Bollywood's resident Mr Conviviality turns a ripe young 79 on December 8. Not that numbers count.
Speaking from Jalandhar where he has been stationed for the past month, Dharamji said, "Is it really 79 years? I never knew when so much time flew by. All I know is, I've earned a whole lot of love and affection from people throughout the years. And that's my greatest gift. Beyond that the stardom and success are things I never took seriously. I never cared about who was no.1, no.2 or no.3 as long as people continued to love me."
Love, Dharamji continues to get in abundance.
At the moment in Jalandhar people flock to the location just to have a dekko at their favourite star. They even touch the ground with their heads in a show of reverence.
Laughs Dharamji shyly, "I have always craved to be in people's hearts instead of minds because when you occupy the mind you can be dislodged anytime. But when you're in the heart you're there forever."
Does it feel strange to be celebrating the birthday far away from home and his loved ones?
"This is also home, Jalandhar is very close to my heart. The people here love me so much. This is my second film with the popular star Gippy Garewal. I had earlier done the Punjabi film Double Di Trouble with Gippy. Second Hand Husband is in Hindi," says Dharamji.
It marks the acting debut of Govinda's daughter Narmadda. Says Dharamji, "Govinda's daughter is working for the first time. She's paired with Gippy. She's a lovely girl, and very talented. I am sure she will go places after this film releases."
Dharamji plays a man with roving eyes in Second Hand Marriage. "It's a mischievous role. I've always enjoyed doing comedy. And I hope the audience enjoys watching me do comedy."
Incidentally, Dharamji shares his birthday with one of his favourite co-stars Sharmila Tagore.
He talks fondly of her, "We've done some lovely films together. And we've always cut our birthday cake together on the sets of our films. She is a lovely co-star. All my co-stars are lovely ladies. I wish all of them all the best."
Any birthday wishes?
"I want my well-wishers and audience to continue giving me the same love that they've always given me," says the gentlest action-romantic hero of Indian cinema.
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