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The proudest moment of Dharmendra's life

By SUBHASH K JHA
December 09, 2020 17:54 IST
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Photograph: Kind courtesy Dharmendra/Instagram

Dharmendra, who turned 85 on December 8, says there was no reason to celebrate his birthday this year.

"Our country and civilisation at large are going through the worst possible crisis, thanks to COVID-19 and recession," he tells Subhash K Jha.

"Given the bleak scenario, I don't think there is any room for celebration this year. Let us all come out of 2020 and we shall have a double celebration next year."

Dharmendra, who started his career as an actor in 1960, looks back with tremendous satisfaction.

"I've worked with the best directors and co-stars. When I came into the film industry, I knew nobody. The only actor I hero worshiped was Dilip Kumarsaab. When I met him in person, it was the proudest moment in my life."

IMAGE: Sharmila Tagore and Dharmendra in Satyakam.

Which among his films are his favourites?

"Oh, there are so many! Offhand, I am very fond of Satyakam, Anupama, Devar, Phool Aur Patthar, Naya Zamana, Sholay, Dost and Pratiggya," he replies.

"I love Pratiggya the most because it was a really tough role. I had to play a truck driver, who masquerades as a cop. It was like playing a role within a role. It was a layered character with a lot of emotions and drama."

"I had made to make people laugh, but there was an undercurrent of emotions. It was a challenge and people loved me in it.

"Though Satyakam is one of favourite films, my all-time favourite film is Pratiggya, directed by Dulal Guha. It came in 1975, the same year when Sholay released, so it was eclipsed."

"Pratiggya was a super hit in spite of competition from Sholay. Just as in 1971, when Naya Zamana clicked despite a blockbuster like Mera Gaon Mera Desh. They were such different films. I am very fond of Naya Zamana because it was based on Bengali literature. The film had beautiful dialogues."

 

IMAGE: Hema Malini and Dharmendra in Pratiggya.

Dharamji feels he has much to be thankful for.

"From a young age, I was obsessed about being on screen. God heard me. I was selected in the Filmfare talent contest and here I am," he says.

"My endeavour has always been to be in front of the camera, and from there into the hearts of the people. That I've succeeded in doing so is just my good fortune."

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