Dharam Singh Deol or known by his mononymous stage name Dharmendra (born 8 December 1935) is an Indian film actor, producer, and politician. In 1997, he received the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to Hindi cinema.

Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha
In office
Preceded byRameshwar Lal Dudi
Succeeded byArjun Ram Meghwal
Personal details
Dharam Singh Deol

(1935-12-08) 8 December 1935
Nasrali, Punjab, British India
(present-day Punjab, India)
NationalityBritish Indian (1935–1947)
Indian (from 1947)
Political partyBharatiya Janata Party
ChildrenSunny Deol
Bobby Deol
Vijeeta Deol
Ajeeta Deol
Esha Deol
Ahana Deol
Alma materRamgarhia College, Phagwara
OccupationActor, producer, politician
AwardsPadma Bhushan (2012)

He is one of most successful actors in the history of Indian cinema.[2][3] One of his most notable roles was in the 1975 film Sholay.[4]

He was a member of the 14th Lok Sabha of India, representing Bikaner constituency in Rajasthan from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In 2012, he was awarded India's third-highest civilian honour Padma Bhushan by the Government of India.[5]

Early life

Dharmendra was born Dharam Singh Deol[6] in Nasrali, a village in Ludhiana district, Punjab to Kewal Kishan Singh Deol and Satwant Kaur in a Punjabi Jat family,[6][7][8][9] His ancestral village is Dangon, near Pakhowal Tehsil Raikot, Ludhiana.[10]

He spent his early life in the village of Sahnewal and studied at Government Senior Secondary School at Lalton Kalan, Ludhiana, where his father was the village school's headmaster.[11] He did his intermediate studies at Ramgarhia College, Phagwara in 1952.[12] When Dharmendra saw an advertisement for a movie in Filmfare by Bimal Roy and Guru Dutt, he went to Malerkotla to get his picture taken, by Jaan Mohammed (John & Sons). Ref. (The Kapil Sharma Show dated 27 July 2014).


Film actor

Dharmendra won the famous Nationally organized Filmfare magazine's new talent award and went to Mumbai from Punjab, to work in the movie promised, being the award winner, but the movie was never made. He later made his debut with Arjun Hingorani's Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere in 1960.[13][14] He had a supporting role in the film Boy Friend in 1961, and was cast as the romantic interest in several films between 1960 and 1967.

He worked with Nutan in Soorat Aur Seerat (1962), Bandini (1963), Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya (1966) and Dulhan Ek Raat Ki (1967), and with Mala Sinha in Anpadh (1962), Pooja Ke Phool (1964), Ankhein (a very big hit) and Baharen Phir Bhi Aayengi, with Nanda in Akashdeep and with Saira Banu in Shaadi and Ayee Milan Ki Bela (1964). Dharmendra formed a successful pairing with Meena Kumari and shared the screen in 7 films namely Main Bhi Ladki Hoon (1964), Kaajal (1965), Purnima (1965), Phool Aur Patthar (1966), Majhli Didi (1967), Chandan Ka Palna (1967) and Baharon Ki Manzil (1968). He had a solo hero role in Phool Aur Patthar (1966), which was his first action film. It has been speculated for a long time that Meena Kumari and Dharmendra had an intimate relationship in the 1960s.[15][16][17] Meena Kumari helped him to establish himself among the A-listers of that time.[18] Phool Aur Paththar became the highest-grossing film of 1966 and Dharmendra received his first Filmfare nomination for Best Actor.[19] His performance in Anupama was critically acclaimed.[20] He was given a souvenir at the 14th National Film Awards in recognition of his performance in the film.[21] He did romantic roles in films like Aaye Milan Ki Bela, Aaya Sawan Jhoomke, Mere Humdum Mere Dost, Pyaar Hi Pyaar and Jeevan Mrityu. He did suspense thrillers like Shikar, Blackmail, Kab Kyun Aur Kahan and Keemat. He received a Filmfare Best Actor nomination for an action hero role in the 1971 hit film Mera Gaon Mera Desh. Having played romantic as well as action hero parts, he began to be called a versatile actor by 1975.

His most successful pairing was with Hema Malini, who went on to become his wife.[13] The couple played together in many 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. His most notable acting performances include Satyakam with Hrishikesh Mukherjee,[22] 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 1976–84, 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. Along with Rajesh Khanna he acted in Tinku, Rajput and Dharm Aur Qanoon, all of which became hits, however their last film in cameo appearance together; Mohabbat Ki Kasam (1986) was a flop.[23] He worked with Jeetendra in Dharmveer, Samraat, Burning Train, Jaan Hatheli Pe, Kinara, Dharam Karma and Nafrat Ki Aandhi. He also played con man or gangster in Shalimar, Qayamat, Jaan Hatheli Pe, Jhuta Sach, Sitamgar, Professor Pyarelal and Phandebaaz.

He has worked with various directors, each with a different style of film-making.[24] His longest collaboration was with director Arjun Hingorani from 1960–91. 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.[25][26] They worked together in Kab? Kyoon? Aur Kahan?, Kahani Kismat Ki, Khel Khilari Ka, Katilon Ke Kaatil and Kaun Kare Kurbanie where Arjun Hingorani was the producer and the director, and Sultanat and Karishma Kudrat Kaa, produced by Arjun Hingorani. He worked with director Pramod Chakravorty in Naya Zamana, Dream Girl, Azaad and Jugnu. Dharmendra has played dual roles in many films such as Yakeen (1969) as both the hero and the villain, Samadhi (1972) as father and son, Ghazab (1982) as twin brothers, unrelated identical person in Jhuta Sachch and Jeeo Shaan Se (1997) in triple roles.

Dharmendra has worked with all members of the Kapoor family except for Prithviraj and Kareena Kapoor. He has periodically made films in his native tongue of Punjabi, starring in Kankan De Ohle (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 Hindi 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.[27] 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?".[28]

He 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).[29] He was the presenter for his films like Satyakam (1969) and Kab Kyun Aur Kahan (1970). 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).[30]

After a four-year hiatus from acting since 2003, he reappeared in films as a character actor in 2007 in Life in a... Metro and Apne; both films were both critically and commercially successful. In the latter, he appears with both his sons, Sunny and Bobby for the first time.[31] His other release was Johnny Gaddaar, in which he played a villain. In 2011, he starred alongside his sons again in Yamla Pagla Deewana, which was released on 14 January 2011.[32]

A sequel, Yamla Pagla Deewana 2, was released in 2013. He appeared with his daughter Esha Deol in his wife (Hema Malini)'s directorial venture, Tell Me O Khuda in 2011. In 2014, he played a double role in the Punjabi film, Double Di Trouble.[33]


In 2011, Dharmendra replaced Sajid Khan as the male judge of the third series of popular reality show India's Got Talent.[34]

On 29 July 2011, India's Got Talent aired on Colors with Dharmendra as the new judge and surpassed the opening ratings of the previous two seasons.[35]

Film producer

In 1983 Deol set up a production company known as Vijayta Films. In its maiden venture Betaab, released in 1983,Vijayta Films launched Sunny Deol as the lead actor. The movie was the second highest-grossing movie of the year. In 1990 he produced the action film Ghayal, also starring Sunny. The film won seven Filmfare Awards, including the Best Movie Award. It won the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment. Dharmendra then launched the career of his younger son, Bobby, in 1995 in Barsaat.[36]


Dharmendra served as a Member of the Indian Parliament (Lok Sabha) representing Bikaner in Rajasthan from 2004 to 2009 onbehalf of the Bharatiya Janata Party. During his election campaign in 2004, he made an offensive remark that he should be elected Dictator perpetuo to teach "basic etiquette that democracy requires" for which he was severely criticized.[37] He 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.[38]

Personal life

Dharmendra's first marriage was to Parkash Kaur at the age of 19 in 1954. From his first marriage, he has two sons, Sunny and Bobby, successful actors, and two daughters, Vijeeta and Ajeeta. He has seven grandchildren.

After moving to Bombay and getting into the film business, Dharmendra married Hema Malini after allegedly converting to Islam to stay married to his first wife without having to get a divorce,[39] although he later denied any conversion to Islam.[40] He and Malini starred together in a number of movies in the early 1970s including the superhit film, Sholay.[41] The couple has two daughters, Esha Deol and Ahana Deol.

Dharmendra was a great fan of the famous singer actress Suraiya. He is said to have watched her film 'Dillagi' (1949) 40 times, after having to walk several miles on foot in his hometown Sahnewal to go to the nearest cinema hall. He also attended her funeral, when she died in 2004, when most actors gave the occasion a miss.[42][43][44][45]

Dharmendra's grandson and son of Bobby Deol, is also named "Dharam Singh Deol" after Dharmendra,.[46]


Civilian award

National Film Awards

Filmfare Awards


Other awards and recognitions

  • In the mid-seventies, Dharmendra was voted one of the most handsome men in the world.[48]
  • He has received the World Iron Man award.[49]
  • He received a Special Award for his "contribution in Indian Cinema" at the Kalakar Awards.
  • He is a recipient of the prestigious "Living Legend Award" by the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the Indian entertainment industry.[50]
  • In 2003 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Sansui Viewers' Choice Movie Awards.[51]
  • In 2004, he was honoured for Best Contribution to Indian Cinema.[52]
  • In 2005, he received the Zee Cine Award for Lifetime Achievement
  • In 2007, he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Pune International Film Festival (PIFF)
  • In 2007, he received an IIFA Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • In 2007, he received an award for Humanitarian Services to the Indian Nation.[53]
  • In 2007, he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement award by DBR Entertainment.[54]
  • In 2007, the Punjabi newspaper Quami Ekta honoured him for his contributions to the Indian cinema.[54]
  • In 2008, he was named "Actor Par Excellence" at the Max Stardust Awards.
  • In 2008, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 10th Mumbai Academy of the Moving Image (MAMI) International Film Festival.[55]
  • In 2009, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Nashik International Film Festival (NIFF).[56]
  • In 2010, he was honoured as the Big Star Entertainer for his half-century of excellence at the BIG Star Entertainment Awards.[57]
  • In 2011, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Apsara Film & Television Producers Guild Award.
  • In 2011, he received a "Salaam Maharashtra Award" for completing 50 years in the film industry.
  • In 2011, he was honoured with "The ITA Scroll Of Honour" at the Indian Television Academy Awards.<ref>"Amitabh, Dharmendra honoured at Indian Television Awards". New Delhi: Hintustantimes. 26 September 2011. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2011.</


Latest films

Year Title Role Notes
2007ApneBaldev Singh
Johnny GaddaarSheshadri
Om Shanti OmHimselfHimself in song Deewangi Deewangi
2011Yamla Pagla DeewanaDharam SinghFirst instalment of the Yamla Pagla Deewana film series
Tell Me O Kkhuda
2013Yamla Pagla Deewana 2Dharam SinghSecond instalment of the Yamla Pagla Deewana film series
Singh Saab The Great HimselfCameo in the song Daaru Band Kal Se
2014 Double Di TroubleAjit/Manjit (Double Role)With Gippy Grewal
2015 Second Hand HusbandAjit SinghWith Gippy Grewal
2018Yamla Pagla Deewana: Phir SeJaywant ParmarThird instalment of the Yamla Pagla Deewana film series


Year Film Notes
1983 Betaab Debut of Dharmendra's eldest son Sunny Deol
1990 Ghayal National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment

Filmfare Award for Best Movie

1995 Barsaat Debut of Dharmendra's younger son Bobby Deol
1999 Dillagi Sunny Deol's directorial debut
2001 Indian
2002 23rd March 1931: Shaheed
2005 Socha Na Tha Debut of Dharmendra's nephew Abhay Deol
2008 Chamku
2013 Yamla Pagla Deewana 2
2016 Ghayal Once Again
2019 Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas Debut of Dharmendra's eldest grandson Karan Deol (Sunny Deol's son)

See also


  1. "Hema Malini on 35th wedding anniversary" (Mid–day.com). Mid Day. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  2. "Decoding Dharmendra: 6 Blockbusters, 7 Super Hits & 36 Hits Defines The He-Man Of Bollywood!". koimoi.com. 11 May 2018. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  3. "Breaking Day One Records - Hrithik Roshan Fifth Time With War". 4 October 2019. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  4. "Top Box Office Draws of Indian Cinema". Ibosnetwork,com. Retrieved 20 November 2010.
  5. "Padma Awards". pib. 27 January 2013. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  6. "Watch In Conversation with The Deols". 13 November 2012. BBC Asian Network. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  7. "thedeols". Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
  8. Sumbly, Vimal (4 January 2002). "Dharmendra walks down memory lane". Ludhiana Tribune. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  9. Kashyap, Archita (27 June 2015). "I am a farmer's son: Dharmendra". The Hindu. Retrieved 3 November 2019.
  10. "Dharmendra nostalgic on visiting Dangon". Ludhiana Tribune. 6 November 2013. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  11. Sumbly, Vimal (2 May 2004). "From Ludhiana to Bikaner in support of Dharmendra". Ludhiana Tribune. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  12. "Affidavit". Chief Electoral Officer, Rajasthan. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  13. "Dharmendra – Action King: Romantic hero". The Indian Express. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
  14. Ranjana Das Gupta (4 November 2010). "My First Break: Dharmendra". The Hindu. Chennai, India. Retrieved 8 December 2011.
  15. Mishra, Vijay (2002). Bollywood cinema : temples of desire. London: Routledge. p. xvi. ISBN 978-0415930154. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  16. Pal, Chandrima (15 August 2013). "Men who loved and left Meena Kumari". Mumbai Mirror. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  17. Jha, Subhash K (2006). The essential guide to Bollywood. New Delhi: Lustre Press. p. 1966. ISBN 978-8174363787. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  18. Mehta 2016, p. 1949.
  19. "Dharmendra charms the Big Apple". Rediff. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  20. "Hema Malini 35th marriage anniversary" (Post.jagran.com). Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  21. "Film awards presented". The Indian Express. Press Trust of India. 11 October 1967. p. 7.
  22. Dinesh Raheja. "Satyakam: Dharmendra's best role of his career". rediff.com. Rediff. Retrieved 23 December 2010.
  23. "That's Entertainment". The Times of India. 5 September 1986. p. 3.
  24. "Dharmendra – Action King: Comic leanings". The Royale. Archived from the original on 10 September 2018. Retrieved 23 December 2010.
  25. "Director Arjun Hingorani who introduced Sadhana and Dharmendra dies at 92".
  26. Joshi, Sumit. Bollywood Through Ages. Best Book Reads.
  27. "The real stars of Bollywood". Rediff. 11 March 2004. Retrieved 23 December 2010.
  28. "I was the Salman Khan of my days: Dharmendra". The Financial Express. 28 July 2009. Retrieved 23 December 2010.
  29. "Initial roadblocks were blessing in disguise: Abhay Deol". The Indian Express. 2 August 2010. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
  30. Lambok Nongspung (1 November 2007). "Preity, Dharmendra in Shillong". Rediff. Retrieved 20 January 2011.
  31. "'It's good that I did not get any award'". Rediff. Retrieved 23 December 2010.
  32. "Yamla Pagla Deewana highlights". One India. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  33. Lalwani, Vickey (9 October 2013). "Dharmendra is all set to play a double role". The Times of India. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  34. "Bollywood's lucky for TV". The Indian Express. Retrieved 5 August 2011.
  35. "Dharmendra fetches higher ratings for India's has Got Talent-3". The Times of India. 4 August 2011. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  36. "Dharmendra (I)". Internet Movie Database profile. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
  37. "Congress makes Dharam garam". Rediff. 23 April 2004. Retrieved 23 December 2010.
  38. "Dharmendra – Action King: Political career". The Indian Express. Retrieved 23 December 2010.
  39. "Celebrities who converted to Islam". The Times of India. Retrieved 23 August 2015.
  40. "Dharmendra or "Dilawar Khan?"". Milli Gazette. 30 June 2004. Retrieved 18 June 2016. When his political rivals brought the issue to the notice of election authorities and the general public, he denied his conversion to Islam and change of name.
  41. "Dharmendra – Action King: Personal life". The Indian Express. Archived from the original on 26 January 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  42. "The Legend That Was Suraiya – Uday India". 29 January 2011. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  43. "23 Questions for Suraiya". cineplot.com. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  44. "He-man of the Golden Era, Dharmendra & his love for "Dillagi". (Did You Know – 15)". www.bobbytalkscinema.com. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  45. "Dharmendra watched Suraiya's film 40 times?". IMDb. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  46. Internet is sruching after Bobby Deol's son, NDTV, 29 Jan 2019.
  47. "Padma Awards2012". pib. 27 January 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  48. Koimoi.com Team. "Dacoit To Con Man: Dharmendra Posters On His Birthday!". Koimoi.com. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
  49. "Top ten action heroes of Bollywood". filmyworld.com. Retrieved 6 August 2011.
  50. Rangaraj, R. (14 March 2007). "FICCI-Frames award for Kamal Haasan". Channai Online. Archived from the original on 23 October 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2009.
  51. "Devdas sweeps movie awards". The Statesman. 29 March 2003.
  52. "Hrithik, Urmila win top honours at Zee awards ceremony". Daily Express. 27 February 2004.
  53. "Dharmendra gets an award – Sunday TOI". The Times of India. 16 December 2007. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
  54. "'Garam Dharam' still a hit with fans in US, Canada". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 6 July 2007. Retrieved 2 January 2009.
  55. "Dharmendra, Rishi Kapoor win at 10th M.A.M.I event". IBOS. 14 March 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2009.
  56. "Dharamendra, Asha Parekh get lifetime achievement award". The Indian Express. 3 August 2009. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
  57. Kalyani Prasad Keshri. "Dabangg bags 5 Big Star Entertainment Awards". One India. Retrieved 22 December 2010.
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