“Dharmendra: A Biography: Not Just a He-Man” – Book Review | The Reality of the He-Man..
Author: Rajiv M. Vijayakar
Genre: Biography, Memoir
Number of Pages: 288 pages
A teacher’s son from the hinterlands of Punjab who dreamt of doing what Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand and Raj Kapoor did on screen and expecting to own ‘a flat and a Fiat’ consequently, has emerged as one of the most loved icons of Hindi cinema.
This ever-humble Jat attributes his hard-earned superstardom and global following to parental blessings, the Power Above and the love of the people. It’s been over fifty-five years of blockbusters like Phool Aur Patthar, Mera Gaon Mera Desh, Sholay, Yaadon Ki Baaraat, Pratiggya, Chupke Chupke and Dharam-Veer, with fabulous performances in many of these and notable productions including Satyakam, Betaab and Ghayal.
What’s more, this Padma Bhushan awardee has also dabbled sincerely albeit fruitlessly in politics and writes poetry that comes straight from his heart. There may be a million stars, but there can be only one Dharmendra.
‘Dharmendra’ by Rajiv Vijayakar was a pleasant insight into the world of the He-Man. I do enjoy my share of old Hindi Classics but I can’t say I have watched a lot of Dharmendra movies.. and am nowhere a die-hard fan of the man. All that being said, the Jat Yamla Pagla Deewana of Bollywood was a Golden Boy of the yesteryear.. No matter how less you know about Old Bollywood.. chances are you have come across his famous dialogue “Kuttay, Kaminey.. main tera khoon pee jaoonga” 😀 Probably his most famous dialogue ever.. from the cult 1974 classic Sholay, arguably one of the most popular movies ever made!!
The cover gives a very retro feel and helps one get into the feel of diving back into the golden years of Indian Cinema. The book gives a lot of trivia and tid-bits while chronicling his journey from being the village lad to the superstar that he is rose to become! The one big problem with this was that a lot of information came in randomly and events felt haphazard despite the broadly separated timelines.
I know this is somebody’s reality and must not be judged.. but I totally judged him for a lot of things. Without going into much details, all I will say is that I felt that many things are accepted with a smile on the face and even celebrated because they are famous celebrities and frowned upon when it is a common person. The double standards of the Indian society were glaringly real.
If you are amongst the people who has known and loved this man.. heart and soul, you will enjoy the book.. To others like me, it may appear a little dragging at parts.. but overall it can be a read that will bring you closer to Bollywood. It certainly has increased my To-be-watched list! The book contains his entire filmography – which spans almost 50 pages!!!!!
Rating: 2.5 stars
Are you a big fan of any of the Bollywood yesteryear stars?
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~~I was sent a copy of the book for an honest review. All views expressed here are completely my own~~