"I will continue working till there is strength in my body," is how megastar Amitabh Bachchan prophesied as his two-year-old granddaughter Aaradhya joined other family members in wishing him on his 71st birthday.
"Her mother (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) taught her to sing a happy birthday song. She sang for me but with her own name," an exuberant Bachchan told reporters here.
"Last year, there was a grand celebration as it was the 70th birthday, this year it is quite simple and quiet. Every year it is not possible to do it that way. I met family members and close associates. All I wish for is love and affection on my birthday," the legendary actor said.
Having starred in over 180 films in a career spanning more than four decades, Bachchan continues to hold sway over millions of his fans with his rich baritone on the big screen as well as on TV.
The megastar was born to Hindi poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan and Teji Bachchan in Allahabad on October 11, 1942. Bachchan is one of the busiest actors in Bollywood thanks to his knack for adapting and reinventing himself to the demands of showbiz.
And he wants to continue his innings in acting with the same enthusiasm that he started with.
"The wish is that something challenging comes up everyday... I will continue working till there is strength in my body," he said.
Bachchan marked his birthday by announcing a collaboration between Harivansh Rai Bachchan memorial trust and Urja Foundation to light up 3000 homes through solar energy.
"Millions of our citizens have no access to electricity and through this association we will provide electricity to around 3,000 homes across India who are deprived of it. We are proud to associate with this," he said.
Bachchan said he was keen on working today but the shooting for 'Bhootnath 2' got postponed because of which he is taking it easy.
Thousands of fans gathered outside his bungalow to greet Bachchan, who expressed happiness over the love and warmth from his admirers.
The Bollywood legend said, "As time passes there will be changes in the industry like technology wise, the way people work, newcomers... it is normal. I am glad to be working in this period of time. My blessings for newcomers to excel in their work."
Earlier, Bachchan reached out to his fans through his blog writing: "A strange calmness descends on the eve of the clock that strikes 12 midnight... the family, the few that are in town, bring in the greetings, the 'little one' ably tutored sings a 'happy birthday' to herself first and then after suitable prompting, to me... it's these little moments that make up a birthday ... the bigger moments follow." A reflective Bachchan noted that time seems to be flying faster now than before.
"It is 71 now... just last year or just the other day it was 70! The years seem to pass by faster now than they did before. There was a desire to push the pedal all along those early years, to mature, to become adult, to bring on greater age... now you depress the brakes pedal with equal effort, and hope to stem the slide as it were... no not I.
"... I accept the years the giving up on time, on age...
it shall happen to us all... that is the commonality of the process of life... we are blessed, all of us...!!," he said.
Bachchan started his cinema journey with 'Saat Hindustani' in 1969 and gave blockbusters like 'Zanjeer', 'Deewar' and 'Sholay' in his 'Angry Young Man' avatar.
He went through a bad phase in the '90s but one of the first actors to understand the potential of TV, Bachchan returned as the host of 'Kaun Banega Crorepati', a show that not only helped him overcome his financial troubles but also reconnect with the audience again. He is currently hosting the seventh season of the show.
In this phase of his career, Bachchan starred in hits like 'Mohabbatein', 'Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham', 'Baghban', 'Khakee', 'Black', 'Bunty Aur Babli', 'Cheeni Kum', 'Bhoothnath', 'The Last Lear' and 'Paa'.
The actor made a much delayed foray into Hollywood with a special role in Baz Luhrmann's 'The Great Gatsby' this May and recently starred in Prakash Jha's 'Satyagraha'.
He now plans to make his fiction debut on TV with Anurag Kashyap while movie projects with Umesh Shukla, Sudhir Mishra and Vidhu Vinod Chopra and several other directors keep him busy.