Everyone knows that Dharmendra is a he-man, good at fighting and drinking and other manly stuff. Luckily for us ladies, he is also good at romance. And as Jaya Bachchan has famously pointed out: he is as handsome as a Greek god. Almost all the playback singers of his time could sing realistically for him, too; he didn’t fit just one type of voice. Here are my ten favorite (so far! I still have lots more of his films to watch) Dharmendra musical moments.
10. “Jagega Insaan Zamana” from Aadmi Aur Insaan (1969) (sung by Mahendra Kapoor, music by Ravi). The song begins at about 3 minutes into the YouTube clip. A triumphant and hopeful anthem about India’s progress. Mahendra’s soaring vocals against the backdrop of a huge dam construction, with Dharmendra and the workers celebrating the bright future.
9. “Jhilmil Sitaron” from Jeevan Mrityu (1970) (sung by Rafi and Lata, music by Laxmikant Pyarelal). A lovely romantic song from a wonderfully romantic film, the two young lovers unaware of all the heartbreak to come.
8. “Gar Tum Bhula Na Doge” from Yakeen (1969) (sung by Rafi, music by Shankar Jaikishan). Dharmendra romances beautiful Sharmila in this fabulous spy thriller.
7. “Kuch Kehta Hai Yeh Sawan” from Mera Gaon Mera Desh (1971) (sung by Rafi and Lata, music by Laxmikant Pyarelal). Dharmendra and Asha Parekh—one of my favorite heroines—and a beautiful picturization of a pretty song. The beginning notes sound like rain falling from the monsoon that they are singing about. Plus, a swing! and it’s a great film.
6. “Dekha Hai Teri Aankhon Mein” from Pyar Hi Pyar (1969) (sung by Rafi, music by Shankar Jaikishan). Just a gorgeous gorgeous tune, and Dharmendra is so so beautiful as he woos a reluctant Vyjayantimala—who thinks he is someone else. Excellent film, too!
5. “Kal Ki Haseen” from Charas (1976) (sung by Kishore and Lata, music by Laxmikant Pyarelal). Hema and Dharmendra say goodnight, reluctant to leave each other as the other hotel guests watch in amusement. It’s very flirtatious and lots of fun!
4. “Yeh Dosti” from Sholay (1975) (sung by Manna Dey and Kishore, music by RD Burman). The best ode to friendship ever; a classic in Indian film, picturized on Dharmendra and Amitabh riding a motorcycle with a sidecar. Is it possible to be envious of a motorcycle?
3. “Aaj Mausam Bada Beimaan Hai” from Loafer (1972) (sung by Rafi, music by Laxmikant Pyarelal). Dharmendra and Mumtaz wander through a flower garden in fabulous 70s outfits as their love story blossoms. Brown plaid pants! A flowery crocheted vest! These two make it all look gorgeous.
2. “Abhi To Haath Mein” from Seeta Aur Geeta (1972) (sung by Manna Dey, music by RD Burman). Dharmendra stumbles home drunk after a night at the bar. He’s alone in the world with no real prospects of a good future; his comfort is the booze in his hand. So sweet and so sad. I love the part with the dog. Two strays, fighting the odds. I’ll take them in!
1. “Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas” from Blackmail (1973) (sung by Kishore, music by Kalyanji Anandji). Picturized on Rakhee reading love letters that he’s written to her but been too timid to send, this is possibly the most romantic song EVER of all time (although some of Shammi’s come awfully close). If movies were real life, I would want to be Rakhee in this film.