Dharmendra: I feel like a child at a birthday party
Dharmendra on his birthday talks about being young at heart, his emotional connect with Amitabh Bachchan and how he is overwhelmed by the love and support of his fans
Dharmendra turned 80 on Tuesday and the actor celebrated his big day with family, industry friends and fan groups from Bengaluru, Bhopal and Solapur who travelled all the way to get a glimpse of the star on the special day and camped outside his Juhu abode since early morning.
Dharmendra at his birthday celebration yesterday
The veteran actor, too, made sure that his well-wishers were looked after. Food packets, soft drinks and umpteen number of cakes did the rounds of those waiting outside.
The actor, whose career spans over five decades, says that he will always remain young at heart. "I feel 18, not 80. I have been on the phone continuously since early morning and when not on the phone, I am hugging and shaking hands with people. I have also been on a cake-cutting spree. I had planned to cut down on sweets, but it is proving to be difficult to resist with so many pieces of cake being fed to me."
Sunny Deol yesterday tweeted this snapshot of himself alongside his father Dharmendra and brother Bobby with a message, "My hero... My superstar... Wishing you happy birthday."
When asked about how did he ring in his birthday at midnight, he says, "At that hour, I am in my dream world."
The actor also revealed that he is looking forward to unpacking the numerous presents he has received. "I am overwhelmed by the love and affection of my near and dear ones, especially by the fan groups who have travelled all the way. I feel like a child at a birthday party considering my excitement about the number of gifts I have received. I think I will be spending the entire night unpacking them. However, something that struck me was that a few of the gifts look like bottles which contain something I have been trying to give up for years," adds the actor.
Dharmendra with his fans outside his house
While for many of us birthdays are synonymous with celebration, Dharmendra recalled that he learnt about cakes, candles and birthday parties only when he arrived in Mumbai and joined the industry 55 years ago. "During my younger days, back home in Punjab, birthdays meant getting two annas. That was a big deal for us kids in those days."
His younger daughter Ahana with son Darien and Hema Malini specially flew in from New Delhi to be with the actor.
What made his birthday even more special was that his son Sunny Deol's film, 'Ghayal Once Again', is being attached with Rohit Shetty's 'Dilwale' and Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 'Bajirao Mastani'. "A teaser had been released earlier and now that I have seen the trailer and rushes of the film, I can say that Sunny has done well," says the proud father.
The veteran actor has also planned a home production with his younger son, Bobby. "We plan to make an announcement soon and will shoot in New Delhi," he informs.
As Dharmendra's brother, Ajit Singh Deol, passed away in October this year, he thought the celebrations would be subdued, but his fans and well wishers had other plans.
The Big B connect
Several Bollywood folk also wished him on Twitter including his 'Sholay' (1975) co-star Amitabh Bachchan. "He put up our snapshots from our films. I was shown the images he has put up. I have an emotional connect with him though we may not meet often. He is like a brother. Unfortunately, I am not on Twitter and do not know how to go about it. I prefer to write instead. I still pen Urdu poetry."