A new story? They’re all years: Anupama Chopra on silvering stars
They’re leaping from cliffs, playing stylish maniacs, redefining destiny. In their 60s and at 80,Anil Kapoor, Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford are furthering the plot.
As Shelly Rungta, an arms dealer in The Night Manager, Anil Kapoor does some truly terrible things. In one scene, he kills a man with a pen. In another, he threatens to throw his partner to a horde of predatory men because he suspects that she is betraying him.
The show is streaming on Disney+ Hotstar, in what is Anil’s 40th year as a leading man (Woh 7 Din was released in 1983). And after years of playing the good guy, he’s turned bad with aplomb. Shelly, suave, superbly styled and very much a murderous maniac, is the best part of The Night Manager.
Anil is 66. Some of his Instagram posts show him training fiercely. Alongside talk of his fitness levels and charisma, the word “evergreen” is now affixed to his name.
This week, another “evergreen” hero exploded onto our screens — Tom Cruise, with Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part 1, the seventh film in the series. Cruise is a global superstar so insistent on entertaining us that he’s willing to risk his life to do it. He’s 61, and, in this film, drives a motorbike off a mountain in Norway, plummets into the ravine below, and deploys a parachute 500 metres before he hits the ground.
To get a sense of the true scale of this stunt, watch the behind-the-scenes video posted by Paramount Pictures on YouTube, titled The Biggest Stunt in Cinema History (it has over 14 million views so far). Cruise made the leap six times, aside from training for a year, doing thousands of motocross jumps, and 500 skydives, all so that in the eventual shot, he is comfortable enough to ride into thin air, leap off the bike, and freefall in carefully choreographed motion.
Harrison Ford, meanwhile, is now 80, and can be seen on screens worldwide, wielding the whip one last time as Indiana Jones in …The Dial of Destiny, released late last month.
There’s even a shirtless scene, in this fifth film in the franchise. Which led to a hilarious moment at the post-premiere press conference at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. A reporter remarked that Ford was “still very hot”. “I’ve been blessed with this body,” he responded. “Thanks for noticing.”
This month will also see the release of Rocky aur Rani kii Prem Kahaani, in which Dharmendra, 87; Shabana Azmi, 72; and Jaya Bachchan, 75, play pivotal roles, propelling the narrative alongside lead actors Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt.
Cruise has said he is inspired by Ford, and has no plans to retire. I suspect Anil will keep going too. As will the likes of Jaya and Amitabh Bachchan, 80; Dharmendra and Azmi; Helen Mirren, 77 and Sharmila Tagore, 78. Which is a wonderful thing.
As Ford so memorably said in the first Indiana Jones movie, …Raiders of the Lost Ark, 42 years ago: “It’s not the years, honey. It’s the mileage.”