Were it not for the biological age that is adding numbers to his age, who would believe that the Indian He-Man aka Dharmendra would be celebrating his 77th birthday. Indeed for an actor who made his debut in the world of Hindi cinema in the era of black and white films, he still continues to make the hearts sing and flutter when he spreads his elfin charm and smile.
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For a man who took the frontier mail from Ludhiana to carve out his niche in the world of glitz and glamour, after winning the best new comer award conferred on him by FiImfare, his defining trait that differentiates him from others, it is his warm heart, which opens out to anybody who walks across or purports to have walks from his pind aka the village from Punjab. It is this generosity which has endeared him for generations and has been the primary reason for his enormous fan following and goodwill that he has earned for himself in the film industry.
When he arrived in the world of cinema in the early sixties he was able to make his mark as the suave and dynamic lawyer in MAMTA serenading Suchitra Sen with the song- In Hawaon Mein Akeli Na Phiro. It was followed by another gem of a performance in SATYAKAM, which arguably is one of the best films that have been made on corruption. PHOOL AUR PATHTHAR is another milestone of his acting career, which paved the way for an enigmatic relationship with Meena Kumari.
Most productive phase of his acting career was during the early seventies and eighties when he starred amongst one of the most significant and cult films of the world of cinema including CHUPKE CHUPKE, SHOLAY, JUGNU, SEETA AUR GEETA, etc.
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His next phase of acting career was defined by his action oriented films where he emerged as one man army to demolish the villains and this phase of his career included LOHA, NAAKABANDI, ELAAN-E-JUNG, etc. During this phase most of his films were directed by Anil Sharma and this was the era during which his fan following increased enormously as these revenge films endeared the audience in the smaller cities and mofusil towns of the country.
It also is one of the ironic parts of the acting career, that though it was Filmfare which had searched him as the best newcomer talent that paved the way for him to make his debut in the world of cinema, till 1997 he did not win any Filmfare award. No wonder, when he was conferred the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997 by Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu he was so much overwhelmed with emotions that he could not control his tears. As a matter of fact, he among those few stars who did not have two doubts about shedding tear on the screen, though it militated against his screen persona.
Dharmenda as a producer however won the Best Film Award when he made GHAYAL that introduced to the world of cinema an actor in the name of Sunny Deol and also his younger son Bobby Deol as well subsequently.
One only hopes that as he celebrates his next birthday tomorrow he would be also thinking about launching his grandson, or the son of Sunny Deol.