Age in Bollywood is just a number. Is it not?
I Certainly Believe our Actors Must be Vampires.
Time has changed yet, they remain the same. They can still perform jaw-dropping stunts and romance stunning young actresses. Remind you of any particular vampires?
This is just the scenario in Bollywood where the old actors are still given the roles of twenty-year-olds. Take Salman Khan for instance, who was in his fifties when he played the role of Anushka Sharma’s love interest in the 2016 hit movie, Sultan (Anushka being only in her twenties then).
It is a recurring trend in the film industry dating back to the ’90’s and perhaps earlier to that. One of the most notable ones being Deewana (1992), starring Rishi Kapoor (40) and Divya Bharti (18).
Longer Shelf Life for Actors; What About Actresses?
The issue arises as to why our actors have a longer shelf life in Bollywood while it is not the case with their female counterparts. It goes to show that even in this seemingly happy little tinsel town, the rule of patriarchy dominates.
Most actresses past thirty are relegated the role of an aunt or a mother. This is not a bad thing, but when one turns the other side, the prejudice of age in Bollywood is harsh; one cannot help but notice how men, some of whom are older to these women, are given roles that do not suit their ages at all.
Every once in a blue moon, there comes a movie where the issue of age in Bollywood is fipped on its age- the leading hero, or shall we say heroine, is past her thirties. Instances of this can be seen in movies like The Dirty Picture (2011), starring Vidya Balan (32) and Mardaani (2014), starring Rani Mukherjee (36), where both actresses performed their roles better than any twenty-year-old ever could.
These movies exist but are fewer in number compared to the greater number of movies done by their male counterparts.
Our favourite actresses like Rani Mukherjee, Kajol Devgan, Juhi Chawla, who have great chemistry with actors like Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan, Sanjay Dutt, and the like, have been replaced by younger actresses who are half their ages.
That’s the hypocritical truth. Would you enjoy Juhi Chawla running around in mini skirts for Dhoom 3?
Not Surprising. NOT AT ALL!
What makes accepting this fact so easy? It is because our very society has been moulded on this ground. Seeing older men romancing younger women is not a new thing. Heck! Several older men STILL marry underage girls- child marriages and underage sex exploitation are hard facts we Indians grapple with till date.
In almost every movie, the men generically dominate the scenes, which is highlighted by their bulky physique and the leading roles that they perform. This happens at the expense of the women’s roles being reduced to that of mere eye-candies.
Please note the specime in the above poster. Our society promotes women empowerment, but to which hypocritical end?
As much as we love our actors, it is not always pleasant to watch them romancing actresses who could even pass off as their nieces and daughters. It is revolting, lets just accept that.
Time for a Change
Besides, it is not only the problem of patriarchy here; it also has to do with the need for a change.
It would be refreshing to see these not so young actors playing roles more suitable for their ages. There are many young and talented actors out there like Rajkumar Rao, Siddharth Malhotra, and the like, who have not been given more roles than they deserve.
Change is necessary for progress. The film industry needs to resolve the prejudice of age in Bollywood and has to start exploring new directions in order for it to progress in unchartered waters.
Or it needs to gear up for a slow decline of soft power in the coming millennium. Guaranteed.
Image Credits: Google Images