Dharmendra turns teetotaler, takes up nimbu paani with a vengeance

By Vickey Lalwani (MUMBAI MIRROR; May 13, 2010)

Dharmendra

The anecdotes about Dharmendra’s love for a tipple are legendary. Writer and television anchor Anupama Chopra has chronicled one such story in her bestseller, The Making of Sholay. “Once drunk, Dharmendra even got up from his hotel in Bangalore at midnight and walked alone to the village and slept on a rock. He could carry both – love and liquor,” she wrote. Until sometime ago, 74-year-old Dharmendra could not do without his daily drink. What is not known is that Dharmendra has now quit alcohol completely.

At some of the recent social dos and get-togethers at his house, people have noticed that Dharmendra didn’t touch a drop of alcohol. A family friend of the Deols revealed, “He tried to give it up a couple of times in his heyday, but failed. This time, it’s for life. Next time he invites you home he will treat you to a glass of beer, but he will drink nimbu paani.”

Did Hema, Esha and Aahana coax him to give up the bottle? “Well, they have been telling him to quit for a long time. Perhaps their efforts paid off. Meet Dharmendra next time and he’ll sit you down and tell you that alcohol is poison,” added the family friend.

Hema Malini

Recently, Dharmendra had complained of uneasiness while he was shooting for Samir Karnik’s Yamla Pagla Deewana in Punjab with his sons, Sunny and Bobby Deol. He was even hospitalised. “But it’s not just because of that, it’s simply because he felt like doing it from within. Actually, teen char mahino se bandh kiya hai,” claimed the family friend.

Filmmaker Anil Sharma who is close to the Deols, especially Dharmendra (Hukumat, Apne), confirmed that Dharmendra has given up drinking for good. “He still wants to work. He has taken this decision to maintain his fitness levels. He is a very determined man and I don’t see any reason why he will go back on his word now,” said Sharma.

When contacted, Hema Malini said that she was very busy shooting, but when we probed further, she added, “It happened some time ago. But yes, it is true. Dharamji doesn’t drink anymore.”

Dharmendra, however, remained unavailable for comment. So long as it was merely for a swig of nimbu paani, we approve such reticence.