Sexism in Bollywood is a thesis waiting to be written. People might be slightly more aware today about the misogynistic practises in the entertainment business, but they haven’t gone so far as to correcting them. That would be too radical, clearly.
An Instagram handle called Muvyz, has been tracking the latest on Bollywood, and has been keeping score of how Bollywood has always revolved around middle-aged men romancing women significantly and disturbingly younger than them.
1. Akshay Kumar (51) and Kriti Sanon (28)
Shooting for Sajid Khan’s Housefull 4, Akshay Kumar will be seen alongside Kriti Sanon. Interestingly, this is one franchise that’s been a constant for Kumar and Riteish Deshmukh, while the women keep changing like props on a set. Starting with Deepika Padukone to Asin to Jacqueline Fernandez to Sanon, as Kumar has only gotten older, the age of the heroine stays the same (by a sorcery called patriarchy).
2. Bobby Deol (49) and Kriti Kharbanda (29)
In the same film as the earlier pair, Deol seems to be keeping up with the times. The actor, since his return to the big screen with Race 3, is only doing franchises like Housefull and Yamla Pagla Deewana – films that also take the fight for equal rights back by a few years with each successive release.
3. Dev Anand (66) and Madhavi (27)
Starring together in 1989’s Lashkar, Dev Anand took the half-your-age-plus-seven rule and threw it in the trash. He acted opposite Madhavi who still had six years to at least be half as old as her on-screen lover. But in the wise words of Bollywood, chalta hai.
4. Sunny Deol (56) and Urvashi Rautela (19)
The bade papa of age differences was between Sunny Deol casting a 19-year-old Urvashi Rautela opposite him in Singh Saab The Great in his home production. Supposed to be a comeback for Deol, the audience neither took to the film nor this lead pair.
5. Amitabh Bachchan (55) and Soundarya (26)
In Sony Max mainstay, Sooryavansham, Amitabh Bachchan played both the father and the son. So while he pretended to play someone older with a thick grey beard, he also played the benign, clean-shaven son – Heera Thakur.
This is not the first time the massive age gap between Bollywood lead actors and their leading ladies is being discussed. The men always happen to be significantly older. This holds true for the Khans (all of them in their 50s) whose co-stars continue to be consistently in their late 20s. Bollywood, could you adult at least a tiny bit please?