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Art is not a luxury, but a necessity.

Dreams Do What They Feel Without Thinking Whether The Dreamer Is A Struggler Or A He-Man Like Dharmendra


Ali Peter John

Sometimes I wonder what this world of Hindi films (or any other world) would do or be without dreamers. Some of the greatest empires and institutions have been built on the foundation of dreams built by men and women who never gave up their dreams, whatever the hurdles that came in their ways. And one of the most outstanding examples of a dreamer who came to Bombay armed only with his dreams and waded his way through cyclones, hurricanes and typhoons was Dharmendra Singh Deol, a driller working in the quarries of Sahnewal in Punjab, who had to see just two films of Dilip Kumar to make up his mind that he too would be an actor one day and he never stopped dreaming of his goal, till he packed up his bag and took a train to Bombay to chase his dream in the city of dreams.

The going was tough and he sometimes even felt like running back to home to Sahnewal, but his dream had decided to stay with him till he fulfilled his dream.

He finally met his dream face to face, they shook hands and decided to walk together till the end of time. They kept their promise made to each other and his dream led him to unprecedented success, he was one of the most popular and loved stars for 50 years and more, he was a farmer-king who had built a palace of his own where he lived with his family, which included his wife, Prakash, his sons, Sunny and Bobby and two daughters. The young man who was brought up in a very orthodox and traditional Indian family, broke all customs and traditions and married his leading lady of eighteen films, Hema Malini, from whom they had two daughters, Esha and Ahana. He had an inspired fling with politics and contested the elections on a BJP ticket from Bhikaner in Rajasthan and won with a thumping majority, but washed his hands-off politics for good saying that it was not the game for him to play.

His career as a leading man was coming to a close after more than 60 years and he took to producing his own films, with his sons playing heroes with him, which was another dream fulfilled for him, but he was not finding the satisfaction he wanted with the films produced under his banner, Vijayta Films.

He had another favourite dream and that was to return to his original role of the son of the soil. He shifted to his farm in Khandala and started a new life as a farmer who grew his own wheat, vegetables and fruits of every kind. He also got back to writing poetry in Urdu and was writing the kind of poetry some of the greatest poets could envy and appreciate.

He was still a dreamer at 84. He wanted the products of his farm to benefit the common man. He first started a dhaba on the Punjab-Chandigarh highway and called it the “Garam Dharam Dhaba”. It did very well, especially because those who visited the dhaba knew that he was supervising the working of the  dhaba and that the vegetables and fruits came from his own farm.

The success of this dhaba inspired garam Dharam to start another dhaba called the “He-Man Dhaba”, which he himself inaugurated on February 14th, Valentine’s Day. This dhaba too took off to a flying start. But this dream had to face very heavy hurdles when the Karnal Vikas Nigam found out that there was a case of encroachment on land and one morning without letting Dharam know, the authorities swooped on the dhaba, asked all the customers to leave and sealed all the three entrances and by the time Dharam could know what had happened, the damage had already been done.

If this kind of a scene would have happened in one of the early films of Dharam, I can imagine how he would have fought back with his fiery fists, but this is a scene from real life and we have to wait and see how Dharam fights back. Of one thing, I am sure Dharamji will not take it lightly and will see to it that his dream dhaba is given back the glory he had built it, with all his love and the pride of a genuine son of the soil.


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