Why Hindi film actresses have shorter shelf lives?

MUMBAI: The latest coup, Anushka Sharma to romance Akshay Kumar on celluloid. Naturally the one film old actress is over the moon. First Shah Rukh Khan, then an under production film with Shahid Kapur and now a film with the box office favourite, Akshay Kumar. And for cine lovers it does not seem odd that a 20 odd year old girl is romancing and tangoing with a man who is almost twice her age. But does this have an adverse affect on an actress’ career? Does it affect the actress’ life span on celluloid?

Take Deepika Padukone for example. The actress starred opposite Shah Rukh Khan in her first and then with Akshay Kumar, both actors in their mid-forties. Suddenly the dimpled girl from Bangalore now looks as if she has been in the industry for ages and secondly, filmmakers will now think twice before casting her with actors of her age group be it Imran Khan (who is older to her by at least 3 years) or for that matter Ranbir, although she did Bachchna Ae Haseeno with him.

Priyanka Chopra and Katrina Kaif are already facing the heat of acting with senior actors. Says a trade analyst, "Actors are forever looking for new heroines and heroines are looking for a foothold in the industry, and what better way than getting a film signed opposite a leading hero who will establish your credentials at the box office immediately?"

Rani Mukherji and Preity Zinta aged overnight on celluloid. The two heroines have co-acted with Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan in several films. While SRK and Aamir still get newer and younger heroines, these two actresses are finding meaty roles that much more difficult to come by. Although Rani is only a couple of years older to Shahid, their pairing is certainly looking odd in Dil Bole Hadippa.

Today, for actors like Imran and Ranbir, getting actresses of their age is difficult. Apart from a handful of heroines like Sonam Kapoor and Genelia D’Souza, there is little to choose by. Says the trade analyst, "Perhaps that’s why a filmmaker has conceived a story like Wake Up Sid, where Ranbir falls in love with Konkona Sen and Karan Johar, the producer, is justifying that romance by calling it ‘mental chemistry’."

Actors can sing and dance around trees with actresses two decades younger to them and no one raises any eyebrows, but get an actress like Vidya Balan, whose talent can never be questioned opposite a Shahid Kapur, and the film (Kismat Konnection) is discarded with dialogues like, "Iski jodi jammi nahin." Or take for that matter, Neil Nitin Mukesh and Bipasha Basu in Aa Dekhen Zaara… The audience did not take kindly to the pairing, and with a weak storyline, the film was doomed.

So there is a flip side to success and its various shortcuts… But as long as the actresses are aware of their choice of films and its repercussions, who are we to complain?