So tell us, why should we boys have all the fun? For decades now, Bollywood heroes have been paired with girls half their age or even less, to sustain their illusion of youth. That trend seems more alive today than ever before , with A-listers like Shah Rukh Khan and Akshay Kumar being paired with heroines their daughter’s age in Toilet: Ek Prem Katha and Jab Harry Met Sejal.
The rules were quite the opposite for the leading ladies who even in their prime were forced to play mothers to heroes they had played leading ladies to. The legendary Waheeda Rehman recalls her horror when she was asked to play mother to her contemporary Jeetendrain a slew of films in the 1980s. It finished off her career as a leading lady.
The gender rules are now changing in Bollywood.Raveena Tandon who looks young enough to play Ranbir and Ranveer’s heroine , firmly says no to all mother’s roles. “Except when I am asked to play a mother to a girl old enough to be my daughter.I am okay with that. But why should I play mom to girls who are just 10 years my junior?”
Raveena has ushered in the trend of heroines working with younger heroes. In her latest release Shab Raveena, 43, was paired with 22-year newcomer Ashish Bisht.
“It was the need of the script. I don’t mind pairing with younger actors. But I also starred with Mr Bachchan in Puri Jagannath’s Buddah Hoga Tera Baap though it was very clearly a much young woman as per the script,” says Raveena.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, 43 who has starred with her husband Abhishek Bachchan, 3 years her junior, in several films, was last seen opposite 35-year old Ankur Bhatia in Sarbjit and 30-year old Ranbir Kapoor in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.
53-year old Sridevi’s co-star in her last film Mom was the 48-year old Adnan Siddiqui.
Katrina Kaif who is 34 was seen with 31-year old Aditya RoyKapoor in Fitoor and 30-year old Sidharth Malhotra in Baar Baardekho.
One now hears Kareena Kapoor has said no to films with Saif Ali Khan.
Says a source close to the actress, “She wants to give her relationship with her husband some space on screen. They’ve turned down a feature film together recently. She wants to work with younger actors. She was paired with Arjun Kapoor who is some years younger to her in R Balki’s Ki & Ka. In her next film VeereDe Wedding her romantic interest is 32-year old Sumeet Vyas.”
A project with Ranveer Singh who has been angling to work with his favourite crush for some time(Ranveer and Kareena were to co-star in Sanjay Bhansali’s Bajirao Mastani) is also on the anvil.
Clearly then, the glamour queens of Bollywood are up in arms against gender rules that permit the male superstars to serenade girls half their age on screen. The leading ladies will now give as good as they get.