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Dharmendra: “I Never Thought I’d Come This Far”

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Dharmendra

The timeless  effortless star-actor Dharmendra  on his favourite  roles  in real and reel life.

What do you consider the most memorable moment of your life so far?

Dharmendra: When I  bagged my  first role in  Dil Bhi  Tera  Hum Bhi Tere.  It was in 1960 and I clearly  remember that  moment when my dear friend and  guide Arjun Hingorani offered me  the  role. It  was  a dream come true.I never  thought I’d come  this far.

Which among your  films are  your favourites?

Dharmendra: Anupama, Chupke Chupke  and most  of all Satyakam. All the  films I did  with Hrishikesh Mukherjee were special. Then I   like so many others: Devar, Phool Aur Patthar, Sholay…Pratiggya came  in in the same  year  as Sholay  and got overshadowed.  But it was  one of  my  most challenging roles.

And  Sholay?

Dharmendra: Shooting for it  was  like a picnic.  Kab shuroo hua  kab khatm hua  pataa hi  nahin  chala. We were all together at a place near Bangalore.Amit was with Jaya. I was with Hema.It was  great fun.

What do  you  think  of  the way your sons Sunny and Bobby’s careers  have gone?

Dharmendra: They are  big stars  in their own  right. They have their  own fan following. We  in  the Deol family have  never  believed in playing dirty games. We are happy with what God has given us. Our fans are loyal to us and have  loved us  for generations.

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Who are your favourite  co-stars?

Dharmendra : Oh I enjoyed working with  all of them:  I’ve done  so  many films with Hema and Sharmila(Tagore). They  are a  joy to work with.So were Asha Parekh,Mala Sinha,Saira Banu…I did so many  hit films  with  them. With Nutanji I did a  few  films most memorable  being Bandini  where I got  the chance to be  directed  by the great  Bimal Roy.  I  always wanted to work with Sadhana. But I didn’t get the opportunity until very late in 1970, in Ishq Par Zor Nahin. I’ve  also worked with  Jayalalithaji, the  former  chief minister  of Tamil Nadu, and  Suchitra Sen…

Yes,  Izzat  and Mamta, respectively…You  never shied away from doing films where the  heroine had a more powerful role?

Dharmendra: I  never had a problem with  being in  heroine-oriented films or films where  other actors had more powerful  roles. Even Sholay was more  about  Gabbar Singh(Amjad Khan) and  Thakur(Sanjeev Kumar).

Any  unfulfilled dreams?

Dharmendra: None at  all.Bhagwan  ka diya hua  sab kuch hai. Most of all I’ve the love of the audience  for the last 60 years.I consider myself blessed. I am very greedy  in this matter. I want  those who love me  to continue  doing so. I can never  get enough of  their  love.