Veteran Bollywood actor Dharmendra. Photograph:( Zee News Network )
The legendary prolific superstar Dharmendra has never worked with Karan Johar and Dharma Production before-until now.
The legendary prolific superstar Dharmendra has never worked with Karan Johar and Dharma Production before- until now. He will be seen in a pivotal role in Karan Johar’s next directorial 'Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani'.
Speaking exclusively to this writer, Dharmendra, who in his distinguished career has worked with the greatest of directors including Bimal Roy, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Asit Sen, Raj Kapoor and Ramesh Sippy says, “Karan has offered me a fantastic role. It not only suits my age and image, but it is also the kind of lovable character that my fans like to see me play.”
The original he-man of Hindi screen reveals his audience doesn’t like him in grey roles. “I played grey just once in 'Ayee Milan Ki Bela'. Mere chahne walon ko achcha nahin laga(my fans didn’t like it). From then onwards I have avoided dark negative roles. My character in Karan’s film is a man everybody will love.”
What’s more, Dharamji has worked with the most spectacular range of heroines from Nutan, Suchitra Sen, Jayalalitha(yes, the late chief minister of TN) to Waheeda Rehman. Asha Parekh, Sharmila Tagore and Hema Malini, says he’s overjoyed to reunite with two of his favourite co-stars in Karan Johar’s film. “I’ve worked with Jaya Bachchan and Shabana Azmi before. I was the leading man in Jaya’s first film 'Guddi', and then we worked together in 'Samadhi' and 'Sholay'. In 'Sholay', I didn’t have many scenes with her. But during its shooting, I spent a lot of fun times with Amit and Jaya.”
As for Shabana, Dharamji lights up. “We did a film together called 'Mardon Wali Baat' directed by a really good man Brij Sadanah. We were supposed to do another film 'Bichchoo' together. It was a lovely subject to be directed by Sai Paranjpye. Sadly it never took off. Now, look at destiny! We’re going to work together in Karan’s film.”
So which of the two ladies is he paired with? Dharamji won’t say. “You will have to wait for the film to know what exactly I play and the relationship I share with these two beautiful actresses. All I can say is, I’ve never played a character like this before.”
He is also looking forward to working with the young cast of 'Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani'. “Ranveer is full of energy and so talented. And Alia, bahot hi pyari bachchi hai. It will be good to work with stars of the new generation. Karan’s entire team is fresh enthusiastic and raring to go. I can’t wait.”
Before I bid this dear man adieu I ask him why he never worked with Karan Johar before.
Dharamji answers, “That is irrelevant. What is relevant is that we are working together now, and I promise you it will be a film my well-wishers and fans will like. I’ve always been hungry for the love of the people. Luckily for me, I’ve always received an abundance of love. The more I received the more I craved for it. To this day I am that boy from the village in Punjab who came to Mumbai with stars in his eyes and a heart craving for love.”