The legendary actor Dharmendra who turns a year older today, has no regrets in life…except for one.
“I came this close to playing Devdas . It was a project that I was really keen on. But fate had other plans,” says the iconic actor who confesses to being a huge fan of Bimal Roy’s Devdas.
“The first film that I signed when I came to Mumbai was Bimalda’s Bandini. Imagine what it meant for a boy from Punjab with no connection in the film industry, to be signed by Bimal Roy! I was, and I remain a big fan of Dilip Saab and Bimalda’s Devdas.”
When the opportunity came for Dharmendra to play Devdas in a film directed by Bimal Roy’s disciple Gulzar,the actor grabbed it eagerly.
Launched in 1975 Gulzar’s Devdas was to feature Hema Malini as Paro and Sharmila Tagore as Chandramukhi. In hindsight it seems ironical that Hem, a renowned dancer, was not asked to play Chandramukhi whereas Sharmila Tagore a renowned non-dancer was cast in the role.
Speaking on the Devdas that never got made, Dharmendra says, “I did work with Gulzar in Kinara where I had a guest appearance. But Devdas would have been a unique experience.”
Another role that Dharamji regrets missing out on is Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Anand. “I was very keen to do that role when Hrishida told me about. But he wanted someone else in that role(Rajesh Khanna). Hota hai. I was also offered Zanjeer. You cannot change destiny. I have no regrets in life.”