With a physique his contemporaries could only dream of, Bollywood'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. 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," the actor said.
At an age when many of his colleagues have retired, the 73-year-old actor still pursues a tough fitness regime to work in films. "I always kept on doing regular exercise. Even today I do bench press, pranayam and horse riding that keep me fit," he says.
The matinee idol, who has done almost every kind of roles in his long career, does not intend to retire anytime soon.
"Generally receiving lifetime achievement awards means 'retirement'. 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 Sunny and Bobby after 'Apne'. There is a movie with Bobby which is based on the father-son relationship," says the actor, who completed 50 years in the film industry last year.
In 1997, Dharmendra won a Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to Indian cinema.
When asked why he failed to bag a single best actor award, he says, "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 came from thespian Dilip Kumar, who had said "Whenever I get to meet with God Almighty I will set before Him my only complaint-why did You not make me as handsome as Dharmendra?"
The actor says that he had great on-screen chemistry with superstar Amitabh Bachchan. "In films like Chupke Chupke, Ram Balram and Sholay, we had done some memorable scenes together," he says.
Like his contemporaries Manoj Kumar, Dilip Kumar, Vyjanthimala and Dev Anand, Dharmendra too wants to write an autobiography but not yet. "I will write my autobiography but at the right time. It will tell people about the real Dharmendra. I will express my emotions through the book," he says.
The former MP from Bikaner gets philosophical while talking about his relationship with his second wife Hema Malini, which he says is beyond love.
"Our relationship is special, I don't want to comment on it." He is eager to work with the 'dreamgirl' again and he says "We are actually waiting for a good script. If the script is nice and well written and also suits our age, we will definitely do itĒ