Time and again, Bollywood has found itself in hot water over ageism, be it roping in young actresses opposite older male stars or casting women over 40 as mothers of 50-plus actors. And, Laal Singh Chaddha is just the most recent example of the same, wherein 40-year-old Mona Singh is playing the mother of Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan, who is 57.
Earlier, Sonali Kulkarni became the talk of the town after she played Salman Khan’s mother in Bharat. Sonali was 44 at the time, while Salman was 53. Shortly after the debut of Bharat in theatres, many criticised Bollywood for its sexism and ageism against older actresses, saying it’s a problem their male counterparts rarely have to face.
During a roundtable interaction on the sidelines of Laal Singh Chaddha promotion, when News18 Showsha asked Aamir about the debate, the actor rather gave an analogy to address the issue.
Aamir said, “I want to ask you a question that as an actor and a creative person, if I’m looking 103, which I’m supposed to, why is my age inappropriate to play the role? Just because I am 57. What is the logic?”
The actor continued, “Age specefic kya hota hai actor ke liye? Actor ka toh yeh kamaal hota hai ke woh kuch bhi age ka ho aur kuch bi age lage. (It is the beauty of an actor to look any age on the screen despite their real age). Yeh toh Mona Singh ka kamaal hai. (This is Mona Singh’s magic). Jab aap dekhoge toh aapko lagega ke badi young lag rahi hai, phir aapko lagega ke yeh toh badi old bhi dikh rahi hai. Yeh toh uska kamaal hai. Aap uska kamaal cheen rahe hain usse. (When you see her in the film, at one moment you will feel that she is looking very young, and in another moment you will feel she is looking old. That’s her brilliance. You are robbing away the talent and questioning her caliber to play a part like this). Bahot wrong kar rahe ho. Agar main Mona hota toh, main boht disturb ho jata (This is very wrong. Had I been Mona, I would have gotten very disturbed).”
Aamir also reacted to Neena Gupta’s statement wherein she said that actresses of her age “hardly” get any meaty parts to play as young actresses are often cast in older roles.
“This is a larger discussion,” Aamir said, before adding, “I personally feel that if I am directing a film, I’m talking as a creative person, if I feel this person is correct for this role, and as far as the age is concerned, I am going to deal with how old that person looks, male or female irrelevant, then that’s my choice. I am the director. Agar aapko kisi aur ko cast karna hai, toh aap bana lijiye na film (If you want to cast someone else then you make your own movie by all means).”
Laal Singh Chaddha also stars Kareena Kapoor Khan and Naga Chaitanya in pivotal roles. This film is all set to hit the theatres on August 11.