The curious case of male actors getting older and their leading ladies getting younger.
While it’s safe to say that the plot of Atrangi Re was a tad bit convoluted, Akshay Kumar and Sara Ali Khan did seem to be romantically involved for a major chunk of the film. And what is their age difference, you ask? 28 years!
Akshay and Manushi Chhillar were romantic leads in Samrat Prithviraj, playing Prithviraj Chauhan and Sanyogita, respectively, despite having an age gap of 29 years!
Kiara Advani, who was Akshay Kumar’s leading lady in the 2020 film, Laxmii, is 25 years his junior.
Bhumi Pednekar, his Toilet: Ek Prem Katha co-star, is 21 years younger than Akshay.
On the other hand, Kriti Sanon, Akshay Kumar’s Housefull 4 and Bachchhan Paandey co-star, is 22 years his junior.
It really seems like I have a bone to pick with Akshay Kumar but you can’t blame me, given the ever-increasing age gap he shares with his female co-stars. Yet another instance is that of Amy Jackson, his Singh Is Bliing co-actor, being almost 25 years younger than him.
Akshay and Katrina Kaif have been paired opposite each other in as many as eight films, with audiences absolutely loving their on-screen chemistry. However, it is interesting to note that they have a 15-year age gap!
Katrina Kaif and Salman Khan have worked as co-stars in six films (with another one in the pipeline) and have also been a couple in real life. However, many of us tend to forget that Salman is 17 years older than Katrina.
Salman Khan has also been paired opposite Disha Patani in films like Radhe and a small portion of Bharat, despite Disha being 26 years his junior.
Sonakshi Sinha, who has been Salman’s romantic interest in three Dabangg films, is 21 years younger than him.
Saiee Manjrekar, who played Khushi, a young Chulbul Pandey’s love interest in Dabangg 3, is a whopping 32 years younger than Salman Khan.
Jacqueline Fernandez, who has been paired opposite Salman Khan in films like Kick and Race 3, is 20 years his junior.
Salman was almost 20 years old when Sonam Kapoor, his Prem Ratan Dhan Payo co-star, was born.
Moreover, Salman was 22 when Anushka Sharma, his leading lady in Sultan, made her debut in…this world.
Anushka Sharma and Shah Rukh Khan have been romantically entangled / married in almost four films, with Anushka making her Bollywood debut opposite him in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi at the mere age of 20. However, did you know that they have an age gap of 22 years?!
Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone, yet another “hit pairing”, have a 20-year age gap between them.
Mahira Khan, SRK’s Raees co-star, is 19 years his junior.
On the other hand, Katrina Kaif, his love interest in Jab Tak Hai Jaan and Zero, is 17 years younger than Shah Rukh.
Rakul Preet Singh, Ajay Devgn’s De De Pyaar De and Runway 34 co-star, is 22 years younger than him.
Sonakshi Sinha, who has been paired opposite Ajay in several films, including Son of Sardaar and Action Jackson, is 18 years his junior.
Did you know that Ajay Devgn was 28 years old when his Shivaay co-star, Sayyesha Saigal was born?
Moreover, Tamannaah, Ajay’s Himmatwala co-star, is 21 years younger than him.
Tamannaah and Saif Ali Khan, who were each other’s “Caller Tune” in Humshakals, have a 19-year age gap between them.
I am pretty sure you already knew that Aamir Khan’s PK co-star, Anushka Sharma, is 23 years his junior.
But, did you also know that Asin, his leading lady in Ghajini, is 21 years younger than him?
Meanwhile, his Dhoom 3 and Thugs of Hindostan co-actor, Katrina Kaif, is 18 years his junior.
Not many people realise this, but Hrithik Roshan is 19 years older than his Super 30 co-actor, Mrunal Thakur.
Moreover, Pooja Hegde, his leading lady in Mohenjo Daro, is 17 years younger than Hrithik.
Yes, he looks a lot younger than his actual age, but, as of today, Anil Kapoor is 65 years old. He played Kareena Kapoor Khan’s husband in the 2005 movie Bewafaa, despite their age difference of 24 years!
Furthermore, his co-star, Rani Mukerji was only 23 years old when their film, Nayak: The Real Hero, released. Anil was 45 at the time.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who was cast opposite Anil in Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai, is 17 years his junior.
Anil Kapoor was also paired opposite Ameesha Patel, who is 19 years younger than him, in Race 2.
I can’t possibly forget the fact that Shefali Shah, who plays Amitabh Bachchan’s wife in Waqt: The Race Against Time, is 30 years younger than him!
We’ve all had innumerable repeat viewings of Sooryavansham on Set Max, but, did you notice that Soundarya, Amitabh Bachchan’s co-star, was only 27 when the film released, while he was 57 years old?!
While the film Nishabd is a bit of an outlier because its story essentially revolved around the age difference between the leads, watching a 65-year-old Amitabh Bachchan romancing a 19-year-old Jiah Khan was certainly uncomfortable.
Why is it that actresses have an expiration date based on their age but their male counterparts don’t? When will this deep-seated ageism in Bollywood start to unravel? While OTT platforms have certainly brought about a refreshing change with more age-appropriate casting, mainstream films are yet to follow suit. I suppose all we can do at this point, is wait (and perhaps fossilize in the process).
Which cringeworthy age gaps did I miss? Let me know in the comments!