Sairat heroine (15) too young to be a poster girl for inter-caste marriage

The lead actors in Sairat might be appointed as the face of a government scheme to encourage inter-caste marriages, but the minor actress’s age may be a roadblock

After playing two young lovers forced to fight caste discrimination in the hit Marathi movie Sairat, there’s a strong buzz that the lead pair — Akash Thosar and Rinku Rajguru — might soon fight the caste divide in real life as well. There is a strong buzz that the duo could be appointed brand ambassadors of the government’s scheme to encourage inter-caste marriage. However, if this proposal is approved, it could go on to court controversy, as the female lead is a minor.

Akash Thosar and Rinku Rajguru played a young, inter-caste couple in the Marathi film Sairat
Akash Thosar and Rinku Rajguru played a young, inter-caste couple in the Marathi film Sairat

Directed by filmmaker Nagraj Manjule, Sairat tells the story of two college students – a lower-caste boy and an upper-caste girl — who fall hopelessly in love. In just two weeks, the film surpassed all box office records in the Marathi film industry, and is seen as a realistic commentary on the social divide that has culminated in honour killings of several inter-caste couple in the state. Considering this, the lead actors are an apt choice as ambassadors.

However, as per reports coming in from Akluj (Solapur), Rinku, who won a special mention for her performance at the 63rd National Awards, is just 15 years old and has only recently completed Std IX. Her examination results were declared on May 1, and she passed with flying colours. As a senior Mantralaya officer pointed out, Rinku is a few years short of 18, which is the legal marriageable age for women. He added that making a minor one of the brand ambassadors of the marriage scheme would violate the government’s age eligibility norm for couples who can avail of the encouragement scheme.

“Some people are pitching for the Sairat couple, but the age of the heroine may invite controversy. The department will have to think twice before giving a nod to this proposal,” he said.

Social justice minister Rajkumar Badole and his junior minister Dilip Kamble did not respond to either text messages or calls, and neither did director Manjule.

The scheme
>> The male should not be less than 21 years of age and the female should not be younger than 18 years

>> Submission of bride’s school leaving certificate is a must

>> Eligible inter-caste couples will be felicitated at official functions and also receive a cash incentive of R50,000 and gifts of domestic appliances

>> The state and union governments will contribute equally to this scheme.

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