Bollywood struggles with so many regressive issues and ageism in Bollywood or Hindi Film Industry is one of them. While women half the age of the male actor are cast as their love interests and women the same age as theirs are cast as their mothers. While male actors are justified in playing the lead roles at any age, female actors can only feature in lead roles until they are of a certain age. After that, they are cast as mothers of actors their age or older to them.
From time to time, many actors have voiced their concerns over ageism in the Hindi cinema industry. But, it seems like Bollywood hardly cares. From time to time, it has shamelessly cast female actors as mothers to actors older than them:
Here are popular examples of female actors, who played mothers to actors who were older than them:
1. Richa Chaddha in ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’
In Gangs of Wasseypur (2012), Richa Chadda portrayed Nagma Khatoon. In real life, she was just 24 years old, but she played Nagma, the mother of Nawazuddin Siddique, who was 38 years old at that time. Later, Richa Chaddha confessed that playing the mother of an older man in Gangs of Wasseypur at the age of 24 was a risk. And, she made sure that she no longer selects films just for being onscreen; rather selects films to act in.
Do you know Chadha was also offered to play the mother of Hrithik Roshan in the film Agneepath? However, she rejected the role. Finally, Zarina Wahab, who is 14 years older than Roshan played that role.
2. Shefali Shah in ‘Waqt’
In Waqt: The Race Against Time(2005), Shefali Shah played Sumitra Thakur, the mother of lead actor Akshay Kumar’s character. Shefali Shah opened up about how she was disappointed to play Akshay Kumar’s mother when he was 38 & she was 28.
3. Sonali Kulkarni in ‘Bharat’
In Bharat(2019), 44-year-old Sonali Kulkarni played the mother of 53-year-old Salman Khan who played the real role of Bharat Kumar.
4. Reema Lagoo in ‘Vaastav’
Reema Lagoo played the mother of Sanjay Dutt in Vaastav: The Reality (1999). At that time, she was 41 years old at the time whereas Dutt was forty years old.
5. Supriya Karnik in ‘Welcome’
In Welcome (2007), actor Supriya Karnik played the aunt of the main lead Akshay Kumar. Karnik is 7 years younger than Kumar.
6. Rohini in ‘Agnipath’
In the 1990 original Agnipath, Rohini played the role of Amitabh Bachchan’s ageing mother. While she was 35 when the movie came out, Amitabh was 48. Let that sink in.
7. Rakhee in ‘Shakti’
Rakhee was the leading lady in many of Bachchan’s films such as Kabhi Kabhi and Bemisaal. But, later she played his mother in Shakti (1982) when she was 35 years old and Bachchan was 40 years old.
8. Nargis in ‘Mother India’
In Mother India, Nargis was only 26 years old while Sunil Dutt, who played her son, was 28 years old. In 1957, Nargis won the Filmfare Award for Best Actor for her performance in Mother India. And, the very next year, Dutt and Nargis tied the knot.
9. Sheeba Chaddha in ‘Zero’
As we all know zero was a box-office failure. But, do you know Shah Rukh Khan was 53 years old and the woman who plays the role of his mother, Sheeba Chaddha was 46. How was this okay?
10. Seema Biswas in ‘Bacchan Pandey’
In this mafia comedy, Seema Biswas (57), an acclaimed thespian, who delivered some of the finest performances throughout her career, played Akshay Kumar’s (54) mother.
11. Mona Singh in ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’
Recently many netizens came forward to share their disappointment about casting 40-year-old Mona Singh as the mother of 57-year-old Aamir in the movie.
Dear Bollywood, it’s the 21st century and we are tired of persistent sexism in your movies! Can you please get well soon and stop treating women actresses as products with an expiry date?