Bollywood star Dharmendra has a legacy spanning six decades in the Hindi film industry. Often referred to as the most handsome leading man that the industry ever witnessed, he had his own parallel stardom unhindered even surviving the mass hysteria caused by Rajesh Khanna and then Amitabh Bachchan. The late Dilip Kumar is once believed to have said that if he ever met God, the one question he would ask God was why wasn’t he made as handsome as Dharmendra. The senior Deol is celebrating his 87th birthday on December 8 and on that occasion, let us visit a certain incident in his life from his struggling days when he had decided to call it quits and return home.
As the national winner of the Filmfare magazine’s new talent award, Dharmendra travelled from Punjab to Mumbai to work on the movie that was supposed to be made for the winner, but that never happened. The movie was never made, which left him disappointed and a new struggle in an unknown city began.
According to media reports, when Dharmendra was trying his luck in Mumbai after his promised film failed to take off, he met would-be actor Manoj Kumar in those days. Both were on the same path, so a friendship blossomed. Dharmendra and Manoj Kumar were roommates during their struggling times in Mumbai. Manoj Kumar would manage their expenses by working as a ghostwriter.
At one point, Dharmendra decided to quit his struggle and return to Punjab, giving up on his dreams of being an actor. However, he was then encouraged and pepped up by Manoj Kumar to keep trying.
Manoj Kumar got an offer for the film Kaanch Ki Gudia in 1960. He persuaded Dharmendra to stay for another month since the new offer brought in the inflow of cash. Dharmendra accepted and it paid off. Within a week, Dharmendra got his first break. He made his debut with Arjun Hingorani’s Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere in the same year, and the rest is history.
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