Time and time again, Bollywood has been called out for the dramatic age gaps between the lead couple. More often than not, women are younger than the big male stars. So why, despite countless warnings, does this phenomenon persist?
Former casting director Atul Mongia revealed in a interviewthat the reason behind normalizing a drastic age difference between male and female actors in commercial film is simple: “It’s patriarchy,” he claims, adding, “Women are objectified in the commercial cinema. So once they get to a certain age, or get married and have kids, they don’t have enough appeal for them and they’re not seen as women of desire anymore.”
It’s kind of weird that the whole industry has normalized this sexist mindset, but what’s worse is that they perpetuate a very harmful message: women have an expiration date, while men transcend age limits.
As the world moves away from toxic and hegemonic ideals, Bollywood is still stuck deep in the trenches of patriarchy, showing no signs of getting out.
These age gaps in upcoming films are further proof that Bollywood has no intention of fixing its fastidious ways:
1. Prithviraj – 30 years
Manushi Chhillar is 24, while commercial movie masher Akshay Kumar is 54. If that doesn’t bother you, I’m sorry, but that’s problematic on a whole other level.
2. Kabhi Eid Kabhi Diwali – 25 years old
Aah, 56-year-old Salman Khan is a veteran of romance with women who are dangerously nearly half his age. In this case, the victim is Pooja Hegde who is 31 years old. The film also stars Kriti Sanon who is also, you guessed it, far too young for him at 31.
3. Raksha Bandhan – 22 years old
Back on the list, there is the obvious, Akshay Kumar, and this time the unfortunate victim is none other than 32-year-old Bhumi Pednekar. Why Bhumi? Why?
4. Pathan – 20 years old
King Khan has been paired with Deepika Padukone too many times, but their age difference will never be unpleasant. Khan is 56 years old while Padukone is 36.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where a 10 year age gap is considered acceptable. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still gross, but I’ll take it on those above. Nonetheless, I’m still going to call them:
5. Bramhastra – 10 years
I mean these two got married, but that still doesn’t fix the disgusting factor of their age gap. Bhatt is 29, while Kapoor is 39.
6. Liger – 10 years old
Liger marks the Telegu debut for 23-year-old Ananya Panday and the Bollywood debut of 33-year-old Vijay Deverakonda. It’s a big deal for both of them, but you’re telling me the producers couldn’t have found a pair of heads closer in age?
It all comes down to the fact that Bollywood only sees women as objects of desire that serve a single purpose in movies – and we all know that’s not the plot. They are nothing more than sexual symbols for the main hero to assert his masculinity. As a woman moves up the age scale, her range of desirability descends in commercial cinema. So you’ll never find a megastar with a cult following romance with someone her own age. Extremely sexist, dishonorable for women and downright despicable.