively participated in politics. He was a member of 14th Lok Sabha of India, representing the constituency of Bikaner in Rajasthan on behalf of BJP (Bhartiya Janta Party).
- Despite being married to Prakash Kaur, Dharmendra fell in love with Hema Malini and wanted to marry her. In the year 1980, when Prakash Kaur refused to divorce him, he converted to Islam in order to marry his love, Hema Malini. His act was severely criticised by the media.
- The actor also faced criticism for making an ironic statement that he should be elected ‘Director Perpetuo’ to teach basic etiquette that democracy requires, during the election campaign in 2004.
- He was also knocked by media for his negligible attendance in the Parliament.
- On being asked by a reporter about his sons, Bobby and Sunny’s no-show at Esha Deol’s wedding reception, Dharmendra lost his cool and reacted in a bizarre manner. He made a strange sound and retorted; “Aap bakwaas mat kijiye.”
- In 1991, Dharmendra was awarded the National Film Award for “Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment” for film, Ghayal (Producer).
- Dharmendra won the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997 for his contribution to Indian Cinema.
- In 2007, he received IIFA Lifetime Achievement Award.
- Dharmendra was bestowed with Padma Bhushan in 2012.
Dharmendra owns an agriculture land worth more than ₹88 Lakh, one Non-agriculture land worth more than ₹52 Lakh and a building in Mumbai worth more than ₹17 Crore.
Dharmendra has a collection of Range Rover, Mercedes Benz S-Class, and a Vintage car.
He has a Net Worth of around ₹23 Crore (as in 2014).
- Dharmendra’s hobbies are cycling, travelling, and watching films.
- His all-time favourite movie is Dillagi (1949).
- He is a huge fan of Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar.
- Suraiya and Nutan top his list of favourite actresses.
- His favourite actors are Guru Dutt and Dilip Kumar.
- Arjun Hingorani is his most-liked director.
- Dharmendra follows a Non-Vegetarian food habit.
- His residence is at Plot No. 22, 111th Road, Juhu, Mumbai, India.
- He is often called the ‘Garam Dharam’ of Bollywood. In fact, a restaurant chain named ‘Garam Dharam’ has been opened in cities like Delhi and Chandigarh as a tribute to the Dharmendra and his timeless movies. The menu of the restaurant is inspired by the actor’s famous dialogues.
- He is the only actor to have shared screen with all the members of the Kapoor family leaving Kareena Kapoor and Prithviraj Kapoor.
- In 1975, while the shooting of film ‘Pratigya’, the choreographer of the song ‘Main Jat Yamla Pagla Deewana’ got annoyed teaching the correct dance steps to Dharmendra. The actor then decided to go on his own flow and danced with his natural unique style.
- The veteran actor Dilip Kumar praised Dharmendra as the most handsome man he had ever seen.
- During the shoot of Sholay, while Amitabh Bachchan was still a newcomer to the industry, Dharmendra bonded with him nicely and the pair went onto redefine friendship in Bollywood.