In Bollywood you do not retire but simply expire!

Ankita Chakrabarty/Zee Research Group/Delhi

India’s celebrated romantic film maker Yash Chopra who has several blockbusters to his credit turned 80 on Thursday. But true to the sentiment he is busy doing what he loves to do best: simply make films as India waits yet another love story from him this Diwali.

Chopra actually represents the growing octogenarian talent pool that not only sustains Bollywood but also drives the box office there. Is it passion, the work ethics, or simply the glamour kick that builds the adrenalin among these never say die stars that make Bollywood shine as ever? In case of Chopra it is simply the unsaturated lust for telling the untold love story. This Diwali he turns up with ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ meaning love would survive the body.

Yes, love for the craft, appears to survive the body, for many of Chopra’s generation. The senior citizen Bollywood club’s message is loud and clear: In Bollywood you retire only when you submit yourself in the arms of the mother earth. This very fact holds true across all genres in Bollywood ranging from acting to direction to singing to many unknown faces behind the screen.

Sample the variety in the ageless charm the 70 plus talent pool has on offer in Bollywood: singing legends like Lata Mangeshkar (82) and Asha Bhosle (79) are as active as ever. Lata Mangeshkar, who has given an identity to actresses more than half her age, came alive in ‘Heroine’ released earlier this month (Kyon Yahan Hota Hain’ )which was recorded for the movie ‘Corporate’ in the year 2006, was used in the latest Kareena Kapoor starrer ‘Heroine’. Both these movies were produced by Madhur Bhandarkar. Lata stopped playback recording for Bollywood and her last playback recording was for the movie ‘Jail ‘in the year 2009.

Asha Bhosle too is an amazing example of evergreen persona. She has to her credit more than 20, 000 songs and at present she is seen judging musical shows on small screen where she gives tough time to young talent. She has not only restricted herself to singing but she is soon going to make her acting debut with the movie ‘Mai’.

Amitabh Bachhan, who turns 70 plus this October, has reinvented himself with each passing year, achieving highest ever rating points on television in recent times, for his latest episode of KBC. His work on the big screen has been exemplary with the choice of movies reflecting his age and persona in a new light. He is actually one of the busiest actors in so far as commercial space is concerned with several top brands being endorsed by him. His performance on the social media is worth emulation given his ability to connect with younger generation.

Dharmendra, his friend on the two-wheeler in blockbuster Sholay, is as agile both in front and behind the camera. Dharmendra, the macho man of Hindi cinema is still very much active even at the age of 76. His acting skills were seen in the movies ‘Yamla Pagla Deewana ‘and also in ‘Tell Me O Kkhuda’ both released in 2011. He too was seen serenading Hema on a dance show recently on television though has so far stayed away from a full-fledged presence on the idiot box. Prem Chopra, the longest serving villain how, at the age of 77 was seen in movies like ‘Double Dhamaal’ (2011) and ‘Agent Vinod’ (2012).

Veteran actor ‘A.K Hangal’ whom we lost recently in August 2012 was seen glued to his profession even at the age of 97. He was last seen in the television serial ‘Madhubala - Ek Ishq Ek Junoon ‘.

The likes of Yash Chopra though have inspiration from their seniors in Bollywood. The evergreen Bollywood star Dev Anand produced ‘Chargesheet ‘(2011) at the age of 88, a while before he died in London on December 3 last year at the age of 88.

Ashok Kumar (R.I.P.) and Dara Singh (R.I.P.) too were undeterred by age in their love for Bollywood. Ashok Kumar, popularly known as ‘Dadamoni’, last acted in ‘Aankhon Mein Tum Ho’ in 1997 when he was 86. He died at the age of 90 in 2001. Dara Singh’s last Hindi film was ‘Jab We Met’ (2007).