The handsomest ever actor on the Indian screen in his prime, Dharmendra is a legend in the history of Hindi cinema. Back in the ’70s Dharmendra was considered one of the best looking men in the world. So much so, put him in a tailored suit and you’d have competition for Sean Connery and Paul Newman.
But Dharmendra’s real feat is more impressive than his looks. He’s survived showbiz and he’s survived superstars. He started his career in 1960 and had to deal with the mercurial rise of Shammi Kapoor. In the ’60s, he had to contend with Rajendra ‘Jubilee’ Kumar as well. Come 1969 he lived and thrived in the shadow of the Rajesh Khanna phenomenon. And just before he could stake claim to the marquee crown in the early ’70s, came the angry young man Amitabh Bachchan. Having said that, despite not carrying favours from the media or the critics, Dharmendra became the industry’s favourite leading man. He earned the epithet of ‘bankable star’ because his films, no matter how loosely crafted, earned the proverbial big bucks. Once a handsome hunk and romantic star, Dharam transformed into an action icon in the ’80s and the ’90s. And they started calling him He-Man.