"To be honest, I never think of how old I am. It is important to think young, live healthily, sleep proper hours and think positively," Dharmendra, who turns 88 on December 8, tells Subhash K Jha.
"There is no knowing what will happen tomorrow. Make the best of today."
"It's all the the blessings of the audience and my film fraternity. They have showered love on me and my sons for 40 years. This year was especially a dream run for us. Sunny had Gadar 2 and Bobby has Animal. I got so much appreciation for Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahani. I couldn't ask for more," says Dharamji.
When asked to name his best performances and films, Dharamji laughs shyly, "Mushqil hai kehna. I have worked in so many films for almost 50 years. Straightway, I can recall Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Satyakam, Anupama and Chupke Chupke. These stand out. In all three, my co-star was Sharmila Tagore. We did quite a few films together in the 1960s. After that, my maximum films were with Hema."
Dharamji mentions the not-so-celebrated film where he had a difficult role: "I love Dulal Guha's Pratiggya because it was a really tough role. I had to play a truck driver who masquerades as a cop. It was like playing a role within a role. It was a layered character with a lot of emotion and drama."
"I had made to make people laugh but there was an undercurrent of emotions. It was a challenge, and people loved me in it," he recalls.
"Pratiggya came in the same year as Sholay in 1975, so it went eclipsed. But let me tell you, Pratiggya was a superhit in spite of competition from Sholay. Just like in 1971, when Naya Zamana clicked in spite of the blockbuster, Mera Gaon Mera Desh. They were such different films. I am very fond of Naya Zamana because it was based on Bengali literature. The film had beautiful dialogues."
Dharamji's closing thoughts: "Mujhe aur mere parivar ko issi terah apna pyaar dete rahen (please continue to shower love on me and my family)."