Today, 8th December is the Birthday of Dharmendra, arguably the most Handsome hero ever in the history of Hindi movies.

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The great Dilip Kumar had said, “If I meet God and he allows me a request, I will ask him to make me as handsome as Dharmendra”. Jaya Bhaduri also complimented his looks by saying though she was by then already married to Amitabh, she wanted to play Hema Malini’s “Basanti” role in Sholay as she ( Jaya) was in love with Dharmendra as he was so handsome.

Born at Sahnewal in Punjab to Satwant Kaur and a Government school teacher Kewal Kishan Singh Deol, ironically Dharmendra was not much interested in studies and only studied up to class 12. On the encouragement of his mother, he sent a portfolio to Filmfare’s New talent Hunt and won it as well. This started his memorable journey in the world of movies.

Happy Birthday Dharmendra
Happy Birthday Dharmendra

His 1st movie was Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere in 1960 when he was just 25. However, Phool Aur Patthar in 1966 was his 1st solo hero movie. As this was an action movie it started a trend of him as an action hero of those days when other great heroes were mostly playing soft, dramatic and romantic hero roles.

However, he was not just limited to being an action hero. Movies like Satyakam and Anupama showcased his acting skills. Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Chupke Chupke showed us his comic side which was seen in other movies as well.

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No tribute to Dharmendra can be complete without a brief mention of Sholay, one of the highpoints of his career. He was an established star while Amitabh relatively was a newcomer. Theirs was a memorable pair and they went on to did many movies together.

During shooting of Sholay, Dharmendra fell in love with Hema Malini. He used to tip the light and sound boys 100 rupees each time if they messed up the shots so that the romantic scenes could be shot again. He worked out a code with them, if he pulled his ear they would deliberately mess up and only after he touched his nose, the shot was okayed. Some days the spot boys were richer by a few thousand rupees.

Dharmendra is retired now, but who knows. Will he pull out a rabbit out of his hat suddenly as he did when he became an MP in 2004 or a TV judge in 2011 for “India’s Got Talent”? Will we see him in a new role ?

Happy Birthday Dharmendra Saab.

Ritesh Misra is an IRS officer currently based in Mumbai. He blogs & tweets @riteshmisra.

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