By now, you’d watch Akshay Kumar on your screens more frequently than you visit your best friend. In the last two years, your mode of entertainment perhaps switched from theatres to laptops to theatres again, but some things have stayed unchanged and unbothered: Akshay Kumar-starrers.
So, when an actor knocks at your screen day in and day out; it’s reasonable to dissect his films more than others of his kind. And while binge-watching his films, if we run into a pattern that’s recurrent, and pretty problematic, then we’re bound to call it out.
Case in point: Bachchhan Pandey.
This gangster-comedy starring 54-year-old Akshay Kumar in the lead role apparently has the cosmos revolving around him, including female actors, not one but two, half his age.
Sophie, played by Jacqueline Fernandez (36), makes a cameo to justify why Bachchhan became the sinister mister that he is. Minutes into the romantic track, she gets smitten by his charm. Mind you, the age-gap between the two is nearly two decades!
A tragic turn of events did not allow them a ‘happily ever after’ and years later Bachchhan is infatuated by Myra played by Kriti Sanon, an even younger actress.
The love angle between the 31-year-old Kriti Sanon and 54-year-old Akshay Kumar was perhaps mild but unnecessary, to say the least. It didn’t contribute a single iota of value to the narrative and had no bearing on the plot.
The issue of ‘age disparity’ intensifies, rather turns even more bizarre in the film when Seema Biswas, a 57-year-old talented actress, plays Akshay Kumar’s mother.
The actress, who roared as Phulan Devi in Bandit Queen with menacing eyes, had only one significant sequence with four dialogues in total.
This Akshay Kumar-starrer has underscored a wide range of age-gap issues, all in the same movie. a) As an actor grows older, he can romance actresses who are way younger than him. b) But the moment an actress reaches the age threshold, she’s typecast into specific roles that bear miniscule value.
All things considered, it’s not just the actor’s fault but the casting director’s as well. This exemplifies the blood boiling ageism and sexism that is entrenched in Bollywood, and it’s past time we addressed it.