Age and ailments withstanding, Amitabh Bachchan continues to spin magic by dancing, singing, performing stunts and even riding the oh-so-stylish mean machine - the Harley Davidson! No wonder he doesn't hesitate before saying, "bbuddah...hoga tera baap"! And he says age is "just a state of mind".
At 68, the megastar says he did give a second thought to indulging in daredevilry for his forthcoming home production "Bbuddah...Hoga Tera Baap" but only due to physical compulsions - not because of a lack of will and zeal.
"I was very apprehensive about doing a lot of action. I have had a severe medical history, so I was a little hesitant...not because I am unable to do action, but because there are certain precautions that I have to take," Amitabh told IANS over the phone from Mumbai.
"Every time I have to do an action sequence, the family members have their antennas up and I wonder whether I should be doing it or not because they all seem like reminders of the last time I did an action sequence and got hurt," he said, remembering the near fatal intestinal injury in 1982 while shooting an action scene for "Coolie".
Nevertheless, Big B agreed to give action a fresh shot - thanks to his daily fitness regimen and improved technology.
"Technology has improved immensely from the olden day action we used to do. There are many more safeguards now. So they protect the artists well. Also the way they shoot the sequence has undergone a sea change...and all of it looks very dramatic, colourful and dangerous," he said.
Talking about his daredevilry, a high point for the sexagenarian is riding a Harley Davidson for the movie, which releases July 1.
"I was petrified that I will never be able to ride it. I can't remember when I rode a bike last...may be 20-30 years back for a film. And then, to ride a Harley Davidson, which is a huge, powerful machine...just to hold the damn thing up requires a lot of physical effort. But once it starts up, and starts moving...you're in a different world altogether!" he said, sounding proud that he did it.
But the adventure did not finish for Amitabh with that - he had to deal with two more "nightmares" to suit a role which required him to play a role truly him - an old man who feels young!
"The dancing is so, so, so difficult! It is still a nightmare for me! If I have to do a song sequence, I get nightmares because it is tough! It's not the physical part of it, but just the part of being able to dance. That's always been a part of great concern," Amitabh said.
"And then (music directors) Vishal-Shekhar asked me to sing songs...that was another nightmare! They are good friends...we sit around in their studio, joke, laugh and we gossip...and then suddenly someone picked up an instrument and got a tune."
"So every song that I have done in this film is done very casually," said the actor, who has sung three distinct songs - a melodious and soft "Haal-e-dil", a cappella style title track and a medley of his old hits.
But as much as he yearns to contribute more and more in Bollywood, Amitabh is tired of being asked what keeps him going.
"I don't have an answer for this! I wonder if people are telling me: 'You shouldn't be doing all this, sit at home you old man...get on to your rocking chair...get hold of a book, watch television, play with your grandchildren...stop doing all these ridiculous things!'
"I just feel if your mind is okay with it, you just go ahead and do it. My mind was okay to ride a bike...I still drive all my cars, and I'm okay saying those lines or doing that action...it's just a state of mind.
"I think once you make up your mind that this is what you want to do, somewhere, somehow, some kind of an adrenaline gets into you and you're up to it," the legendary actor told IANS.
Guess that's how Amitabh Bachchan has continued for over four decades - and more power to that!
(Radhika Bhirani can be contacted at email@example.com)