“Acting was my first love.”
For the Iron Man of Bollywood, acting is indeed his only passion. Even at the age of 81, he never fails to entertain his fans. Girls and women still drop their jaws at his charm. It was his dream to become a part of the glamor industry and today Dharmendra Singh Deol has made a name so great that he is adored all over the world. The Indian ‘He-man' and the ‘Action King' has seen glorious decades in the film industry and has given Indian cinema some of its finest movies. Let’s hear his story:
The Everlasting Dream:
Dharam Paaji was born as Dharam Singh Deol in Nasrali, a village in Ludhiana district, Punjab to Kewal Kishan Singh Deol and Satwant Kaur. His father was a village school's headmaster and ironically baby Dharam disliked going to school. He never stopped complaining to his mom. Being close to her, he shared every dream with her and she blindly supported him. Hearing his non-stop whining, his mother irritatingly asked him to write an application to join the film industry. This turned into a blessing in his life. He took his mother’s advice and wrote an application for the New Talent Hunt Competition by Filmfare. To his surprise, he got selected and his everlasting dream seemed to come true. After winning the competition, he shifted to Mumbai and signed a contract for Arjun Hingorani film Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere.
Controversies And Struggles Went Hand In Hand
Being the winner of the Filmfare Talent Hunt and acting in some hit films, Dharmendra still had to beat extreme hardships for a year till 'Bandini' came his way. With no food to eat and no money to pay the taxi fares, Dharam was in distress. But there are some good people too in the competitive industry. Shashi Kapoor took him home once where they had lunch together. Gradually he established himself as an Action Hero with the 1966 release Phool Aur Patthar.
As his career was on a steady path, Dharmendra created controversy in his personal life. He was already married to Prakash Kaur and also had four children Sunny, Bobby, Vijeta, Ajeeta when he met Hema Malini. Their pair created magic on screen thus made controversies. Dharmendra was so in love with her that he converted to Islam to get married to her. This, however, didn’t change anything; he was a very responsible parent to all his children from both the marriages.
His Good Looks Were A Disadvantage
Dharmendra was such a heartthrob and a typical Punjabi Jat that his performance-oriented roles were overshadowed by his dashing good looks. He was struggling to prove himself, to add to the flame he was making many controversies for his personal life. His good reputation was slowly diminishing in the eyes of his fans.
“I am a farmer’s son and have laboured on our farms while growing up. I used to play kabaddi and hockey and used to jump off banyan trees as a kid. I have always eaten fresh simple food like I used to back home in our village. Since we didn’t have a fridge, a glass of milk was the first-morning meal. These days, everything has become quite artificial; even fight scenes. The ground shakes and people end up doing somersaults once the hero lands a punch. People seem to like that. Salman, who is very sweet, once asked me about my thighs — what I did to build them. I told him, ‘Well, nothing really.’”
Even his company Vijayta Films witnessed ups and down. “We lost money with Apne. Then we made profits with the first Yamla Pagla Deewana, but the second one made us cry again.” But Dharmendra was a star and will remain a star and he never discriminated between his son and daughter. He launched each one of them and made them successful.
His Everlasting Charm
From acting to politics to being a producer, Deol did it all and was successful as well. He was elected as a Member of the Parliament in the 2004 general elections, from Bikaner in Rajasthan, on a Bharatiya Janata Party ticket. Dharmendra was active in politics. During his election campaign, he made an ironic remark that he should be elected as a Dictator to teach "basic etiquette that democracy requires" for which he was severely criticized. This too didn’t reduce the aura he created among his fans.
“Kuch aur paane ki chaah, kuch aur behtar ki talaash ... is hi chakkar mein insaan apna sab kuch kho behetta hai joh uske paas hota hai ... talaash kabhi khatam nahi hoti ... waqt khatam ho jaata hai”
Dharmendra Deol won India's third highest civilian honour from the Government of India which is the Padma Bhushan award. Along with that, he got many awards to his name and honour. Even the ‘Naya Zamana’ cannot take away the magnetism he has.