Time and time again, Bollywood has been called out for the dramatic age gaps between the leading couple. More often than not, the women are nauseatingly younger than the big, male megastars. So why, in spite of innumerable warnings does this phenomenon continue to persist?
Former Casting Director Atul Mongia revealed in an interview, that the reason behind the normalisation of a radical age difference between male and female actors in a commercial film is simple: “It’s patriarchy,” he claims, adding, “Women are objectified in commercial cinema. So, once they reach a certain age, or get married and have children, they don’t have enough appeal to them and they are no longer seen as women of desire.”
It’s bizarre enough that the entire industry has normalized this sexist mindset, but what’s worse is that they perpetuate a very harmful message: women have an expiry date, while men transcend the bounds of age.
As the world moves forward from toxic, hegemonic ideals, Bollywood is still stuck deep in the trenches of patriarchy, exhibiting no signs of getting out.
These age gaps in upcoming movies are further proof that Bollywood has no intention of fixing its irksome ways:
1. Prithviraj – 30 Years
Manushi Chhillar is 24-years-old, while the mass churner of commercial films, Akshay Kumar, is a whopping 54. If you are not disturbed by this, I’m sorry but that’s problematic on a whole new level.
2. Kabhi Eid Kabhi Diwali – 25 Years
Aah, the 56-year-old Salman Khan is a veteran offender of romancing women who are dangerously almost half his age. In this case, the victim is Pooja Hegde who is 31. The film also stars Kriti Sanon who is also, you guessed it, way too young for him at 31.
3. Raksha Bandhan – 22 years
Back again on the list is a no brainer, Akshay Kumar, and this time the unfortunate victim is none other than Bhumi Pednekar at 32-years-of-age. Why Bhumi? Why?
4. Pathaan – 20 Years
King Khan has been paired opposite Deepika Padukone way too many times, but their age difference will never not be unpleasant. Khan is 56 while Padukone is 36.
Sadly we live in a world where a 10-year age gap is considered acceptable. Don’t get me wrong, it is still gross, but I’ll take it over the ones above. Nonetheless, I’m going to call them out anyway:
5. Bramhastra – 10 Years
I mean these two got married, but it still doesn’t put to bed the ick factor in their age gap. Bhatt is 29-years-old, while Kapoor is 39.
6. Liger – 10 Years
Liger marks the Telegu debut for Ananya Panday, 23, and the Bollywood debut of Vijay Deverakonda, 33. Big deal for both of them, but you’re telling me the producers couldn’t have found a leading pair closer to age?
It all boils down to the fact that Bollywood sees women as nothing more than objects of desire who cater to one sole purpose in films – and we all know it’s not the plot. They’re nothing more than sex symbols for the lead hero to assert his masculinity. As a woman ascends on the age scale her range of desirability descends in commercial cinema. Thus you will never find a megastar with a cult following romance anyone his own age. Extremely sexist, dishonourable to women and outright vile.