For the world, Dharmendra is a superstar but for his daughter, Esha Deol, he is just a loving papa who inspires her every day with his life and drives away all her worries with a warm hug. On the occasion of Father’s Day today, the actress spoke exclusively to ETimes about the fondest memories with her daddy dearest, what an ideal day with him looks like, childhood memories, and more. Excerpts…
How do you celebrate Father’s Day?
Honestly, while I was growing up, my dad was always shooting so we never really celebrated Father’s Day as such. But now we do. We wish him and if he is in Mumbai and then we get him a cake or a gift.
What does an ideal day with your father look like?
For me, an ideal day with my dad is when I am just sitting and chatting with him. We talk about various topics. He loves to talk about his childhood days and the village where he grew up; he has a lot of stories from his film days too. I love listening to him. When we are spending time together, he is the one doing most of the talking. There is so much I can relate to, being his daughter. Also, there is so much learning! This also includes his sher-o-shayaris, which he absolutely loves. There are times when I want to share things only with him, just to get advice on life. It’s also because our mentality is quite similar; we think alike. He understands my pulse. So, I love sharing things with him and we laugh together about things that we do. It is always lovely spending time with him.
What is that one word that describes your daddy dearest perfectly?
I think describing him in just one word is very difficult because he has played many roles in this journey. For me, he is my protective blanket. When he hugs me, everything that is stressing me out vanishes, and I am completely charged up again. He is everyone’s hero but for us, he is our ‘He-Man!’
Three qualities of him that inspire you…
He is an extremely humble and down-to-earth human being. He is fearless and one of the fittest people I know.
Can you share a childhood memory you have with him that you absolutely cherish…
There is one memory that is absolutely hilarious. I still remember it because I was around the age where I could remember things. We were all on a vacation abroad and my mom had gone out shopping a little early in the morning. I woke up with only papa in the room and started crying looking for mumma. He consoled me saying he was there and that he will do everything for me. He bathed me, combed my hair, made me wear a party frock, put kajal in my eyes, and gave me an oily hairstyle. My mom walked in to find me all dressed up at nine in the morning. That was really cute!
Were you a naughty child?
Yes, I was a very naughty child. My parents would be the best people to answer this question and rate my naughtiness.
How is Dharmendra as a grandfather to your kids–Radhya and Miraya?
He is a wonderful grandfather. He loves to spend time with our children. He turns into a kid himself when he plays with them. My kids also love their nanu a lot. They spend a lot of time playing and dancing with him. I think he sees my childhood in my daughters. He is reliving them through my kids. I think it is beautiful!
What is that one quality that you would like to inherit from him?
There is not just one quality that I would like to inherit from him. He is one of the best we have. There is so much to get inspired and learn from him. My beliefs, the way I think and function, I feel I am a lot like him. I give credit to both my parents to keep us rooted. There are certain qualities I believe one should maintain over the years, even after we have grown up, married, and have kids of our own. I have and will cherish all the values they have instilled in me.
One song you would like to dedicate to him on Father’s Day…
If I had to dedicate a song to him, it would definitely be ‘Eye of the Tiger’ from the film, ‘Rocky’.