Sushant Rajput In The Fault In Our Stars: Do Bollywood Men Know About Ageing Gracefully?

While his contemporaries in his 50s continue to play 30-somethings on screen, it's understandable why Sushant Rajput believes he can pass off as a teenager.

Considering the worldwide impact of John Green’s book, The Fault In Our Stars, both in the novel itself as well as its 2014 tear-jerker adaptation directed by Josh Boone, it’s no surprise that Bollywood chose to remake it.

The Bollywood version might still be awaiting a title, but news of it in the form of an Instagram post by Sanjana Sanghi in which she’s posing with the book has garnered attention. Once cast as Nargis Fakhri’s sister in 2011’s Rockstar, the actress appears excited about her role as Hazel Grace Lancaster along with her co-lead Sushant Singh Raput, who is playing the role of Augustus Waters.

The problem though (some might say) is that in Green’s book Augustus and Hazel Grace are supposed to be teenagers. And while a 20-year-old Ansel Elgort looked passable as someone in high school, it raises questions on the character’s Bollywood interpretation being played by a 32-year-old Sushant Singh Rajput.

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The charm about The Fault In Our Stars lies in how Green gets his teenage protagonists to say profound things in the most own YA manner, and how the love story serves as a coming-of-age for its characters. It takes the formula of terminally-ill lovers, and injects it with the charm of first love.

Will the well-built Rajput with his carefully groomed stubble, be able to evoke the same sense of empathy? Augustus Waters is a high schooler, 17 years of age, and though at 21, Sneha Sanghi may be able to pass as close enough to Hazel’s 16, the male lead’s 15-year age difference may serve as a distraction. It, once again, reinforces the Bollywood leading man’s fascination with playing, looking younger characters. While Rajput’s senior contemporaries (in their fifties) continue to pretend to be 30-somethings on screen, it’s understandable why Rajput believes he can pass off as a teenager and why the makers see absolutely nothing wrong with it.

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Especially looking at the actor’s failed attempts at feigning the cheerful, upbeat routine of the Bollywood hero in films like Raabta and even in parts of (believe it or not) MS Dhoni: The Untold Story. Honestly, Bollywood has had enough of wrinkled 30-somethings faking the enthusiasm of someone in their early 20s. Or even worse in their teens, like in this case. You have to wonder if you’ll be rooting for two people who are obviously adults the same way you would for a pair of teenagers, who are rushing to live as much as they can on a time crunch.

That being said, we know next to nothing about the movie as of yet. It always is possible that these events could be portrayed in an equally impactful way, especially considering things like separation from family in countries like India happen later in life.

(Written by Kieran Mehra)