Saturday, February 27, 2010


Thanks for checking out my list of my favourite 70s actresses, and for letting me know who your faves are! So now it’s time to talk about the guys… the men whose 70s movies I love.

• Rajesh Khanna

Rajesh Khanna’s film career was like a shooting star – brief but bright! In the years when he ruled the Indian box office (and hearts everywhere), it was pure mania.

I love 70s Rajesh – handsome, romantic, funny, and unique. He had a vibe that was just different from the other leading men of the time. I even love his trademark head-shake and the trademark RK ‘look’. Funky, fun and often more than a little camp, he captured ‘70s groove’ really well. He was a better actor than he’s given credit for these days. He was also usually good fun to watch, which is very important in my book.

Unfortunately, Rajesh’s lack of versatility as an actor (basically, he sucked at dishoom-dishoom), along with the rise of the ‘angry young man’ I’ll be talking about next, brought his reign as the King of Bollywood to a quick end in the 70s. And the less said about his more recent work, the better. I try very hard not to think about it!

• Amitabh Bachchan

No one can argue that the big B is a Bollywood icon. My darling mother, who was not a Bollywood fan, came across me watching ‘Do Aur Do Paanch’ a few years ago, and said to me, ‘how come that guy is in every Indian movie you watch?’ Mr. Bachchan is special to me because when I became re-acquainted with Bollywood about 5 years ago, he was one of the few Hindi film actors I remembered from my childhood. His camp action-adventure, ‘Mard’, was one of the first Hindi movies I saw as a child. And it’s interesting to think that even now, in his late 60s, he’s still going at it and dishing out great performances like his excellent turn as Auro in last year’s ‘Paa’ (he just won the Filmfare Award for Best Actor for his performance).

Regardless of what one may think of him, his filmography alone is proof that his status as a legend of Hindi cinema is well-deserved. I personally love the guy – I love his passion for films, and how he flings his long limbs into every role with almost reckless abandon. I love his versatility and the intensity with which he tackles each role, even the silly ones. I love that distinctively deep voice, those lanky limbs and those dark and unconventionally handsome looks. I think he can be a little pompous, a little self-absorbed, and more than a little self-righteous, but I can live with those flaws. I may call his wife the most talented Bachchan, but there’s no doubt in my mind that the big B is very talented as well – and more importantly, he’s extremely committed to and focused upon his craft.

Anyway, Amit ji did a lot of really great films in the 70s, the decade in which his stellar career really took off. Often dark, brooding and intense, he deftly created his trademark ‘Angry Young Man’ persona. From Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s ‘Anand’ (1971), the film that really got him noticed, to ‘Kaala Pathar’ (1979), he did it all in the 70s: from OTT masala (‘Amar Akbar Anthony’ – his comedy in this is classic!), to marital drama (‘Abhimaan’, opposite his then-newlywed wife, Jaya Bhaduri), to moving melodrama (‘Mili’). He played a brooding poet (‘Kabhi Kabhie’), a tortured policeman (loved him in ‘Zanjeer’), hardened criminals (‘Sholay’, ‘Muqaddar ka Sikandar’, ‘Faraar’, ‘Deewaar', ‘Don’), a shy professor (‘Chupke Chupke’)… the list goes on and on…. He worked with the top directors, the hottest leading ladies, and some lesser-known names… and he left a lasting mark on the Bollywood of the 70s.

• Dharmendra

Now everyone knows that I adore Dharmendra… he’s the reason I started this blog! I could wax lyrical about all the reasons I love him, but I’ve done that many times before… so I’ll just point you to my post on his 70s career, if you haven’t read it yet… the 70s were my favourite decade when it comes to Dharmendra films, although as Bollyviewer commented, the quintessential Dharmendra decade is more like 1965 to 1975. Here's a funny screencap from 'Chupke Chupke':

• Rishi Kapoor

Rishi was such a sweetheart in the 70s. With those earnestly cute eyes and that impish smile, he was absolutely adorable - I always just want to hug him when I watch his 70s flicks. He had great screen presence and there was always something so sincere and likeable, so charming and personable, about him in those days. Sweetness aside though, in some of his roles, notably ‘Mera Naam Joker’, ‘Bobby’ and ‘Kabhi Kabhie’, he also captured youthful love, teenage lust and a generous helping of 70s rebellion in a way that no-one else did.

From his unforgettable debut as an awkward schoolboy becoming a man in his father Raj’s ‘Mera Naam Joker’; to his equally unforgettable role as the title character opposite a luminous Dimple Kapadia in ‘Bobby’; to his youthful and fun roles opposite future wife Neetu Singh (loved them together in ‘Khel Khel Mein’, 'Kabhi Kabhie’, ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’, ‘Doosra Aadmi’ and others)… there are so many gems among Rishi’s 70s flicks, and I love them.

• Vinod Khanna

I like to call him sexy Vinod. Because that’s what he is! To be honest, when I watch his 70s films, the young Vinod Khanna doesn’t actually have to say or do anything to make me happy. Just looking at him – from those dark, intense, heavy-lidded, beautifully-framed, brown eyes, to the dimple in his chin, to his beautiful physique – that’s enough for me. When he doesn’t smile, he’s scorching hot. When he smiles, everything in his face lights up. He’s a gorgeous man, and as you can probably tell, I could talk about how hot he is for ages, but I’ll spare you… partly because I’ve probably embarrassed myself enough already, and partly because he’s a lot more than a pretty face.

He was a really good actor too in his heyday – from the learned and anguished friend of ‘Muqaddar ka Sikandar’; to the serious policeman of ‘Amar Akbar Anthony'; to the intensely, evil-but-hot bandit of ‘Mera Gaon Mera Desh’; to the stylish young stud of ‘Mere Tulsi Aangan Ki’, he just… gave all his roles that special touch… you know what, I give up - the truth is, I obviously can’t talk about this guy ‘seriously’. He just makes me melt. Sadly, I don't have many screencaps of sexy Vinod, and the pictures I've come across on the net don't do him justice; but happily, Veracious has lots of lovely ones here.

The indomitable Pran almost made this list – he was such an icon of the 70s! I love the villainous roles he played with such relish, always leaving his indelible mark on just about every film he did, even the really bad ones. I just LOVE Pran (cue gratuitous screencap)!

So, the women are done and the men are done... that’s it on my fave actors from the 70s. There are other actors from the 70s that I love: Sanjeev Kumar (brilliant actor!) and Parveen Babi (such a babe!), for example. Even Rishi’s uncle, Shashi Kapoor, who some of you are probably thinking I just forgot to mention! But hey, one must stop somewhere….

So… those are my favourite Bollywood actors from the 70s…. Who would you choose?

Friday, February 26, 2010


I'm doing 2 more posts for 70s Week, and they are about my 10 favourite actors from the Hindi films of the 70s… I’ve chosen 5 men and 5 women whose movies I particularly enjoyed in that decade. My all-time favourite Hindi film actors are all listed on my sidebar and show up all the time in my reviews, so these picks will come as no surprise to previous visitors to this blog. But I thought this would be a good excuse to talk about why exactly I love them so much, and of course to put up lots of gratuitous screencaps of each of them!

So I’ll start with the ladies today, and then my post on the men will be up tomorrow. I think the 70s were the last decade that women got really meaty roles in mainstreamHindi cinema (although to be fair, they got plenty of rubbish ones too). But things really nosedived for women in Bollywood in the largely trashy 80s (especially after 1983), and I think the industry is yet to fully recover from that lull when it comes to female roles. A shame. There were some great heroines in the 70s: sassy, spunky, feisty women with minds and voices of their own, and the power to make their own decisions. I miss them.

I cheated a little on the women for this list – I picked 6 instead of 5 actors, because I found it impossible to leave any of them off my list. They each, in various ways, embodied the spirit of the 70s – style, attitude, vivacity, colour, passion, adventure, glamour. Here we go, in no particular order:

• Jaya Bhaduri

I adore this woman’s acting, and although I’ve raved about her about a gazillion times on this blog, I’ll never stop raving. This award-winning actress had the extraordinary ability to disappear into the characters she played, infusing them with a life of their own that was just magical to see. She was at her best playing strong women facing down their destinies, and I just love her older performances, and for me, she is definitely the most talented Bachchan.

I’m on a quest to see all of Jaya’s movies… so far, from the 70s I’ve seen ‘Guddi’, ‘Bawarchi’, ‘Parichay’, ‘Zanjeer’, ‘Abhimaan’, ‘Shor’, ‘Kora Kagaz’, ‘Mili’, ‘Sholay’ and ‘Chupke Chupke’, and will soon watch ‘Koshish’. I’ve loved her in every one of these films, whether she was playing a street urchin, or an infatuated schoolgirl, or an unhappy wife, or a traumatized widow. She made each role memorable. In view of her prodigious talent, it saddens me that she decided to largely give up films in order to be a full-time mother, although she seems happy with her choice (see Filmi Girl’s interesting 70s Week post on Jaya for an alternate view on this).

Much as I wish Jaya had done more films in her younger days, I think she accomplished an extremely impressive body of work in her youth – absolutely great and impactful performances – and I’m grateful for that.

• Hema Malini

Hema rocked out the 70s with graceful dancing, vibrant onscreen presence and gorgeous smile. Always a classy lady, she exuded a unique confidence, elegance and poise onscreen. She wasn’t the most talented actor ever, but as a competent professional, she went for roles that played to her strengths, and she made the most of them. Apart from more conventional seedhi-saadhi heroine roles, she also took on some really fun and feisty roles in the 70s too, like her roles in ‘Seeta Aur Geeta’, 'Sholay' and ‘Jugnu’.

Sharmila Tagore

Sharmila is an actor I admire more than I love, although I do love her. I admire her stylish, glamorous looks, her great figure, and her ability to convey just about any emotion in the world with those ultra-expressive eyes and that dimpled smile. Her eyes could exude anything – from femme fatale allure, to baby-sweet cuteness, to everything in between. I admire her distinctive beauty, and I admire her strength, individuality and sophistication, and how she didn’t try to portray a false goody-goody image, either as an actress or a person. Regardless of the outcome, she did things her way, even after marriage (which may, sadly, not be true for some of the other women on my list).

To me, she was above all a style icon of the 70s (the 60s too – in fact, the 60s more than the 70s) – always so great to look at. But she was also a pretty good actress, and I’ve always found her very believable in her roles. In the 70s, from her memorable role opposite Shashi Kapoor in the masala flick ‘Aa Gale Lag Jaa’ to the challenging ‘Mausam’, Sharmila held it together and made her mark.

Neetu Singh:

How much do I love Neetu??!! She always makes me smile, with her own beautiful smile. She was so gorgeous, sassy, fun, cute and feisty in her 70s roles. I love the fact that she had curves and owned those curves! You never got the feeling that she wasn’t comfortable in her body. I love how she attacked her roles with such gusto and vivacity. I just. plain. LOVE. Neetu.

From the adorable Veera of ‘Deewaar’ to the feisty Neetu of 'Parvarish' to the sweet young doctor of ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’, Neetu was always such fun to watch onscreen. As with Jaya, I do wish she’d kept working after marriage, but I’m grateful to still have her past work to enjoy.

Zeenat Aman:

More than any of the other actors on my list, I think Zeenat embodied the attitude of 70s cool. She was effortlessly cool, effortlessly stylish, effortlessly funky, effortlessly everything. Sharmila, as I mentioned before, was more about 60s chic, and my other picks didn’t really ‘own’ the unique look and ‘feel’ of the 70s. Zeenat totally did. Totally.

There always seemed to be something rebellious and restless lurking just behind Zeenat’s eyes, and that’s so 70s. No matter how cool, calm and ‘together’ she looked outwardly, you could sense a little inner turmoil, and that made her perfect for her roles in films like the hippie drama ‘Hare Raama Hare Krishna’ and of course, the iconic ‘Don’. I just loved her as Roma in ‘Don’, with her million-and-one hairdos, fabulous wardrobe, and great attitude. Just loved her. Plus (obviously) she was sexy and gorgeous (as most famously seen in 'Satyam Shivam Sundaram', a film in which I do think Mr. Raj Kapoor deployed Zeenat's potent sexiness in a very negative way). Anyway, however you look at it, 70s Zeenat just rocked.

• Mumtaz

I love Mumtaz – she was a magnificent dancer, a lushly stunning woman, and brought such irrepressible spirit and warmth to her roles. And as Memsaab has noted, she had great chemistry with just about any leading man, from Rajesh Khanna to Dharmendra. She was great in her 70s films, especially the ones she did opposite Rajesh Khanna in the early 70s.

Shabana Azmi almost made this list – she did some great masala films in the 70s, like the fun ‘Fakira’, ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’ and of course, ‘Parvarish’. She also made great art films like ‘Ankur’ and ‘Junoon’. But I would much rather rave about her powerful and iconic performances in the 1980s, which really established her as an excellent actor.

So that’s it for the female actors (as, incidentally, Shabana Azmi would call them – she dislikes the word ‘actress’) I loved in the 70s. Who are your favourites? Will be back to talk about the guys tomorrow….

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


This is Part 2 of the Dharam’s Decades series… Part 1 (on the 60s) is here….

I realize that I am very much in the minority on this, but my favourite decade when it comes to Dharmendra movies is definitely the 1970s. This is possibly because I’ve seen a fair number (but by no means most) of his 70s films, and not too many of his films from the 60s (the films which most people tend to prefer). It’s also possibly because I (again, this is a minority view) personally find him more handsome in the 70s (especially the period from 1970-75). There’s no denying that Dharam was absolutely gorgeous in the 60s, but I tend to prefer his more mature, slightly rougher, more buff 70s look… in the 60s (and the early 60s in particular), he was sometimes a little too smoothly beautiful for me, if that makes any sense. By his mid 30s, he was still devastating but had a little more 'character' in his face.

I also think that by the 70s, Dharmendra had really hit his stride as an actor – he was more confident and self-assured, and that definitely came through in his demeanour. He had a little strut and swagger going. I like that. Another reason why this decade is my fave when it comes to Dharam's work is that in keeping with the general spirit of the decade, he made such fun films in the 70s. I know he made some fun flicks in the 60s (particularly the late 60s), but there's no question about his 70's movies being more fun and less serious. Nothing against serious movies, they can be absolutely awesome, but it's the fun ones that tend to keep me coming back for more.

But enough about my personal predilection for 70s Dharam… let’s take a look at his body of work in that decade. Dharam ended the 60s well, and by 1970 he was still riding that high, despite the mania that had erupted over a certain actor by the name of Rajesh Khanna. I think it's a mark of how consistently good his work was that Dharmendra was definitely one of the biggest Hindi movie stars of the 70s, despite the Rajesh-frenzy that began in the late 60s with 'Aradhana' (1969) and continued well into the 70s.

In 1970, Dharmendra’s first film of the decade, ‘Sharafat’, was released. This is a notable film because it marked his first encounter with a beautiful young actress by the name of Hema Malini, who was just beginning her own illustrious career in the movies. Dharmendra’s meeting with Hema would have a lasting impact not only on his career, but on his entire life… but more on that later. For more on 'Sharafat', which I haven’t seen, please check out Veraciously’s thought-provoking review….

In 1970, other Dharam releases included a cameo as the dashing ringmaster in Raj Kapoor’s bloated, overly self-indulgent opus, ‘Mera Naam Joker’; the wonderfully, wonderfully romantic ‘Jeevan Mrityu’ (opposite a luminous Rakhee - definitely worth seeing if you haven't - check out Memsaab's review); and the fun caper 'Kab? Kyoon? Aur Kahaan', reviewed by bollywooddeewana here. Dharmendra also made another 1970s release opposite Hema Malini, 'Tum Haseen Main Jawan', a fun masala flick about a baby on a navy ship (amongst other things). With these films, Dharmendra had begun the 70s in grand style.

In 1971, ‘Mera Gaon Mera Desh’, co-starring Asha Parekh, a feisty Laxmi Chhaya and a ridiculously hot Vinod Khanna, was released. Although Dharmendra does a great job and Asha is good, I think Laxmi and Vinod are the real stars of this show, a tale of a reformed criminal saving a village from the terrors of a terribly evil (but oh, so sexy) dacoit, Jabbar Singh, and his gang. ‘Mera Gaon Mera Desh’ is a great foreshadowing of a classic film that Dharmendra would star in just a few years later, a fact which the fabulous Sita-ji explores in her great post here.

Another great film from 1971 that featured Dharmendra was Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s delightful ‘Guddi’, but it would be wrong to call it a Dharmendra film. A young and utterly captivating Jaya Bhaduri completely ruled this one, with a beautiful performance opposite Utpal Dutt. Dharmendra had an extended cameo as himself, the object of Guddi’s schoolgirl obsession, and he pulled it off with great class and charm. I love this film.

In 1972, Dharmendra and Hema co-starred in the engaging ‘Raja Jani’, and Dharmendra played second fiddle (a very cute and funny second fiddle, though), to Hema Malini, who totally owned ‘Seeta Aur Geeta’, a very fun remake of Dilip Kumar’s ‘Ram Aur Shyam’. In it, Hema gave a wonderfully memorable performance as the eponymous twins of the title, one timid and one feisty.

Dharam’s 1973 releases included 'Kahani Kismat Ki' and ‘Yaadon Ki Baarat’, a lost-and-found-siblings tale best known for the classic tune ‘Churaliya Hai Tumne’, picturised on a gorgeous Zeenat Aman (and a harp). ‘Yaadon Ki Baarat’ also featured a pint-sized Aamir Khan. In the same year, the utterly, wonderfully romantic ‘Black Mail’, directed by Vijay Anand, was released, in which a dreamy Dharam co-starred with a radiant Rakhee. This film has gorgeous music, gorgeous stars, gorgeous romance… it’s all just gorgeous.

Another 1973 release for Dharam was the fun caper ‘Jugnu’, opposite Hema Malini, in a role that maximized her considerable talents as a leading lady. Hema was much more than a pretty face in her prime – she had it all: looks, comic timing, screen presence, dancing ability; and she did some really great feisty roles… but I’m veering off topic! Back to ‘Jugnu’… I was actually largely underwhelmed by it and am planning to watch it again soon to see if my views change… but there are plenty of people that love it and have written about it.

In 1974, Dharam’s releases included ‘Patthar Aur Payal’, ‘Pocket Maar, ‘Dost’ and ‘International Crook’, the theme tune to which is now indelibly imprinted upon my brain. (Thanks, Memsaab!)

Two of my very favourite Dharmendra films were released in 1975. I ADORE Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s romantic comedy ‘Chupke Chupke’, in which Dharmendra and Sharmila Tagore star as an adorable married couple playing naughty little games with each other (who can blame them though?), all under the pretext of pulling off an elaborate hoax on an uncle (yeah right!) ‘Dharmila’ do a great job with this one – they charmed my socks off and made me laugh endlessly.

One of my favourite movies. I also think Dharam is so gorgeous in this film….

‘Sholay’ is a film on which volumes have been written, and very deservedly so. It has everything you could want in a movie – bromance, romance, dance (on shards of glass, no less), and lashings (and lashings) of angst. Brilliantly scripted by the genius team of Javed Akhtar and Salim Khan, tautly directed by Ramesh Sippy, and lovingly set to music by the great RD Burman, ‘Sholay’ is a meal well worth savouring over and over. Dharam gets to show off his considerable comic talents opposite a sparky Hema Malini (as the talkative Basanti). To round off the main cast, Amitabh Bachchan hands in a brilliantly intense performance as Jai, Amjad Khan is utterly spine-chilling as Gabbar Singh (none of the sexiness of Jabbar Singh from 'Mera Gaon Mera Desh' here), Sanjeev Kumar is great as the tortured Thakur, and Jaya Bhaduri is hauntingly pitch-perfect as Radha.

Rumour has it that, although there was a mutual attraction between them almost from the get-go, Dharmendra and Hema really fell in love (although they seem to have initially fought it) while working on 'Sholay'… there was a lot happening on that set, wasn’t there? Jaya, Amitabh's wife, was pregnant with daughter Shweta, Dharam and Hema were falling in love, and poor Sanjeev was no doubt pining for Hema….

Dharam's relationship with Hema Malini grew stronger on both sides, until their eventual marriage in 1979. They went on to have two daughters together, Esha and Ahana. This was all rather scandalous at the time, of course, as Dharmendra was a very married man, and had been so since before his acting career began. He also had 4 children by this time. Bigamy is not permitted in his religion, and so it is said that he and Hema carried out bogus conversions to Islam in order to legally marry, changing their names to Dilawar Khan and Aisha Chakraborty to facilitate this.

I don't think anyone was very surprised that Dharmendra became involved with Hema when it all began - he was the stereotypical young, hard-drinking 'man's man' living and working in the glamorous world of 70s Bollywood, and I think he (along with every other young virile superstar) was 'expected' to cheat on his wife. He had after all already been linked with Meena Kumari and other women, and he acknowledged openly in interviews that he was not a faithful husband (the whole eyeroll-inducing 'men are naturally not monogamous, yada yada' spiel).

But Hema Malini on the other hand.. now she was a young, angel-faced, never-married woman, with a squeaky-clean reputation. The famous 'Dream Girl' of Hindi cinema, she had a very 'India's sweetheart' image, by all accounts, and in the 70s she ruled the Indian box office as a leading lady, without being involved in any untoward controversies. Hema had millions of men eating out of her hand, and she could have had just about any man she wanted - including charming movie stars like Sanjeev Kumar (who, the story goes, never married because he remained deeply in love with her until the very end) and Jeetendra. Sanjeez and Jeetendra both proposed, and Jeetendra seems to have been in with a chance for a while - Hema is rumoured to have almost become Mrs. Ravi Kapoor - there's a story about Dharmendra swooping in and spiriting her away at the last minute, but I have no idea how true this is.

Understandably, the public probably wasn’t particularly thrilled that their ‘Dream Girl’ was consorting with a married man. Closer to home, Hema’s family was also horrified at her involvement with a married man. In her authorized biography, Hema revealed that her father was so violently opposed to her marriage to Dharmendra that she only went through with it after her father’s death. Her mother, Jaya, who Hema worked closely with in shaping her acting career, was deeply hurt by the marriage, Hema also revealed.

Ironically, though, Hema also says that it was Dharmendra’s similarities to her mother that drew him to her – she loved the fact that he was ‘strong and silent’, like her maa. She also noted that he did not woo her with ‘roses or moonlight drives’, but ‘made her feel special’ just by looking at her. Whatever it was, Hema couldn’t resist it, and facing down all the opposition, married her man in August 1979.

Dharmendra never divorced Prakash Kaur, who he married as a teenager, although of course, Prakash and Hema live separately. I remember writing about the Dharmendra/Hema marriage in the early days of this blog and receiving a few strongly-worded responses condemning the couple in no uncertain terms and telling me not to call Ms. Malini 'Dharam's wife'. I think the fact that people still feel so strongly about this is an indication of what the reaction must have been like back then. I find the virulence of the reaction really interesting, as I guess I am less fazed by polygamy than a lot of people, because although I'm very much opposed to it personally, it's really not considered a 'big deal' in my culture and society (this is slowly changing, though).

Anyway, however much Hema and Dharmendra's relationship may have angered people, it did not spell doom for their respective careers. If anyone's career was at greater risk, it would have been Hema's - as the younger party with much of her career still ahead of her, she had a lot more to lose. and of course, society being as prejudiced as it is, she would have suffered more just for being the female party. Thankfully, this didn't happen. Hema continued to do very well and had some big hits even after marrying Dharmendra, and even if Dharam's career graph did experience a dip by the late 70s, I don't think this is directly attributable to his second marriage.

Anyway, before I move on from this topic, please check out these scans, graciously provided by Karen, of a 1976 interview in which Dharmendra and Hema speak (very frankly indeed!) about their feelings for each other. It’s all very passionate and romantic, the stuff of filmi forbidden-love stories, but you can’t help but wonder how Prakash Kaur has dealt with all this – all you can do is wonder though, as she and her children are (wisely, in my opinion) fiercely protective of her privacy.

Now, moving on from Dharam’s love life… Dharmendra’s other 1975 releases included the fun ‘curry western’ ‘Pratiggya’, reviewed by Memsaab in hilarious detail here, renowned for the song ‘Main Jatt yamla pagla deewana’, which showed off Dharam’s trademark dance steps (if they can be called that!), and ‘Apne Dushman’.

After the big, star-studded productions of ’75, Dharmendra’s 1976 releases were a little less exciting – there was ‘Maa’, ‘Charas’ and a few others. In 1977, things picked up again, with ‘Dream Girl’, the film which earned Hema a lasting sobriquet; the Manmohan Desai masala masterpiece ‘Dharam Veer’, ‘Khel Khilari Ka’ and a few others.

By 1978, Dharmendra was making fewer movies and getting less exciting roles. His age (a very well-preserved 43) was starting to show, the younger Amitabh Bachchan was dominating the box office, and after almost 2 decades of ‘active duty’, Dharmendra was looking just a teeny tiny bit out of date.

There were still a few memorable Dharmendra movies in these last few years of the 70s though – I really like Basu Chatterjee’s comedy ‘Dillagi’ (1978), in which Dharam plays Swarnkamal, a college professor in love with Phoolrenu, a seriously uptight schoolteacher (played by Hema Malini). Dharmendra’s age may be showing a little in this one, but he’s still very dishy, so my big question while watching this was why Swarnkamal was even interested in the boring and repressed Phoolrenu. Between Hema’s sourpuss act in this and Dharam’s constant phool-sniffing, this movie wearied me a bit, but there were enough fun, comedic bits in it to keep me nicely in the loop.

So, at the end of the rocking 70s, we leave Dharam at a rather low ebb, not the peak we left him on at the end of the 60s. Oh well… one must consider that he’d had two long decades in film at this time, and some of those movies were truly unforgettable. He’d had a pretty good run. And hey, even if he didn’t own the box office and hadn’t received the critical acclaim he so deserved for some of the great performances he delivered in the 60s and 70s, from ‘Anupama’ to ‘Sholay’, at least he had the gorgeous and graceful Hema Malini firmly esconced in his arms by the end of the 70s. (In 1979, the year of their marriage, a measly two Dharmendra films were released!) I can’t imagine that he was too badly bummed out.

To sum up, Dharam's 70s flicks were a nice masala mix of comedy, action, thriller, romance and adventure... as I mentioned before, he did a lot of 'typical' fun masala 70s flicks, and far fewer serious ones than he did in the 60s. Hema Malini was definitely his most notable heroine in this decade, despite the fact that she's lamented not doing as many films with him as she would have liked (greedy greedy! LOL) because they were 'so much in love'. But Dharam also did memorable work with other actresses in the 70s, from Asha to Mumtaz to Rakhee to Sharmila to Tanuja to Zeenat.

This has been a long post, and I didn’t even mention some of Dharam’s notable films from the 70s, like ‘Rakhwala’, ‘Do Chor’, 'Loafer', 'Jheel Ke Us Paar' and ‘Naya Zamana’. But I hope I gave a decent flavour of what the 70s were like for Dharam. Next in this series… the mostly cringeworthy 80s, by far my least favourite decade of Dharam.

Before I get there though, I will linger a little longer in the fun 70s, with another 70s week post coming up before the week runs out….