Appealing old heroes
WHILE Indian actresses come with a definitive sell-by date, their male counterparts’ careers display spectacular elasticity. Take Amitabh Bachchan, 67, for instance. The legendary actor continues his glorious innings in Indian cinema even at this ripe old age. He is straddling television, stage shows, brand endorsements and films with the consummate ease of a juggler.
Filmmakers have also indulged Amitabh by giving him all sorts of roles – from Babban Singh in RGV Ki Aag to a father in love with his teenage daughter’s friend in Nishabd to a child suffering from a rare affliction in Paa. All the films didn’t work, but the industry sure gave him enough leeway to stretch himself as an actor. Such is unthinkable – as yet – for an Indian actress.
Similarly 60-plus southern superstar Rajnikanth aka Shivaji Rao Gaikwad continues to prance around trees with girls young enough to be his granddaughters. After being paid Us$5.9mil (Rm18mil) for his role in Sivaji (2007), he became the highest paid actor in Asia after Jackie Chan. Other than acting, Rajinikanth also worked as a producer and screenwriter. He was bestowed the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian honour, in the year 2000 for his contribution to Indian cinema.
Bollywood actor Dharmendra, 76, who has appeared in more than 247 Hindi films continues his cinematic run with pivotal roles. Recipient of the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to Hindi cinema, he is often referred to as Bollywood’s original “Action King”. – Neetalal