Male actors in Bollywood never grow old, and female actors have a short ‘shelf life’. And, this terrible double standard is the reason why young female actors are paired with outrageously old male actors in a creepy setting. It is quite disappointing how Bollywood movies are striving hard so that audiences don’t find anything wrong with male actors being double the age of their love interests. Bollywood may attempt to normalize this ridiculous age gap, but the reality is – it isn’t romantic, it is creepy.
Here are some of the most shocking pairings Bollywood saw. And you’ll be shocked to know how old these actors were when these films were shot:
1. Prithviraj – Akshay Kumar & Manushi Chillar
(Age Difference: 30 years)
With the age difference of three freaking decades, Akshay Kumar’s new historical drama was with former Miss World Manushi Chhillar. Manushi, who plays Kumar’s love interest, is only 24 years old. With an age gap of 30 years, many couldn’t stop but wonder how makers even thought of this ridiculous paring.
2. Lucky No Time For Love – Salman Khan and Sneha Ullal
(Age Difference: 23 years)
Sneha Ullal was only 17 years old when the movie came out and Salman Khan was a 40-year-old man. If this isn’t creepy, then what is?
3. Singh is Bling – Akshay Kumar and Amy Jackson
(Age Difference: 25 years)
Akshay Kumar’s co-lead in the film, Amy Jackson, was only 23 at the time the movie was released. Akshay, on the other hand, was 48 at the time and thus, 25 years her senior. He was more than double the age of Amy Jackson. Does this (now) 53-year-old man work with any actors other than barely-legal-aged women?
4. Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi – Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma
(Age Difference: 23 years)
Sharukh Khan, who was 43 at that time, was seen romancing Anushka Sharma, who was just 19 years old. This age gap was as creepy as him catfishing his wife.
5. Lingaa – Rajinikanth and Sonakshi Sinha
(Age difference: 37 years)
Of course, the quintessential Rajinikanth made an entry in the list. This list couldn’t be complete without him. And, the ridiculous age gap is pretty standard for Rajinikanth.
6. Wanted – Salman Khan and Ayesha Takia
(Age Difference: 21 years)
Is there even a single recent movie where any of the Khans were cast against the female lead born in the same decade as them?
7. Om Shanti Om – Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone
(Age difference: 21 years)
Come on SRK, why did you go from working with actresses your age to working with actresses 20 years younger? This ridiculous age gap was as creepy as the movie’s reincarnation plotline.
8. Akshay Kumar & Radhika Madaan in an untitled remake of south Indian movie – Soorarai Pottru
(Age difference: 28 Years)
Irrfan Khan, who is the same age as Akshay Kumar, played Radhika Madaan’s father in English Medium.
9. Another mention: Dabangg 3 – Salman Khan and Saiee Manjrekar
Age difference: 33 years
This one comes with an asterisk as Saiee did play a character opposite Salman but they did show him playing a younger version of himself. What makes it even creepier is the fact that this image exists.
The question is not whether it is okay for a 55-year-old man to be romancing a 20-something in his movies. The question is why is this the norm? Why is it frowned upon and ridiculed when the sides are swapped? Why are women overlooked in the industry after a certain age, while male actors are not affected by their age?
Many women have disappeared altogether from the industry because they got too ‘old’ to play the love interests anymore. In fact, actresses who are younger than these male actors have played their mothers on the big screen. This treatment is not meted out to male actors, especially those who are renowned. In fact, Bollywood movies with male actors who are significantly older than their female counterparts is now a norm, rather than an exception.