Dharmendra turns 82, today! He was best known for his pairing with his on-screen and off-screen sweetheart, Hema Malini. The pair went on to make some great movies together, let's highlight FOUR of them since they were career-defining moments:
* Seeta Aur Geeta – Amazing portrayls by the duo. Did'nt you love it when Geeta stepped in to beat up the nasty peeps that were tormenting Seeta. When I grew up, I was surprised to note that it was Dharmendra that managed to insert a few layers to his strictly supporting role (this movie is all about the girl and you know it) rather than Sanjeev Kumar.
* Dillagi – A relatively mild movie that has a story of inter-teacher love. It was'nt distasteful and was actually quite engaging. However, Dharam and Hema managed to create some hype with their Ken-Barbie pairing. Dharamendra, in a restrained and underplayed role, displays his comic timing with subtlety and finesse. His rapport with Hema Malini, stood forth to the extent allowed by the script and the story. Hema Malini was an epitome of grace, as she donned a simple and deglamourized avatar, a far cry from her Dream Girl persona. In a role that didn't demand histrionics she is able to shine with it. It was a career defining moment for both as it made them seem quite flexible and experimental with all kinds of scripts and cinema.
* Raja Jani – I guess Hema Malini and Dharmendra were every producer’s dream of what a princess and a prince ought to look like (frequently appearing in those well-known bits of royal attire: net gowns and leather vests) coz that’s the only explanation for the bunch of royalty-based movies that they’ve done. This is part of the early crop and is actually one of the more successful efforts. It was great for the "fantasy" aspect of cinema, where people watched movies just for pure escapism and intrigue.
* Sholay - The most path-breaking movie in Indian cinema. After owning author-backed roles in films like Andaz and Seeta Aur Geeta, Hema was initially reluctant to play the part of Basanti, that had all of five-and-a-half scenes. ‘This isn’t your film. This is Thakur and Gabbar’s film. However, the movie will be very interesting,’ Ramesh told her. Having worked with him closely and knowing all too well what this director was capable of creating, Hema needed no further convincing. Ask anyone from the Sholay team and they will tell you that shooting for this film was, without doubt, one of the most exciting chapters of their lives … one of those phases that seem like an
unbelievable dream in retrospect. As for the couple that was slowly falling in love, the backdrop couldn’t have been more paradisiacal. That Dharmendra was just plain besotted with Hema was known to all in the crew. In love and unafraid to wear his heart on his sleeve, tales of how he wooed her have become quite famous.