He worked for an American drilling company before he was discovered at a talent competition Filmfare and went to Mumbai. In 1960 he made his film debut. Dharmendra was aiming at the female audience, adorned in romantic lover roles. He had initial success in Bimal Roy's Bandini (1963 ) with Nutan. Later he was seen in a number of films on the side of Meena Kumari. When his acting most successful performance applies his role in Satyakam (1969 ) by Hrishikesh Mukherjee.
In the 1970s he played with resounding success gun heroes in action-heavy entertainment films that were "seasoned" alongside the usual dance and musical numbers with a lot of humor and were therefore provided with the term "Curry Western ". Dharmendra played the lead role in Sholay - Bollywood's most successful film of all time - along with Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjeev Kumar and Hema Malini. With Malini, who became his second wife, he turned more films, including the Soviet- Indian co-production Ali Baba and the 40 thieves in 1980, in which he embodies the Ali Baba. From the 1980s, his films were qualitatively becoming weaker.
Although during his career Dharmendra won no single price for one of his films, he has been awarded for the year 1996 with the Filmfare Award for his life's work. He appeared in over 200 films.
Dharmendra has two sons from his first marriage, Sunny and Bobby Deol, successfully established itself as an actor in Bollywood. His daughter Esha from his marriage to Hema Malini is since 2002 also Bollywood actress. Dharmendra is politically for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP ) is active since 2004 and Member of Parliament.
In 2012 he was awarded the Padma Bhushan Indian State Order.