In conversation with Dharmendra

Kumkum Was My First Heroine… How Can I Forget Her?”: Dharmendra

The death of yesteryears’ popular dancer-actress Kumkm who shone and then disappeared, has saddened matinee idol Dharmendra.

When I rang Dharamji at his farm far away from the maddening crowds of Mumbai Dharamji turned emotional. “Kumkum was the first heroine! She agreed to co-star with me in my first film Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere in 1960, although she had already done many big films like Naya Daur, Mr Mrs 55, Mother India and Pyaasa before me.”

Dharamji says he learnt a big lesson early in his career from Kumkum, “Always be kind to newcomers. I can never forget how warm and kind Kumkum was to me. She made me feel at home, spoke about me and my family, showed an interest in my life, helped with my shots. I am forever indebted her.”

Many years Dharmendra and Kumkum reunited for two films.

Recalls Dharamji, “She was my co-star in two films in the 1960s .In Aankhen she played my sister. In Lalkaar she was my heroine. Both films were produced by Ramanand Sagar. It was so many years since Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tera. Kumkum hadn’t changed at all. We sat and reminisced about old times. Moving on is an essential part of life. But sharing memories with your past colleagues is even more important than moving on. When I met Kumkum it was like old times. She invited me home for meals. We really enjoyed ourselves.”

Dharamji gets emotional about all the deaths this year. “Iss saal pataa nahin kaun kaun jayega (who knows how many people we will lose this year). Every time I lose an old colleague it is like a personal blow to me. Kumkum was someone I was really fond of. She had worked with all the great directors Guru Dutt, Mehboob Khan,B R Chopra, Ramanand Sagar. She also starred in the superhit Bhojpuri film Ganga Maiyya Tohe Piari Chauraibau. She was a fantastic dancer and a lovely human being. She taught me the value of goodwill.”

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