OLDER HEROINES, YOUNGER HEROES... WORK
Bollywood is said to be a maledominated industry, where the heroes held on to the reins of their fame for years and withstood several hits and duds, only to keep on shining on the silver screen despite their greying hair and innumerable wrinkles. But their time on celluloid may purely be linked to the passion that they had for their craft, which didn’t let the “age gap” between them and their female lead be evident to the public. Heavily caked faces, fab songs and interesting storylines, which complimented the superb acting skills of these jodis did the math right for them and voila, the age gap went out of the window!
If you’re thinking that this was only happening back in the ‘70s or ‘80s, you’re probably wrong! In the ‘90s Kuch Kuch Hota Hai had Shahrukh Khan, who was 33 back then, romancing a 20-yearold Rani Mukerji. The Sui Dhaaga actor Anushka Sharma was just 20 when she debuted opposite the King of Romance in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. But we can’t just blame poor SRK, top actors like Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar and Ajay Devgn have romanced heroines onscreen who were literally half their age. But just like chemistry, the equations between the actors have started changing and the filmmakers have started experimenting like never before. Call it chalk ‘n’ cheese or whatever you may like, there has been a distinct shift in the baali umar of the heroines. The experimental pairing of a well-established, older heroines with a comparatively newer, younger hero has started working wonders! And we’re sure, you must have loved a few of the hatke pairings onscreen recently. Let’s zoom into the ajab gajab pairings that are hitting the bull’s eye.
“Waking up”to it!
Perhaps the perception of the desi audience of a “perfect pairing” was flawed for quite some time. And although we loved the stereotypical jodis back then, the new wave of cinema, and that too mainstream experimental one, seems to have started in the year 2009. And the one to introduce a newer taste of pairing to the NextGen moviegoers was filmmaker Ayan Mukerji. Debuting with a hatke pairing is the risk that the lad took and we got to see the very art filmi Konkana Sen Sharma paired opposite Ranbir Kapoor in Wake up Sid. The pairing was pretty odd but somehow worked wonders onscreen, and the film still stands as a trendsetter of sorts. With a subtle take on live-in relationships and the millennial life of the youth in a metropolis, the film silently started a trend – that of pairing an elder heroine with a younger hero. And man, this definitely changed the ball game altogether! This unique concept of romance thus started to be tapped on by several others in Tinsel Town since then.
Been there, done that.
The one person who introduced this trend in a subtle way a few years before that was Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. She is one of the few actors who has managed to rule
the roost even post motherhood. The former beauty queen has been lauded for her performances since the time she entered Tinsel Town. But did you notice that it was Ash who actually started romancing younger actors onscreen? Her recent pairings with Rajkummar Rao in Fanney Khan and Ranbir Kapoor in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil were lauded. Incidentally, the Josh actor was paired opposite a much younger Zayed Khan in Shabd, exboyfriend Vivek Oberoi in Kyun! Ho Gaya Na… and also hubby dearest Abhishek Bachchan in Dhai Akshar Prem Ke, Kuch Naa Kaho, Umrao Jaan, Guru and Raavan. What’s interesting is that the age gap between Ash and Abhi has been evidently spotlighted in Mani Ratnam’s film.
Moving on to the queen of Aditya Chopra’s heart, actor Rani Mukerji, who’d been on the other side of the fence once, seems to have rejigged her thoughts about working with younger men. When asked about the changing trend of pairing onscreen, she reportedly quipped, “I will be very comfortable romancing younger actors on screen. I have romanced many actors on screen. As an actor, I am here to follow the instruction of film directors.” The Hichki actor, who was paired opposite Shahid Kapoor in Dil Bole Hadippa! and Prithviraj in Aiyaa, seems to be game for it and we can’t wait to see her more onscreen.
Ishq but hatke!
Another one from the brood, the fab Baazigar actor Kajol, who’s also romanced actors elder to her, has been pretty vocal about things around her. When the Fanaa actor was asked about her opinion about the changing taste of the audience and her take on it, she allegedly said, “I am open to that. I have never refused a film, because of anyone else who is in it. It
depends on the script and casting. We worry about who suits the script, rather than if they are big enough for the film.” She added, “I honestly feel that this is a fantastic time in the film industry. Everything is possible right now. We have finally achieved what Hollywood did, sixty years ago.”
Talking about gender roles and openly addressing the new trend of the concept of reverse age gap and flexi gender roles was R. Balki’s film Ki & Ka. Kareena Kapoor Khan, who has been around for quite some time, was portrayed as a young ambitious woman who is pretty chilled about having a husband younger than her. Arjun Kapoor, who played a house husband was all praises about the way the subject had been dealt with. A fan-boy of our darling Bebo, the duo made sure that they presented a sizzling chemistry onscreen.
..Yes, it surely seems like the filmmakers have developed a special interest in this latest reversal trend. Post starring opposite the Ishaqzaade actor Arjun Kapoor in Ki & Ka, she was cast opposite the Punjabi sensation Diljit Dosanjh in Udta Punjab in the same year. The Jab We Met actor, during the promotions of one of her movies, apparently said that she was okay with being paired opposite the younger crop. When asked about who she would pick out of the young crop to star with, she reportedly averred, “Varun Dhawan. But I can’t work with him, he was David Dhawan’s little son on the sets of Hero No.1. But you never know. I may end up romancing Varun on screen.” Fast forward: Post birthing Taimur Ali Khan, she chose to begin her second innings opposite Sumeet Vyas, a prominent name from the digital space. Whether it was a clever trick to not be overshadowed by the fame of another famous contemporary actor or not, the math worked for the Tashan actor in Veere Di Wedding. The equation between the duo was appreciated by many and got a thumbs-up from the critics as well. Even though the conventional form of pairing is still on, we cannot wait to see more such unique pairings. And who knows, the trend might take over completely in no time. After all, Bollywood throws surprises at you and you can’t help but marvel at them.