The iconic star actor Dharmendra, who turned 85 on December 8, says there is no reason to celebrate his birthday this year. “Our country and civilization at large are going through the worst possible crisis, no thanks to Covid-19 and recession. 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,” said Dharmendra.
Dharmendra, who started his career as an actor in 1960, looks back with tremendous satisfaction. He says, “I’ve worked with the best directors and co-stars. When I came into the film industry, I knew nobody and the only actor I hero-worshipped was Dilip Kumar Saab. When I met him in person, it was the proudest moment in my life.”
Which among his films are his favourites? “Oh, there are so many. Off-hand, I am very fond of Satyakam, Anupama, Devar, Phool Aur Patthar, Naya Zamana, Sholay, Dost and Pratiggya. 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 lots of emotions and drama.I had to make people laugh all the way. But there was an undercurrent of emotions. It was a challenge. And people loved me in it. Though Satyakam is one of its own kind, my all-time favourite film is Pratiggya directed by Dulal Guha. It came during the same year 1975 as Sholay, so it went eclipsed. But let me tell you, Pratiggya was a super hit in spite of competition from Sholay. Just as in 1971 when Naya Zamana clicked in spite of 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,” said the veteran.
Dharamji feels he has much to be thankful for as he concludes, “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. 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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