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Dharmendra: forever young, original Punjabi
Enkayaar, Bollywood Trade News Network
When he celebrates his 72nd birthday as also completes the double whammy of having completed the 50 years of glorified existence, the journey of which began way back in 1957 when he had boarded Frontier Mail from Ludhiana, he would have a great sense of satisfaction that he still continues to inspire many a Punjabis to board the Frontier Mail from Punjab to realize their dream in the tinsel world. A man who made his debut with Arjun Hingorani in 1957 was young enough to act with his daughter as his heroine in number of films in the early eighties is an indication of the youthfulness that he continues to have in bundles in his physical fabric.
Displaying the six-pack abs has become a norm these days, but he was probably the first super star who did so, way back in early 60s in the Meena Kumari starrer PHOOL AUR PATHTHAR and from then on he was the star who was associated with machismo on the Hindi film scenario. It is this streak of fitness freak that he ingrained in his persona which has kept him still youngish at 72.
While in the 80s Dharmendra's film became synonymous with run of the mill stories and flexing of the muscles at the drop of a hat, he was probably the only actor in his times who had the courage to act in one meaningful film after other, be it in SATYAKAM, MAMTA, CHUPKE CHUPKE, GUDDI, etc. During the phase of 70s Dharmendra became synonymous with a genre of films which were soft and humorous but they tended to address the social issues in a subtle manner. While other actors migrate to this genre in the later part of their careers, Dharmendra could get to act in such films in the times when he was at the prime of his career.
If one word that could sum up the characterize Paaji's approach to acting it would be emotion, as he was always governed by emotion and his performances have the sparkling quality of emotions injected in every node and vein. This is what endears him to the audience to this date. It is this emotion which led him to support many of the fortune seekers who came to Mumbai to carve out a future for them, and it was this streak of emotion as a result of which he helped many of them by acting in his films as well. Though he may have lost out in the arena of collecting awards because of the emotional approach to his career, the legend of fan following that he has built for himself is an apt compensation. The speech that he made when he was conferred the life time achievement award at the Filmfare was a telling illustration about the role emotions play in his life.
The style of dialogue delivery that he has developed for himself is again an expression of delivering shot through and through with emotions. A man who was most uncomfortable to dance has one of the most significant super hit collection of songs picturised on him and he was able to plug this lacuna by filling it with dozes of emotion, and none other than, ‘Main Jat Yamla Pagla Dewana’ as also ‘Zamana to hai Naukar Biwi ka’, are songs where he scores with the emotions for lack of dance movements.
At a time when many of his juniors have got two-three books to their credit on their achievements, it is high time Dharmendra should come out with his memoirs of Hindi films. After all, his is a story which epitomizes the ability about faith in self to conquer the summits.