Netizens have called out the casting of Sonali Kulkarni as Salman Khan's mother in this year's Eid release, Bharat.
The actor, who is 44 years old, plays the mother of Bharat, portrayed by the 53-year-old actor, Salman Khan.
Sonali Kulkarni, nine years younger than Salman Khan, plays his mother in Bharat. And that's all you need to know about Bollywood in 2019.— Sayantan Ghosh (@sayantansunnyg) June 5, 2019
Is it just me or there are others too who are shocked at the ingrained misogyny and blatant Khan brand exploitation in Bollywood industry that Sonali Kulkarni who is 10 years younger to Salman Khan is made to play his mother in the movie Bharat?#Shameful— Sneha Sekhsaria (@drsneha) June 7, 2019
Sonali Kulkarni, 9 years younger than Salman Khan, plays his mother in Bharat.— Retired Vasooli Bhai (@Vishj05) June 6, 2019
Disha Patani, 27 years younger than Salman Khan, plays his love interest in Bharat.
Fun fact: Sonali Kulkarni, who plays Salman Khan's mother in the movie Bharat is actually 9 years younger than Salman in real life 😂— Sandy (@dinomonicfc) June 7, 2019
In an interview with News18, Sonali responded to the criticism. She explained that she has played a variety of characters from the beginning of her career-
Of course, I thought of my age. It did cross my mind, but I have been playing a variety of characters since the beginning of my career. In my first film, I was a tree... In 'Daayraa', I was a boy. Similarly, in 'Mission Kashmir', I have played a surrogate mother to Hrithik. After that movie, I happened to sign 'Dil Chahta Hai'.
While initially Sonali had her doubts whether she'll be able to play the role of a mother, she stated that the director, Ali Abbas Zafar, put her doubts to rest.
She further adds that people didn't criticise her when she played Sanjay Dutt’s wife and Hrithik’s mother in Mission Kashmir.
They (makers) never said, ‘Now, how do we cast her as a leading lady of 'Dil Chahta Hai'?’ Nobody asked me that question. Nobody rejected me. So this faith and the ongoing relationship, that I have with makers, audience and critics, is only helping me to grow confident and love my profession more and more.
In another interview, she says that her roles are her choice and she proudly stands by them.
This is of course not the first time that a younger actor is playing mother to a Bollywood male superstar. The increasing age gap between the leading protagonists has become a phenomenon in Bollywood. And we wonder if this age-gap would be accepted just as easily if the roles were reversed & a younger male actor played a father to an older female actor.