This star did 25 films, all hit, was shot dead on set, murder was never solved, even his superstar brother couldn't...

This man was the highest-paid star in Punjabi cinema when he was shot dead on the set of his film

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This star did 25 films, all hit, was shot dead on set, murder was never solved, even his superstar brother couldn't...
Punjabi superstar Virendra Deol


Punjabi cinema has entered mainstream in India with Punjabi films not just crossing several Hindi films in box office collection but also dominating OTT viewing numbers. But there was a time when Punjabi cinema was limited to the confines of Punjab. In the 80s, Punjabi film stars were not known in the mainstream, until one tragedy brought the industry to the forefront.

The Punjabi star who was shot dead on set

Virendra Deol was the most in-demand actor in Punjabi cinema in the 80s. A cousin of Bollywood superstar Dharmendra, Virendra resembled him a lot and was, hence, called Punjabi cinema’s He-Man, a reference to Dharmendra’s nickname. In the 70s and 80s, Virendra made 25 films in Punjabi and as per industry insiders, all were successful at the box office. By the late 80s, he was so dominant in the industry that he not only commanded the highest fees but no filmmaker would make a big film without him. However, on December 6, 1988, Virendra was shot dead by unknown assailants on the set of his film Jatt Te Jameen.

Virendra with a young Bobby Deol

The mystery behind Virendra’s murder and impact on Dharmendra


Virendra’s death was sensational and dominated news for days to come. This was a time when militancy was still prevalent in Punjab and many believed that the actor had been targeted by militants. Others theorised that he was murdered by jealous rivals as he was starring in every big Punjabi film of the time. Till date, Virendra’s murder remains unsolved. Dharmendra, his cousin, was said to be distraught after losing the man he regarded as his younger brother. It was reported that Dharmendra was in mourning for a week. The actor tried to put pressure on police and administration for investigation into Virendra’s death for years but to no avail.

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