Even after decades, youngsters still sing Yamla Pagla Deewana!


By Hindustan Times

Mumbai, July 17 -- Bollywood's He-Man, Dharmendra, on a five-decade career that, he says, is rocking even today... The 1970s were my boyhood years in Hindi cinema. I'd grown up idolising Dilipsaab (Dilip Kumar), Rajsaab (Raj Kapoor) and Devsaab (Dev Anand). It had been my dream to see them in person, talk to them and touch them. Suddenly, I, too, was a part of their world. Unbelievable! I wonder if today's stars are so wide-eyed about their heroes!

Salman (Khan), Shah Rukh (Khan) and Akshay (Kumar) have always been respectfully affectionate to me, and I love them as much as Sunny and Bobby.

They are health conscious boys. It pleases me to see them take such good care of their bodies. Even my Esha comes back glowing from regular workouts. For the Deols, the gym has always been our temple. My sons are fighters. There were times when Sunny's back was so bad that he had to drag himself along the floor to the bathroom. But he continued doing stunts.

Recently, I was shooting in Goa for Tell Me Oh Khuda (2010) and Esha was hanging upside down over the sea. A shiver danced down my spine but she was fearless. I've done similar stunts, genes don't change. Daughters are so much like their fathers.

I see myself in my children. When I'm acting with my kids, I have to consciously keep a check on my emotions. Apne (2007) was about family ties and a father's ambitions. Yamla Pagla Deewana (2010) which we are now filming, is a comedy that will have you rolling on the floor and then make you sit up with an emotional punch.

We've borrowed the film's title from a chartbuster in Pratiggya (1975). Even after three decades, youngsters still play the song. Hema (Malini) was a darling who became my darling. I can't sing... Nor can I dance. My choreographers let me do my own steps and surprisingly, it worked.

Hema and I must have done 25 films together, 18 of which were jubilee hits. I remember chasing after her to the tunes of 'Tera peecha na choodunga soniye...' in Jugnu. The film ran for 50 weeks! When in college, I'd see two films a day. I'd queue up for tickets, my heart in my mouth after the first gong sounded, wondering if I'd get in. I'd sit in the stalls, watch 18 reels without blinking and munch samosas in the interval.

Today, we walk into malls, sip milkshakes, enter a multiplex screen and sink into a cushy recliner. 'Mazza nahin aata hai' (It's no fun)! To enjoy a film, you need to sit on the edge of the chair. That's why I've stopped going to the movies but I caught Ghajini (2008). Aamir (Khan) is a fine actor. I've seen some of Shah Rukh's movies. But I miss the good old days...