The original 'action king' of Bollywood, Dharmendra was a lanky lad from Punjab who came to Mumbai with starry eyes and went on to become one of the biggest names in Hindi films with a career spanning over five decades and almost 250 films. Born on December 8, 1935 to headmaster Kewal Kishan Singh Deol and Satwant Kaur in Phagwara, Dharmendra spent his early years in Sahnewal, Ludhiana. Dharmendra was a star-struck teenager who devoured film magazines and greatly admired actors such as Motilal and Dilip Kumar. He shifted to Mumbai to pursue his acting dreams and was crowned winner of the Filmfare Talent Contest.

Dharmendra made his B'Town debut in 1960, starring opposite Kumkum in 'Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tera' and the offers started pouring in. Thereafter he worked in several more black and white romantic films such as 'Soorat Aur Seerat', 'Shaadi', 'Bandini', 'Ayee Milan Ki Bela' and the blockbuster 'Phool Aur Paththar', which earned the young actor his first Filmfare nomination for 'Best Actor'.

He proved his acting prowess with memorable performances in films such as 'Anupama' and 'Devar' and romanced most leading ladies of the time on screen including Meena Kumari, Saira Banu, Sharmila Tagore, Mumtaz, Asha Parekh, Parveen Babi, Zeenat Aman and Hema Malini. Dharmendra's performance in Hrishikesh Mukherjee's 'Satyakam' is widely considered to be the highlight of his illustrious career, as is the biggest blockbuster in Hindi cinema, 'Sholay'. He shared screen space with Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjeev Kumar and Amjad Khan in Ramesh Sippy's superhit, and is still remembered for his inimitable portrayal of Veeru.

Though he acted alongside many top actresses, Dharmendra's pairing with his future wife Hema Malini in films such as 'Raja Jani', 'Seeta Aur Geeta', 'Sharafat', 'Tum Haseen Main Jawaan', 'Dost', 'Teesri Aankh' and 'Sholay' made them B'town's most beloved couple.

Through the 70s and 80s, Dharmendra continued to act in a wide variety of genres and worked with some of the biggest names in B'town such as Bimal Roy, Yash Chopra, Raj Khosla, Ramesh Sippy, Rajkumar Santoshi, Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Basu Chatterji. His notable films of the time include 'Pratigya', 'Chupke Chupke', 'Dharam Veer', 'Dream Girl', 'Chacha Bhatija', 'The Burning Train', 'Naseeb' and 'Hathyar'.

In 1983, Dharmendra diversified into production and launched his elder son Sunny in 'Betaab', which was produced by Vijayta Films. He would go on to launch the successful careers of his younger son Bobby in 'Barsaat' and nephew Abhay Deol in 'Socha Na Tha' under the banner.

After a brief hiatus, Dharmendra returned to B'Town with a pivotal role in the Salman Khan-Kajol starrer 'Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya' (1998) and also made an appearance in the multi-starrer 'Life in a... Metro'. That same year, he appeared in 'Johnny Gaddar' and starred alongside his sons Sunny and Bobby for the first time ever in 'Apne'. The hit combination was repeated in 2011's 'Yamala Pagla Deewana', which is one of the highest-grossing films of the year.

With the sequel to the laugh riot on the anvil and another comedy, 'Cheers' with Bobby, helmed by Sangeeth Sivan in the pipeline, Dharmendra proves that even after five decades in cinedom, he's still not done entertaining his fans.

Sunny Deol

Two-time National Award winning actor Sunny Deol had very large shoes to fill when he decided to follow in his illustrious father’s footsteps. But when Dharmendra’s scion made a smashing debut in ‘Betaab’, it was obvious that Sunny would carry the legacy forward.

Born Ajay Singh Deol on 1st September 1957 at home in Sanhewal, Punjab to Dharmendra and Prakash Kaur, Sunny made his big screen debut opposite Amrita Singh in ‘Betaab’. The 1983 romance saga about childhood lovers was a huge hit and instantly propelled the two newbies to fame.

After starring in the tragic romance of ‘Sohni Mahiwal’, he played the titular role of an unemployed youngster in ‘Arjun’. The Rahul Rawail film went on to become a major hit and established Sunny’s status as B’Town’s most formidable action hero.

The following year, Sunny was the leading man in Juhi Chawla’s debut film, ‘Sultanate’ and also starred in movies such as ‘Samundar’, ‘Yateem’ and ‘Paap Ki Duniya’. In 1989, he had back to back hits with Rajiv Rai’s ‘Tridev’ and Pankaj Parashar’s ‘ChaalBaaz’.

With his portrayal of an amateur boxer wrongly accused of his brother’s murder in Rajkumar Santoshi’s ‘Ghayal’, Sunny proved that he still ruled the industry when it came to action sequences. Produced by the home banner, Vijayta Films, the movie was an instant hit with the masses and went on to win seven Filmfare Awards.

Some of his other popular hits in the early 90s include ‘Vardi’, ‘Krodh’, ‘Yodha’ and ‘Shankara’. Rajiv Rai’s ‘Vishwatma’ was Sunny’s only release in 1992. The hugely successful film also marked the debut of the late Divya Bharati.

In 1993, Sunny Deol’s fans were treated to two superb performances by the actor in ‘Damini’ and ‘Darr’. The actor impressed critics and won over audiences with his portrayal of the tough lawyer Govind in ‘Damini’ and his ‘tareek pe tareek’ dialogue is quoted by many even today. He shared screen space with Juhi Chawla and Shah Rukh Khan in Yash Chopra’s blockbuster ‘Darr’.

Sunny’s steady stream of hits, started with ‘Jeet’, in which he shared screen space with Salman Khan and Karisma Kapur. The popular pair of Sunny and Meenakshi was seen for the last time in Rajkumar Santoshi’s superhit ‘Ghatak: Lethal’. Sunny also played a pivotal role in JP Dutta’s war epic ‘Border’, which boasted of a stellar cast consisting of Jackie Shroff, Sunil Shetty, Akshaye Khanna, Pooja Bhatt and Tabu. His portrayal of Deva, the gangster on the run who is falsely accused of his siblings’ murders in ‘Ziddi’ won over critics and audiences alike.

In 1999, after starring opposite Juhi Chawla in ‘Arjun Pandit’, Sunny Deol tried his hand at direction and helmed ‘Dillagi’. He also acted alongside younger brother Bobby and Urmila Matondkar in his directorial debut, which was very well appreciated by critics and viewers alike.

Sunny played the role of lorry driver Tara Singh who falls in love with a Muslim girl (played by Ameesha Patel) in Anil Sharma’s ‘Gadar: Ek Prem Katha’. The partition saga went to become a blockbuster and is the fifth highest grossing Bollywood film of all times. ‘Gadar’ was followed by the highly successful ‘Indian’ in which Sunny essayed the character of DCP Rajshekhar Azad, an honest police officer who always sticks to his ideals.

Sunny’s next few projects were extremely patriotic in nature and struck a chord with audiences across the country. He played the role of an Indian military officer in ‘Maa Tujhhe Salaam’ and essayed the character of freedom fighter Chandrashekhar Azad in ‘23rd March 1931: Shaheed’.

Sunny teamed up with ‘Gadar’ director Anil Sharma yet again for ‘The Hero: Love Story of a Spy’, which also starred Preity Zinta and Priyanka Chopra in her first onscreen appearance.

Sunny made an appearance alongside Dharamji and Bobby in ‘Apne’ and then yet again in ‘Yamla Pagla Deewana’, which was one of the biggest successes of the year. While the second part is in its planning stages, Sunny is also busy with the sequel to ‘Ghayal’, titled ‘Ghayal Returns’ which will be helmed by Ashwini Chaudhary. With these and many more interesting projects in the offing, Sunny Deol is certainly on a roll.

Bobby Deol

With a legendary star as his father and an established action hero as his brother, movies were the obvious choice for Bobby Deol. He burst on to the screen as a breath of fresh air with 'Barsaat' in 1995 and has since then become one of the most understated, yet affable faces in B'Town.

The younger son of Dharmendra and Prakash Kaur, Bobby was born as Vijay Singh Deol in Mumbai on January 27, 1967. He had his first screen outing at the tender age of ten when he played the role of a young Dharmendra in 'Dharam Veer'. Bobby's made his official B'Town debut with Rajkumar Santoshi's romantic saga 'Barsaat' in 1995. He starred alongside fellow newbie and star-daughter Twinkle Khanna in the film and won the Filmfare Award for 'Best Male Debut' that year.

However, Bobby's breakthrough film was Rajiv Rai's 'Gupt: The Hidden Truth' in which he starred opposite Kajol and Manisha Koirala. His performance as the man wrongly accused of murder not only won over audiences, but impressed critics as well. That same year, he starred opposite Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in her debut Hindi film, 'Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya'.

In 1998, Bobby starred as the leading man in two films - Vidhu Vinod Chopra's 'Kareeb' and Abbas-Mustan's 'Soldier'. The following year, Bobby starred alongside brother Sunny in the latter's directorial debut, 'Dillagi'. He teamed up with the Burmawalla brothers yet again for the hit thriller 'Ajnabee', in which he shared screen space with Kareena Kapoor, Akshay Kumar and Bipasha Basu. '23rd March 1931: Shaheed' was the second film in which Bobby and Sunny appeared together. Bobby played the role of Bhagat Singh in Guddu Dhanoa's film based on the life of the revolutionary freedom fighter.

That same year, Bobby was nominated for the Filmfare 'Best Actor Award' for his performance in Abbas-Mustan's 'Humraaz'. The thriller saw him as one part of a love triangle which also comprised of Akshaye Khanna and Ameesha Patel. 2007 was a record year for Bobby who starred in six films which included YRF's 'Jhoom Barabar Jhoom', a musical extravaganza also starring Abhishek Bachchan, Priety Zinta and Lara Dutta. His next film, 'Apne' was a family affair as he shared screen space with his father and brother in the highly successful boxing drama.

Bobby played a character with shades of grey in Abbas-Mustan's 'Naqaab' and also starred as Priyanka Chopra's love interest in Tarun Mansukhani's 'Dostana', which went on to garner much popular acclaim. Bobby reunited with Dharamji and Sunny for the comedy 'Yamala Pagla Deewana' which went to become a major box-office success.

With an exciting mix of films in his kitty including the Sangeeth Sivan helmed 'Cheers' with Dharamji, the actor who is currently shooting for Abbas-Mustan's 'Players' certainly has a lot to look forward to!


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