Dharmendra has always said that he has received more than he had ever expected, but his greatest regret is his not being able to work with the actor he worshipped, Dilip Kumar, because of whom he decided to be an actor and came to Bombay .His dream to work with his idol almost came true when B.R.Chopra cast Dilip Kumar as Chanakya and Dharmendra as Chandragupta.
Lakhs of rupees were spent on the costumes, make-up and publicity, but the film didn’t go on the floors and Dharmendra was the most disappointed men. He now feels frustrated when he realises that he will never be able to work with Dilip Kumar.
There was a plan to make Devdas with Dharmendra
Dharmendra was to play Devdas in Gulzar’s version of the Sarat Chandra Chatterjee classic, with Sharmila Tagore as Paro and Hema Malini as Chandramukhi .The film was being produced by Kailash Chopra, the younger brother of Prem Chopra and had music by R.D.Burman. It was started and scrapped thrice and then it was given up for good and Dharmendra lost the chance of playing his most challenging role. The shock of the film not being made was so intense that the producer died of a massive heart attack.
Dharmendra was cast opposite Jaya Bhaduri in”Dagdar Babu”which was based on a popular novel by the controversial Hindi writer Phanishwarnata Renu and was to be directed by Nabendu Gosh ,the writer of Bimal Roy’s films like ”Devdas” and ‘Madhumati”, but this film too couldn’t go beyond the launching stage due to financial problems.
Dharmendra was also cast as the leading men of Shabana Azmi in Sai Paranjpye’s ”Bichchoo” which was to be produced by Basu Bhattacharya, but there were problems soon after the film was launched with a grand party at the Sea Rock Hotel (now defunct) and the film was scrapped .
Dharmendra never wanted to be a part of politics, but says that it was circumstances that led him to contest the elections from Bikaner in Rajasthan on a BJP ticket, which he won hands down. But he now says that it was a very bad experience and he had to spend several lakhs of rupees of his own to fulfill the promises made by the party .He said he has nothing about his wife, Hema or his Sunny being an active part of politics, but says, “No politics for me again”
He is very happy to be the head of the Deol family which was once headed by his father who was a simple school teacher. He is also happy that he doesn’t have to face any problems in spite of his having two wives, his children Sunny, Bobby, Esha, Ahaana and his grandchildren.
These days, he spends most of his time working on his farm in Khandala and writing poetry whenever he is inspired, which is most of the time these days. He is still not game to act in films, unless something extraordinary comes his way ”Lekin,ajkal achhi filmien kaun aur kahaa banate hai, aur achhi shaayari bhi kha hoti hai?”