Bollywood, as an industry, has had many awakenings recently. 'Item songs' are not considered harmless anymore; pay gap is widely discussed with actresses demanding their due; and women are taking centre-stage with strong, powerful roles written for them. However, there are many stereotypes that the industry hasn't been able to step away from.
Take for example how women are cast in a movie: as glamour quotients, as mothers/sisters/wives to male leads, or simply as spectators. What's bizarre is that women young enough to play female leads in the movie are actually playing mothers to actors!
In Salman Khan's last film Bharat, 44-year-old actress Sonali Kulkarni played the mother to 53-year-old Salman. And get this: his leading lady in the movie, Katrina Kaif, is 35-years-old! Sigh.
This isn't the first time this has happened. Several actresses, including Dia Mirza, have gone on record to say that they feel like they are too old to play the lead and too young to play the mother. No young woman is approached to play the role of an actress' mother, but when it comes to the leading men, a good-looking young mom is a go-to option. Turns out, ageism in Bollywood isn't new! Remember the iconic movie, Mother India from 1957? Nargis Dutt played the role of Sunil Dutt's mother, while both the actors were 28-years-old. That's why it's a given in Bollywood that if a woman gets married and have kids, she doesn't get meaty roles anymore!
Here is a list of films that had mothers younger that the lead actors and it will definitely leave you thinking.
Waqt, a turning point for Priyanka Chopra's career, starring Akshay Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan had Shefali Shah playing the role of Akshay Kumar's mother. Akshay Kumar was 38 years old when this film released in 2005 and Shefali Shah was 32, playing the role of a 63-year-old woman who was Amitabh Bachchan's wife! That's twice her age.
Shah Rukh Khan's last disaster movie, Zero featured the 53-year-old Badshah of Bollywood, 35-year-old Katrina Kaif and 31-year-old Anushka Sharma in the lead roles. Forty-six-year-old Sheeba Chaddha played the role of SRK's mother in the movie.
Undoubtedly one of Sanjay Dutt's most iconic movies, the role of then 41-year-old Sanjay Dutt's mother was played by then 41-year-old, Reema Lagoo. She was greatly praised for her monologue in the film, but everyone overlooked the fact that they were in fact the same age!
Has the 'shelf-life' of actresses reduced to a point that 39-year-old Prachi Desai is asked to play the role of 31-year-old Varun Dhawan in films like Judwaa 2? And actresses as young as 26-year-old Alia Bhatt are cast opposite 53-year-old Salman Khan in movies like Inshallah?
Well, what more can we say on this subject other than, grow up, Bollywood!
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