So many Bollywood leading stars are pushing 50, but they invariably find themselves paired with actresses who are almost half their age. This has actually been a trend through the years in Bollywood; older heroes who seem ‘evergreen’ or never seem to age, are cast in romantic roles opposite women who are half their age. Now, though, we have started to see a change in that trend, slowly but surely. Just like the industry is pushing the envelope with new-age cinema, and path-breaking themes, we see actresses are teaming up with relatively younger actors.
Just a few examples are Katrina Kaif (33), set to star with Siddharth Malhotra (30) in a love story that spans three decades. Kareena Kapoor Khan (34) has just begun shooting for R Balki’s rom-com Ki and Ka, which features Arjun Kapoor (30) as her co-star. Kareena has also done two films with Imran Khan, who is two years younger to her. Ali Fazal (28) romanced Vidya Balan (37) in Bobby Jasoos in 2014.
The trend proves that we are stepping into a brave, new and perhaps more equitable world. Present day reality is being mirrored and recognised on screen, for, in real life there are plenty of instances where older women and younger men are married or are in a relationship. It proves that Bollywood filmmakers have their pulse on current equations. This may be hugely influential in breaking taboos, conventional mindsets and opening windows for people who still cannot look beyond the traditional older-man-younger-woman relationships.
Earlier, women were so ‘over’ in terms of Bollywood at a certain age, while men could play heroes forever. This reduces that gap and balances the scales, so to speak. It is also heartwarming that these relationships are portrayed realistically and more deeply, going much beyond the ‘she’s just a cougar’ stereotype. It gives women so many more options in Bollywood and a much longer lease of life in the industry. Just like it is for men, now for women too, 30 is the new 20, and 50 is the new 40, or 35 for that matter. More power to the new age (pun intended).