Last Updated: February 26, 2015, 22:41 IST
<img class="size-full wp-image-779205" src="http://revamp.ibnlive.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/ypd316.jpg" alt="On Dharmendra's 75th birthday, we give a few little known facts about the affable actor…Dharmendra was married at the age of 19 when he got into films. Before joining films, he was working with a drilling company. Dharmendra had a lot of struggling to do before he got a break, with Arjun Hingorani%u2019s Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere.
Text by Shubha Shetty-Saha, Picture courtesy: Film stills, Yogen Shah On Dharmendra's 75th birthday, we give a few little known facts about the affable actor...Dharmendra was married at the age of 19 when he got into films. Before joining films, he was working with a drilling company. Dharmendra had a lot of struggling to do before he got a break, with Arjun Hingorani%u2019s Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere. Text by Shubha Shetty-Saha, Picture courtesy: Film stills, Yogen Shah
Dharmendra has always been a great fan of yesteryear actress Suraiya. He has watched her film, Dillagi, at least 40 times.
Most of his roles were action oriented because of his big built. He was even nick named the He-man. It was Hrishikesh Mukherjee who realised his true potential and dared to cast him in soft roles in films like Anupama, Satyakam, Chaitali etc. And he excelled in them. Who can forget the poet enacting the soulful song 'Ya dil ki suno… in Anupama or the hot blooded patriot Satyapriya in Satyakam?
It is said that Dharmendra was so broke that after the premiere of his first film, where he went largely unrecognised, he had to take a train back home. His first salary was Rs 51 with breakfast every morning.
Dharmendra’s first negative role was as the main villain in Aayi Milan Ki Bela in 1964. Though the film had Rajendra Kumar playing the positive character, it was Dharmendra who walked away with a lot of accolades.
Dharmendra converted to Islam in 1979, changed his name to Dilawar Khan to be able to marry Hema Malini as his first wife was not ready to grant him divorce.
Dharmendra was offered to play Veeru but apparently wanted to play Thakur Baldev Singh in Sholay. But when he heard that in that case Sanjeev Kumar will play Veeru and get to romance Hema Malini, he quickly went back to playing Veeru. Sanjeev Kumar had apparently expressed his love for Hema Malini earlier.
Veteran actor Dilip Kumar called Dharmendra 'the handsomest man on earth'Bhagwan ne ise bahut fursat se banaaya hai", he had said.
Dharmendra's comic timing is so flawless that it is said that if he was not so good looking and offered lead roles, he would have definitely succeed as a comedian like Mehmood.
Dharmendra almost played Devdas, when Gulzar was planning to make a movie on this famous novel. Hema Malini was to play Paro and Sharmila Tagore, Chandramukhi. The film got shelved, apparently due to lack of funds.