Hindi cinema veteran Dharmendra says he never felt the trappings of any image and every time he took up a role, he gave the glimpse of a new actor in him to the audience. The original He-Man of Bollywood, who had inspired the likes of Salman Khan to take up working out, interestingly started off his career playing the common man roles in the ’60s in films – Anpadh, Bandini, Anupama and Aaya Saawan Jhoom Ke, among others.
Then came the ’70s where the masses saw his desi macho man side in Sholay and Dharam Veer, among other enjoyable parts in films like Guddi, Chupke Chupke, Mera Gaon Mera Desh. Once voted among the seven most good-looking men in the world, Dharmendra says though he was aware people used to call him a “Greek god”, he still does not know what the term really encompasses.
“I have always broken my image every time I went on screen. I don’t believe I have an image. I don’t know what it means to be a Greek god but people used to call me one. People have given me a lot of love but I never got high on it. The love has given me a strong foothold. And I try to maintain this love, I hope it never wears away,” the veteran actor told PTI in an interview.
He later strengthened his action star avatar in the ’80s with Aag Hi Aag and Watan Ke Rakhwale. But Dharmendra calls his roles in Satyakam, Pratigya and Dillagi (opposite wife Hema Malini) as some of his memorable ones.
The 82-year-old actor, who will be seen with sons, Sunny and Bobby, in Yamla Pagla Deewana: Phir Se, says he loves to do comedy films.
“I love to do comedy. God has blessed me with timing. It should be like clockwork. Pratigya was one of my films. It was a revenge story but I played my part throughout using a lot of humour.”
About the changing face of comedy in Bollywood, he says, “It’s a variety of subjects actually. Chupke Chupke was a different type of subject. So we do comedy accordingly. Also it’s a team work – the actor, the writer, the director all come together.”
Dharmendra says actors today come all prepared and are part of “rare” stories. “They are coming out with some very rare subjects. I watch Ranveer and Ranbir’s films. Aamir is doing very well. “And all of them really live their characters. They don’t leave any stone unturned. Artistes who move along with the times, go ahead,” he says.
The actor is hopeful for grandson Karan, who will debut under his father’s direction in Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas. Asked if he advised the newcomer, he says, “They all come trained today. They know themselves a lot. Karan has all my blessings. I hope he surpasses our success.”
Dharamendra still identifies himself as a farmer and says he often finds solace in going back to his farm and animals. Also a poet, at heart and in writ, he says he is working towards compiling his poetry.
“I’m trying to get my poetry made into a video. I want the viewers to know the reference to the poems that I will share with them. So that everyone enjoys it. I’m a shayar. I write about what people feel. Poetry cannot be enjoyed if a poet talks about artifice. But my shayari is universal,” he says.
Also featuring Kriti Kharbanda, Yamla Pagla Deewana: Phir Se releases this Friday.
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