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I was the Salman Khan of my days: Dharmendra
With a physique his contemporaries could only dream of, Hindi cinema's original action hero Dharmendra says he was almost like Salman Khan in his early days when it came to leading life on his own terms.

"Salman reminds me of myself," the actor said. "I was almost like him in my early days. I like his attitude and the way he leads his life. He has a great body too."

At an age when many of his colleagues have retired, the 73-year-old Dharmendra still pursues a tough fitness regime to work in films. "I always kept doing regular exercise. Even today I do bench presses, pranayam, and horse-riding to keep me fit," he said.

The actor, who completed 50 years in the industry last year and has done almost every kind of role in his long career, does not intend to retire anytime soon.

"Generally receiving lifetime achievement awards means 'retirement'," he joked. "But I won't sit back. There are three or four movies in the pipeline. Har Pall with Preity Zinta and Master, where people can see me once again with [sons] Sunny and Bobby after Apne. There is also a movie with Bobby which is based on the father-son relationship."

In 1997, Dharmendra won the Filmfare Award for lifetime achievement for his contribution to Indian cinema. Asked why he failed to bag a single best actor award in his long career, he said, "For me, the greatest award is the love and support of my fans, which I always get. I don't want to comment on why I did not get an award. But I think I deserved it for Phool Aur Patthar, Satyakam, Chupke Chupke, Pratigya, Sholay, and Naya Zamana, among several others."

One of the best compliments Dharmendra received in his career came from thespian Dilip Kumar, who said, "Whenever I get to meet god almighty, I will set before him my only complaint: why did you not make me as handsome as Dharmendra?"

Dharmendra said he had great on-screen chemistry with superstar Amitabh Bachchan. "In films like Chupke Chupke, Ram Balram, and Sholay, we had some memorable scenes together," he said.

Like his seniors Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand and contemporaries Manoj Kumar and Vyjayanthimala, Dharmendra, too, wants to write his autobiography. "I will write my autobiography, but at the right time," he said. "It will tell people about the real Dharmendra. I will express my emotions through the book."

The former MP from Bikaner got philosophical while talking about his relationship with second wife Hema Malini, which he says is beyond love. "Our relationship is special, I don't want to comment on it." He said he was eager to work with the 'Dream Girl'again. "We are waiting for a good script," he said. "If the script is well written and suits our age, we will definitely do it."

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