Not Just A He –Man : An insight into the incredible life of Dharmendra

Bollywood’s first He – Man, the evergreen action king of Indian cinema, The ‘veeru’ who didn,t manipulated his ‘jai’ ( read success, stardom), DHARMENDRA : NOT JUST A HE-  MAN is an insightful account of Bollywood’s humble macho man Dharmendra by journalist, historian, analyst and critic Rajiv Vijayakar.

He still cannot believe that the evergreen Dev Sahab – Dev Anand is no more. Before Salman Khan who stood bare-chested on the poster of Sooraj Barjatya's 1989 phenomenon MAINE PYAR KIYA as Bhagyashree held on to his denims, it was a handsome young Punjabi jat from Nasarli Ludhiana district in Punjab by the name Dharmendra in 1966 in O.P. Ralhan’s PHOOL AUR PATTHAR who removed his shirt, to cover the frail and poor woman (Leela Chitnis). Of course, the famous sequence from the same film in which Meena Kumari, rescued by drunk and bare-chested Dharmendra who leans over her only to check whether she is asleep, and gently covers her with a blanket became the talk of the town and turned Dharminder into Dharmendra and earned him the ‘original’ He- man crown which he rightfully will own till time lasts. Bollywood first He – Man, the evergreen action king of Indian cinema.

Like Dharmendra’s affectionate and emotional nature, the author Rajiv Vijayakar traces the journey of Dharmendra in intrinsic simplicity primarily targeted towards fans, admirers and biopic enthusiast in general. Told in three phases, the book breaks some myths like – the actor who remained tagged as a macho man, the action king and for the massy single screen audience, mimicry artiste the face and voice for ‘kaminey, kutte mein tera khoon pee jaoonga’ in fact gave his best as an actor in serious roles in movies like SATYAKAM, ANUPAMA, SHOLA AUR SHABNAM, BANDINI, PHOOL AUR PATTHAR. Comedy came naturally to him CHUPKE CHUPKE, PRATIGYA etc, etc. Dharmendra admits comedy as his forte but interestingly, the grounded actor has remained aloof of his own specialty in touchy moments. The air of shyness in his romanticisms is less talked about. A rewind of the eternal Mohammad Rafi’s unforgettable “Aap ke haseen rukh pe aaj naya nor hai” from BAHAREN PHIR BHI AAYENGI (1966) the debonair Dharmendra ( no wonder he was voted as one of the most handsome men in the    world during the mid – 70’s) singing with the graceful Tanuja and Mala Sinha silently accepting the appreciation and the gesture of love. Dharmendra looks so natural and speaks so much from his eyes. It was later the energetic flamboyance of Shammi Kapoor who spoke mostly with his eyes that has casted an instant spell.

The book reflects Dharmendra’s love for the film fraternity and for his fans and the author seems to be smitten by his aura but its fine as it’s a good read.

Dharmendra was an action hero with an emotional side, Salman Khan idolizes him, Amitabh Bachchan considers him as his elder brother. Dharmendra developed his own style, he never copied anyone.

The author Rajiv Vijayakar gives account of his sense of involvement and duty with the J.P. Dutta episode where he forgot to ask to change his charpai every day in the entire 45 day shoot as the charpai was short, his visit to his idol Dilip Kumar (today its difficult for Dharmendra to believe that his idol is inactive), how Dharmendra walked into his house without being stopped by anyone and found his idol lying in bed!. Dharmendra’s first meeting with Hema Malini, his funny banter with Om Prakash courtesy the 70’s known character actor Birbal, his love for poetry, his confession that he didn,t know how to manipulate and cash on his success is told in the book.

Dharmendra with Rajiv Vijayakar
Dharmendra with Rajiv Vijayakar

Rajiv Vijayakar ends the book on a profound poetic note of the versatile Dharmendra – an artist, a hero, a kind man, a loving father and a poet with the legends own poem which goes like Chahat Hi Boyi Hai, Jo Ab Kat Rahi Hai, Shohorat Chali Jati Hai, Chahat Nahi (I have sowed the seeds of love, which are now being reaped, fame is ephemeral, but love forever)

(Extracts from DHARMENDRA, NOT JUST A HE-MAN: A BIOGRAPHY by Rajiv Vijayakar used with permission from Rupa Publications)

PHOOL AUR PATTHAR movie poster
PHOOL AUR PATTHAR movie poster

Before Salman Khan who stood bare-chested on the poster of Sooraj Barjatya's 1989 phenomenon MAINE PYAR KIYA as Bhagyashree held on to his denims, it was a handsome young Punjabi jat from Nasarli Ludhiana district in Punjab by the name Dharmendra in 1966 in O.P. Ralhan’s PHOOL AUR PATTHAR who removed his shirt, to cover the frail and poor woman (Leela Chitnis). Of course, the famous sequence from the same film in which Meena Kumari, rescued by drunk and bare-chested Dharmendra who leans over her only to check whether she is asleep, and gently covers her with a blanket became the talk of the town and turned Dharminder into Dharmendra and earned him the ‘original’ He- man crown which he rightfully will own till time lasts. Bollywood first He – Man, the evergreen action king of Indian cinema.

courtesy : Ultra Youtube

Dharmendra admits comedy as his forte but interestingly, the grounded actor has remained aloof of his own specialty in touchy moments. The air of shyness in his romanticisms is less talked about. A rewind of the eternal Mohammad Rafi’s unforgettable “Aap ke haseen rukh pe aaj naya nor hai” from BAHAREN PHIR BHI AAYENGI (1966) the debonair Dharmendra ( no wonder he was voted as one of the most handsome men in the    world during the mid – 70’s) singing with the graceful Tanuja and Mala Sinha silently accepting the appreciation and the gesture of love. Dharmendra looks so natural and speaks so much from his eyes. It was later the energetic flamboyance of Shammi Kapoor who spoke mostly with his eyes that has casted an instant spell.