'I see myself as a protective father'

Iron Man

One can see Dharmendra dance with his sons with full energy in their upcoming comedy Yamla Pagla Deewana and the veteran actor, like a mischievous kid, says he reflects the popular saying — ‘Horses and men never grow old’.

Having tried an emotional drama with Apne, Dharmendra felt it was high time the family did a comedy. And it was the search of a good script that took them so long to work on one. “People have always seen us as a bunch of serious, big, muscular guys who only like action. So through this film, we want to show a whole new side of us. That’s why I like to call this film a muscular comedy,” he laughs.

Even at 75, Dharmendra has no qualms admitting that he still has a lot to learn from the industry. Dancing is one challenge he still faces and he wonders out loud as to why the audience keeps asking for more of dance. “Everytime I have to dance, I see a huge tiger in front of me. I feel that I have to kill it otherwise it will kill me,” says the jovial actor.       

While he stayed aloof on sets working with sons Sunny and Bobby Deol, it was just the opposite when it came to working with daughter Esha Deol. “I see myself as a protective father especially when it comes to girls. I never wanted Esha to enter films as I didn’t want her to feel the pressure of the industry.

In fact she was so good at football in college, I wanted her to be an athlete. But she was adamant on being a part of films,” he says. “So far, I have never seen any of her films. Since I am working with her in Hema’s (Malini) Tell Me Oh Khuda, I think I will make an exception.”

While the actor has made a comeback on the silver screen after a long time, he does admit that staying out of movies was unintentional. “This is part and parcel of the industry. I stayed quiet — not like I wanted to — but things, I suppose, were meant to be that way,” says the actor.

But when questioned about his contemporaries like Amitabh Bachchan, he explains, “He has been very media-savvy and kept up with what the generation wants. And being everywhere in advertisements, reality shows etc, has worked for him. At that time, my way of thinking was different but I have no regrets.”

While reminiscing about his chemistry with Big B, Dharmendra slowly moves on to the connection he shares with the City. Having shot for Sholay in Ramnagar, Dharmendra says he used to pass by the City many a time. “I had come to the City in 1961 and instantly fell in love with it. I actually wanted to settle down in Bangalore and even bought a piece of land on Bannerghatta Road. But life had other plans for me,” he signs off.

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