Dench: "Marigold Hotel" a hit for its take on aging

It's not an obvious recipe for box office magic: a Bollywood crew, a cast of British senior citizens and a crumbling Indian guesthouse. Yet "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" was such a hit that it's back with "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel."

This time with an American love interest. Richard Gere joined the who's who cast of English acting nobility of Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith and leading ladies Judi Dench and Penelope Wilton, CBS News' Elizabeth Palmer reports.

"I think the strength of the film and why it appealed to people was because it kicked against everything we understand about getting older," Dench said.

The original movie grossed $136 million worldwide, and the sequel is already a smash hit in Britain.

The hotel guests may be older, but in the movie they start new lives, new careers and they even fall in love.

"That's what the appeal is, that they all, I mean all of them of course with money, are able to do it. But that they all do something rather than just be put in a room with a lot of other people and everything's shut down," Dench said.

Judi Dench releases video as "M" from James B... 00:57

In life, as on screen, in spite of failing eyesight, Dench is not shutting down. After her iconic role as M in the Bond film "Skyfall," she starred in three more movies back to back, was nominated for an Oscar and even has a new beau, conservationist David Mills.

Wilton too is at the top of her game, starring in "Downton Abbey" as the sensible do-gooder, Isobel Crawley.

Wilton began her acting career in London in the 1960s. Dench started out in theater and cabaret a decade earlier. They've been friends for almost 40 years.

Both are now household names and famous worldwide, even on location.

"Well, Judy's a megastar wherever she goes," Wilton said.

"Excuse me, that's not true!" Dench retorted.

"Well, quite a megastar," Wilton responded.

"She makes it up!" Dench said.

"I didn't, I didn't," Wilton said.

Dench and Wilton have starred in the same movie before, memorably "Iris." In a scene in the movie, the two shower together. They said it's harder to get naked on screen as they get older.

"It's quite difficult in life, I think," Dench said.

"Yes, quite!" Wilton said.

"Catch myself in life once," Dench said.

"When I'm walking along sometimes you see yourself in a mirror of a shop, and you go like, 'Oh look at -- Oh! It's me,'" Wilton said, laughing.

And they're mildly astonished at their ages to be still so much in demand.

"It's a question of luck and where you are at a certain time and whether somebody who's got a script thinks you could play that part. But don't for a minute imagine you're the only person because right here there are a whole stream of people waiting to just go phumph," Dench said, nudging Wilton with her elbow.

Just after shooting wrapped up on the "Marigold Hotel" sequel, Dench turned 80 years old.

When asked what she's looking forward to, Dench said she doesn't "look forward much," but "I just get on with things, really."

"Live in the moment," Wilton said.

"Yes, live in the moment for goodness sake, carpe diem," Dench said. "I have it written outside my house on a piece of slate. Seize the day, I reckon. Don't waste any time."

Clearly age is no reason at all to leave center stage.