Saturday, February 2, 2019

Dharmendra: A Biography: Not Just a He-Man by Rajiv M. Vijayakar - A Book Review

We usually don't read/review biographies, we have done some memoirs time to time, but biographies are still less preferred. Recently we started taking interest in Bollywood - movies, and actor related books. During one such hunch, we were reading "The Legends of Bollywood" by Raaj Grover which was a compilation of various legends of Bollywood. In that book, 15-20 pages were dedicated to Dharmendra and I liked whatever information was given about the star in that book. That short description was not enough for the legend, so when the opportunity arose to read a dedicated book on the star (that to his Biography) we jumped for it.

Book Blurb
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.
Before we go to the content, let me tell you if you are looking for a book that can give distinctive view to your shelf/table/compartment then this book is a perfect choice. It is hardbound, with a wonderful cover picture of the actor. The book contains some legendary pictures of the actor with different cast & crew. A perfect gift material to a movie buff. 

The content of the book is designed in a semi-structural way. By semi-structural I mean, though the author has started with how Dharamji's life started from Dharminder to Dharmendra, at every stage, few important characters were quoted in narration along with their recent / after star era of Dharmendra. The book takes you through how he got succeeded in his second attempt (almost after 5-6 years of previous struggle) through talent contest. Then comes era when he started working with that eras legends as side role or second lead. His innocent and humble nature has won hearts then and it is still true today. Authors second inning with Apne and continuous devotion to a greater cause (keep working in subline movies to help families dependent on him) touched my heart.

I know 300 pages are still not enough to describe Dharamji. But I would say the author has done commendable efforts to bring information from various sources and to compile it into an interesting narration. 

A-must-have-copy for the movie buff. Ratings
  1. Cover - 4.5/5
  2. Content -4/5
  3. Overall 4/5 
Book can be found at Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

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