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Azerbaijani ode to Dharmendra 

Chandigarh: Love can build bridges, even between places as disparate and distant as Sahnewal and Baku. In a moving tribute to his childhood hero, Azerbaijani journalist-filmmaker Namig Gurban (50) has made a 47-minute documentary, ‘Dharmendra – The Messenger of Love’. The movie was screened last week in the former Soviet republic.Gurban recalls, “I was 13 when I saw him for the first time on the big screen. I loved his battle scenes and funny jokes. I was charmed by him from the first movie…”Amrit Jeet Singh, a Belarus-based handicraft trader who hails from New Delhi, was involved with the project as a translator and coordinator. He first met the director at a trade expo in Azerbaijan. “Gurban told me how fascinated he was by Dharmendra. Being the Bollywood icon’s fan myself, I was able to appreciate his sentiments,” says Amrit Jeet, who translated lines from Hindi, Punjabi and English into Russian.As per AzerNews newspaper, the December 27 screening was dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Azerbaijan and India. Those who attended the event included India’s Ambassador to Azerbaijan Sanjay Rana. “This film will serve as a bridge that connects the two countries,” the diplomat said.Dharmendra (82) wasn’t able to make it, reportedly due to ill health, but he interacted with the audience through video conferencing. In the documentary, he tells Gurban, “People must take care of each other, help each other. That’s why we come into this world.”The filmmaker considers the evergreen matinee idol, who starred in Indo-USSR production ‘Alibaba Aur 40 Chor’ back in 1980, a “real messenger of love who gives his heart and soul to people.”The Azerbaijani film’s Russian and English versions are ready, while it will also be available in Hindi and Arabic soon.

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