They say age is in the mind and you’re as old as you feel.
Bollywood’s senior heroes swear by this mantra.
As problematic as it sounds, the general perception is that while the heroine gets ‘old’ to romance a hero after a certain point, the hero never ages.
The younger his leading lady, the better are his chances of appearing cool and desirable in public eyes.
All we know of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s next film Inshallah is that is it a love story starring Salman Khan and Alia Bhatt.
He’s 53. She’s 26.
It’s bizarre, but not surprising.
After all, didn’t the actor fall in love with a school girl in Lucky: No Time For Love and get all lovey-dovey around 27-year-old Disha Patani in his last release, Bharat?
On that note, Sukanya Verma looks at some striking age gaps between the onscreen romantic couples of Hindi movies.
Ajay Devgn-Rakul Preet Singh
Whatever one’s feelings about De De Pyaar De may be, it owns up to its age difference to highlight the romance between a 50-year-old Ajay Devgn and his 20-something girlfriend, played by Rakul Preet Singh.
One would still acknowledge the so-called bold premise, if Tabu, the other (read older heroine) wasn’t at the receiving end of ageist jokes and dull, dreary suitors.
Shahid Kapoor and Kiara Advani
For the longest time, Shahid Kapoor held the post as the poster boy for all things boyish.
His hard-hitting, mature portrayals and scruffy appearances in Haider and Udta Punjab subverted that imagery considerably.
At 38, he’s playing the obsessive lover of the 26-year old Kiara Advani in Kabir Singh.
Seeing the level of moolah it’s raking, the audience doesn’t seem to mind the age difference one bit.
Ranveer Singh and Sara Ali Khan
Ranveer Singh is exploding with youthful energy.
Sara Ali Khan is mature beyond her years.
The 10-year age gap between the two would barely even register if it weren’t for Ranveer’s slightly ageing moustached look in Rohit Shetty’s Simmba.
Sushant Singh Rajput and Sanjana Sanghi
If you thought Sara was too young to play Sushant Singh Rajput’s love interest in Kedarnath, the 33 year old’s next called Dil Bechara — based on the bestseller The Fault in Our Stars — pairs him opposite Sanjana Sanghi, all of 22.
Akshay Kumar and Kiara Advani, Amy Jackson, Kriti Sanon, Bhumi Pednekar, Sonakshi Sinha, Tamannah Bhatia, Deepika Padukone, Anushka Sharma, Sonam Kapoor, Radhika Apte
There’s no doubt the Khiladi is one of Bollywood’s fittest 51 year olds around.
But there’s a good 20-something age difference between him and his loooong line-up of lively leading ladies in films like Laxmmi Bomb, Singh is Bling, Housefull 4, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, Rowdy Rathore, It’s Entertainment, Housefull, Patiala House and Padman.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Sanya Malhotra
Although the interaction between Nawaz and Sanya Malhotra doesn’t elaborate on its romantic undertones in Ritesh Batra’s Photograph, the age difference of 18 years between the oddball couple is too much to not take notice.
Hrithik Roshan and Pooja Hegde
In Ashutosh Gowariker’s mega bomb Mohenjadaro, set against the ancient Indus valley civilisation, Hrithik Roshan’s 42-year-old village ‘boy’ goes sweet on the priest’s daughter, played by a then 25-year-old Pooja Hegde.
Whether it is Duggu’s Greek God good looks or how awful the movie is, nobody cared nor noticed.
Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma
Aditya Chopra’s Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi is about a mature, seemingly everyday guy who in wake of extraordinary circumstances gets married to a much younger woman.
Only in Bollywood ‘slightly’ translates to a whopping 23 years.
But the camaraderie between Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma was warm enough to make it click.
No such distinction or nuance can be found in their subsequent pairings together like Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Jab Harry Met Sejal or Zero.
Amitabh Bachchan and Jiah Khan
In the past too, the Big B romanced young heroines like Manisha Koirala, Shilipa Shetty and Tabu in films like Lal Badshah and Cheeni Kum, but nothing quite beats the 46 year age difference between him and newcomer Jiah Khan in Ram Gopal Varma’s Nishabd.
Unlike many other films, the mismatch was deliberate and crucial to the unconventional romance.
Anil Kapoor-Katrina Kaif
When his daughter Sonam was busy carving a niche for herself in tinsel town, daddy — then a 50-something Anil Kapoor — was busy romancing hotties half his age, ranging from Bipasha Basu, Lara Dutta (No Entry), Mallika Sherawat (Welcome) and Kareena Kapoor (Bewafaa).
He even weds a 20-something Katrina Kaif briefly in the Akshay Kumar starrer Humko Deewana Kar Gaye.
These days, he’s back to recreating his popular pairings with Madhuri Dixit (Total Dhamaal) and Juhi Chawla (Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga).
Sanjay Dutt- Lisa Haydon
Sanjay Dutt, who turns 60 on July 29, received a lot of flak for working in the daft comedy Rascals, which is high on innuendo and skimpy 24 year-olds (Kangana Ranaut and Lisa Haydon, back in 2011).
No wonder he felt he’s better off playing father to Aditi Rao Hydari in Bhoomi and father-in-law to Sonakshi in Kalank.
Naseeruddin Shah-Vidya Bala
After tying the knot with Priyanka Chopra in a traditional Bengali wedding in 7 Khoon Maaf, Naseer engaged in some hard-core raunchy moves alongside Vidya Balan in The Dirty Picture to depict the kitschy era of the 1980s Bollywood.
The 28-year gap between him and his previously Ishqiya co-star was never this glaring.
Sunny Deol-Amisha Patel
When a 1956 born Sunny Deol falls for the 1976 born Amisha Patel in Gadar: Ek Prem Katha, people are too busy admiring the muscleman’s forceful punches and kicks to note the disproportion.
Also, Deol’s Sardar get-up conceals a lot and makes him a believable contender for Patel’s affections in 2001’s biggest blockbuster.
Rishi Kapoor-Divya Bharti, Pooja Bhatt, Raveena Tandon
While son Ranbir Kapoor has no qualms about working with women a tad older than him like Konkona Sen Sharma (Wake Up Sid) and Nargis Fakhri (Rockstar), daddy Rishi extended his run as the eternal loverboy vying for the romantic attention of his niece Karisma Kapoor’s peers like Raveena Tandon, Pooja Bhatt and Divya Bharti.
Incidentally, Tandon who watched Chintu on the sets of her director dad Ravi Tandon’s Khel Khel Mein harboured a huge childhood crush on the star.
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