18 April, 2021

No One Writes To The Prison Doc Anymore

A Jat playing bhadralok? Could it have been that he acted so well that we didn't even notice?

No One Writes To The Prison Doc Anymore

From Dil Bhi Tera, Hum Bhi Tere to Johnny Gaddar, Dharmendra acted in nearly two hundred and fifty films and never won a Filmfare Best Actor award despite being discovered in a Filmfare talent spotting competition. He won a consolation prize, a Lifetime Achievement award in 1997, but the magazine didn't give him one for an individual performance. This couldn't have been because he didn't star in successful films, or didn't turn in celebrated performances. Haqeeqat, Bandini, Phool aur Patthar, Satyakam, Chupke Chupke, Mera Gaon Mera Desh, Seeta aur Geeta and Sholay were outstandingly successful films, made by A-list directors and largely powered by Dharmendra's presence, but he never got the big prize. More interestingly, Dharmendra never got much credit for being an actor, when he was the most reliably good actor-hero in mainstream cinema from 1960 to 1975.

It's worth asking why. Some part of this lack of recognition had to do with the fact that Dharmendra acted in heroine-oriented films in the...

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