Kangana Ranaut slams ageism in Bollywood, say when she joined the film industry, female actors would get their suspension letters by the time they turned thirty.
Shahrukh, Salman and Aamir have hit the half-century mark (in terms of age) but they still continue to rule Bollywood. In fact there are many top actors in their late forties who’re doing good films. Anil Kapoor continues to defy age and gets a variety of roles. Amitabh Bachchan also seems to have his plates full. But what about the older ladies?
For the older ladies in Bollywood, finding good work in Bollywood seems to be almost impossible, and most of them are in their late thirties or early forties.
“When I came to the industry, I felt frightened seeing the way female actors were treated. We work hard as much as our male counterparts, yet, at 28 or 29, women are issued a suspension letter, stating, ‘This profession is not very kind to the fine lines in your face’. Our intellectual growth, wrinkles, grey hair are frowned upon. I don’t want my job to be identified by my gender. I would like to leave this profession on my terms, not because my wrinkles are frowned upon,” Kangana Ranaut.
Past Their Golden Age
Aishwarya Rai might be an exception of the lot and she still gets movies, but one of her closest competitors (their rivalry dates back almost a couple of decades back) and who’s worked in several hit Bollywood films is happy playing a corpse in the Bengali film, Nirbaak. Yes, we are taking about Sushmita Sen who played the dream Chemistry teacher, dancing in sexy chiffon sarees with SRK, in ‘Main Hoon Na’.
Sushmita Sen got several Bollywood films just because of her confidence, vivacious charm and sex appeal (she was never known for her acting or dancing skills). But today, the sexy teacher from ‘Main Hoon Na’ is sadly forgotten by her fans and Bollywood filmmakers.
Talent Not Enough
It seems, to bag the lead role of the heroine in Hindi films, talent and beauty are not enough when age catches up. Sridevi could be an exception here; her comeback film ‘English Vinglish’ was a massive success and there are directors eager to work with her. However, for others of her age, it seems to be game over in Bollywood. Here are some other Bollywood actresses who seem to be struggling in Bollywood.
- Manisha Koirala did Rituparno Ghosh’s Khela in 2008 (she was 37 at the time) and is finding it hard to get good roles.
- Bipasha Basu tried dropping her “sex symbol” when she did Rituparno Ghosh’s Shob Charitro Kalponik in 2009, and is currently happy doing work only in low-budget horror films.
- Dia Mirza long disappeared from the Bollywood film scene, although she’s invited as a celebrity on several big events. Wisely perhaps, Mirza (who’s comparatively younger) is gradually going behind the camera (film production).
- Madhuri Dixit is happy donning the role of a judge on dance reality shows
- Juhi Chawla keeps on doing small roles, but nothing noteworthy
Some of these actresses may keep on getting small roles, but the roles are surely not going to justify their talents, gorgeous million-watt smiles and even looks, unless there’s a deluge of meaningful movies coming out of Bollywood. So that seems to be the sad reality for most of these older Bollywood heroines; in fact, their career seems to be like those of cricketers, with peak period of half a decade (one decade at the most), and then its time to move on to something else.