, Punjab, India
Dharam Singh Deol better known as Dharmendra, is a Hindi film actor. In 1997, he received the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to Hindi cinema. His starring roles in action films earned him nicknames such as "Action King" and "He-Man".One of his most notable roles was in Sholay (1975). He has also been a member of the 14th Lok Sabha of India, representing Bikaner constituency in Rajasthan from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In 2012, he was honoured India's third highest civilan honour Padma Bhushan by the Government of India.
Dharmendra was born in a Punjabi Sikh Jat family in Punjab state to Kewal Kishan Singh Deol and Satwant Kaur. He spent his early life in village Sahnewal and study at Government Senior Secondary School at lalton kalan. His father was a school headmaster in the village of Lalton Kalan Ludhiana, the family later moved to Mumbai .
Dharmendra won the Filmfare new talent award and came to Mumbai from Punjab looking for work. He made his debut with Arjun Hingorani's Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere (1960), after which he got supporting roles in the film Boy Friend (1961) and was cast as the romantic interest in several woman oriented films from 1960-1967, where the story revolved around the heroine's character and, he was usually cast as a romantic hero opposite senior established leading actress of the time and later, from 1974 onwards, as an action hero. He worked in heroine oriented films like - with Nutan in Soorat Aur Seerat (1962), Bandini (1963),Dulhan Ek Raat Ki, Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya (1966) and then with Mala Sinha in Anpadh (1962), Pooja Ke Phool (1964), Neelaakash(1965), Baharen Phir Bhi Aayengi, with Nanda in Akashdeep, with Saira Banu in Shaadi and Ayee Milan Ki Bela (1964) and with Meena Kumari in Main Bhi Ladki Hoon (1964), Kaajal (1965), Poornima (1965), Phool Aur Paththar (1966), Chandan Ka Palna, Baharaon Ki Manzil .
His major breakthrough was playing supporting role to hero Rajendra Kumar in Aaye Milan Ki Bela, where his character was negative and supporting role in patriotic film Haqeeqat (1964) and playing romantic interest in woman oriented films from 1960-1967 and playing supporting roles to Balraj Sahni, Ashok Kumar, Biswajit in some films from 1960-67 like Soorat Aur Seerat, Bandini, Mamta, Ghar Ka Chirag. He got solo hero stardom with the blockbuster, Phool Aur Patthar (1966), which was his first action film but he became established action hero from 1971 film Mera Gaon Mera Desh. Phool Aur Paththar became the highest grossing film of 1966 and Dharmendra received his first Filmfare nomination for Best Actor. His performance in Anupama was critically acclaimed. His films opposite Nutan, Meena Kumari, Nanda, Sadhana, Rajshree, Waheeda Rehman between 1962-1968 were not commercially successful. He established himself as a successful solo romantic hero with hits only in the years 1968-69 like Izzat, Mere Hamdam Mere Dost, Ankhen, Pyar Hi Pyar, Aya Sawan Jhoom Ke and multi-star Shikar, Aadmi Aur Insaan. His on-screen chemistry with actresses including Meena Kumari, Mala Sinha, Saira Banu, Sharmila Tagore, Asha Parekh, Parveen Babi, Hema Malini, Reena Roy, Jaya Prada and Anita Raj were appreciated by critics and audiences. He acquired image of action hero between 1972-73 with success of films like Pramod Chakravorty's Jugnu, Vijay Anand’s Blackmail, Ramanand Sagar’s Lalkar, Ravee Nagaich's Keemat, Nasir Husain’s Yadoan Ki Baraat and Harmesh Malhotra’s Patthar Aur Payal. He having acted in woman oriented films as a supporting actor from 1960–68 and having achieved success in romantic films from 1968–71 and also in action films from 1971-1974, began to be called a versatile actor by 1975. His comic timing in comedy films like Tum Haseen Main Jawan, Do Chor, Chupke Chupke, Dillagi, Naukar Biwi Ka were appreciated.
His most successful pairing was with Hema Malini, who went on to become his future wife. The couple played together in a large number of films, including Raja Jani, Seeta Aur Geeta, Sharafat, Naya Zamana, Patthar Aur Payal, Tum Haseen Main Jawaan, Jugnu, Dost, Charas, Maa, Chacha Bhatija, Azaad, and Sholay.
Dharmendra's most notable acting performances include Satyakam with Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Sholay, which is listed by Indiatimes as one of the "Top 25 must see Bollywood films of all time". In 2005, the judges of the 50th annual Filmfare Awards awarded Sholay the special distinction of Filmfare Best Film of 50 Years.
Dharmendra went on to star in a number of action films between 1976 and 1984, including Dharam Veer, Charas, Azaad, Katilon Ke Kaatil, Ghazab, Rajput, Bhagawat, Jaani Dost, Dharm Aur Qanoon, Main Intequam Loonga, Jeene Nahi Doonga, Hukumat, and Raaj Tilak.
He has worked with various directors, each having different styles in their film-making: Bimal Roy, Mohan Kumar, Dulal Guha, Ramanand Sagar in drama films, Raghunath Jhalani, Bhappi Sonie, Brij, Mohan Segal in romance films, Raj Khosla, Ramesh Sippy, Arjun Hingorani, Anil Sharma, K.C.Bokadia, J.P. Dutta, T. Rama Rao, Rama Rao Tatineni, Raj Sippy, K. Bapaiah, Rajkumar Santoshi in action films and Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Basu Chatterjee and Rajkumar Kohli in comedy films. However his most successful and longest collaboration was with director Arjun Hingorani from 1960-1991.
Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere was the debut film of Dharmendra as an actor and Arjun’s first directorial venture with Dharmendra as the lead hero. They together worked in 4 hits - Kab? Kyoon? Aur Kahan?, Kahani Kismat Ki, Khel Khiladi Ka, Katilon Ke Kaatil where Arjun was the producer and the director but their last film together Kaun Kare Kurbanie in 1991 flopped badly. Furthur Arjun produced 2 films where he was not the director but only the producer and Dharmendra was the hero - Sultanat and Karishma Kudrat Ka – both of which flopped. His other successful association was with director Pramod Chakravarthy with whom all his 4 ventures were box-office success each belonging to different genre – drama in Naya Zamana, romance in Dream Girl, action in Azaad and Jugnu.
Dharmendra also has the distinction of appearing in several films opposite actresses who have also starred opposite his son Sunny Deol. Notable among those are Sridevi in Naaka Bandi, Jaya Prada in Elaan-E-Jung, Dimple Kapadia in Shehzaade, Amrita Singh in Sachai Ki Taaqat, Kimi Katkar in Humlaa and Poonam Dhillon in Sone Pe Suhaaga. He has worked with whole of Kapoor family except for Prithviraj and Kareena Kapoor. He worked with Raj Kapoor in Mera Naam Joker, with Rishi Kapoor in Sitamgar,Katilol Ka Katil, Hathyar, Sher Dil and with Rajiv Kapoor in Zalzala, with Karishma in Maidan-E-Jung, with Shammi Kapoor in Boyfriend, Mast Kalander, Khule-Aam, and with Shashi in Krodhi, with Randhir in Chacha Bhatija, Karan Kapoor- Sultanat and Loha and with Neetu Singh in Aaina. The famous scene of Deewar where character Vijay(Amitabh) locks the door and throws away the key to beat up many goons was first done by Dharmendra in Kahani Kismat Ki.
He has also periodically made films in his native tongue of Punjabi, starring in Kankan De Ole (Special Appearance) (1970 ), Do Sher (1974), Dukh Bhanjan Tera Naam (1974), Teri Meri Ik Jindri (1975), Putt Jattan De (1982) and Qurbani Jatt Di (1990). Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, he continued to appear in many other films in both leading and supporting roles. In 1997, he received the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award. While accepting the award from Dilip Kumar and his wife Saira Banu, Dharmendra became emotional and remarked that he had never won any Filmfare award in the Best Actor category despite having worked in so many successful films and nearly a hundred popular movies. He was glad that his contributions had finally been recognized. Speaking on this occasion Dilip Kumar commented, "Whenever I get to meet with God Almighty I will set before Him my only complaint - why did You not make me as handsome as Dharmendra?".
Dharmendra has experimented with film production; he launched both of his sons in films: Sunny Deol in Betaab (1983) and Bobby Deol in Barsaat (1995) as well as his nephew Abhay Deol in Socha Na Tha (2005). He was the presenter for his films like Satyakam(1969) and Kab Kyun Aur Kahan(1970). Among the other fans he is the idol of lots of idols. In one of her interviews, actress Preity Zinta has been quoted as saying that Dharmendra is her favourite actor. She recommended him to play her father's role in Har Pal (2008). Actor Salman Khan also always recommended himself as his biggest fan and they worked together in "Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya".
After 4 year hiatus from acting since 2003, he is reappearing in films as a character actor from 2007. His 2007 films Life in a... Metro and Apne were both critically and commercially successful at the box office. In the latter, he appears with both his sons, Sunny and Bobby for the first time. His other release was Johnny Gaddaar, where he played a villainous role. His latest film Yamla Pagla Deewana co-starring his sons Sunny and Bobby was released on 14 January 2011.
Dharmendra has also been active in politics. He was elected as a Member of the Parliament in the 2004 general elections, from Bikaner in Rajasthan, on a Bharatiya Janata Party ticket. During his election campaign, he made an ironic remark that he should be elected Dictator perpetuo to teach "basic etiquette that democracy requires" for which he was severely criticized. Dharmendra rarely attended Parliament when the house was in session, preferring to spend the time shooting for movies or doing farm-work at his farm house.
In 1983 Deol set up a production company known as Vijayta Films. Its first film was Betaab. The film was released in 1983, starring his son Sunny Deol as the lead actor in his debut movie. The film was a blockbuster. In 1990 he produced the action flick Ghayal, starring his son Sunny Deol. The film won seven Filmfare Awards, including the Best Movie Award. It also won National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment. Dharmendra also launched his younger son Bobby Deol in 1995 through Barsaat and his nephew Abhay Deol in 2005 through Socha Na Tha.
Dharmendra's first marriage was to Prakash Kaur at the age of 19 in 1954. From his first marriage, he has two sons, Sunny Deol and Bobby Deol both successful actors, and two daughters,Vijeeta Deol and Ajeeta Deol.
Dharmendra fell in love with Hema Malini during the filming of Sholay. She eventually married him in 1980. The couple has two daughters, Esha Deol and Ahana Deol, both of whom are actresses.