Age is just a number. Right? Not for these celebrities who are touchy about “growing old”. In a recent episode of Bigg Boss, 45-year-old Bollywood actor Armaan Kohli got offended with actors Tanisha and Pratyusha, for calling him old. Actress Madhuri Dixit, ticked off a scribe for complimenting her about looking good at 46. The otherwise cool Madhuri got rankled and retorted sharply that she was not 90 years old. On Comedy Circus, when a fan disclosed actor Ajay Devgn’s age as 44, the actor confessed that his secret was out as he told everyone he was 42. Why are celebrities so sensitive about revealing their actual age? While Madhuri’s apprehensions can be understood as Bollywood offers dry up for actresses post their late 30s, the men continue to rule the roost in their late 40s. So, what is the big deal? Sandalwood actress Aindrita Ray cites the example of superstar Shivrajkumar who turned 50 recently.
“I am working with Shivanna, in Bajrangi, he just celebrated his birthday in style and revelled in the benchmark he has reached. He does not shy away from it. Even actresses who are said to have a slightly lesser shelf life today are working longer and age has nothing to do with it, it’s about talent and conviction.”
However, for every Shivrajkumar who revels in growing old, there are actors like Anil Kapoor, who like to retain a mystery factor around their age. Anil, who is in his 50s, hates being called uncle even by stars half his age.
Fahad Samar, author of 'Scandal Point', a book on Bollywood opines, “Bollywood has its own definitions of age and marriage — it does not understand the concept or accept age gracefully. For example, in the west Harrison Ford and Meryl Streep still take up lead roles, even in their 60s, and are not treated as fossils. I think, age is a state of mind. The more mature an actor, the better his performance should be.”
Bollywood director Karan Johar, is an exception. He not only threw a lavish bash to celebrate his 40th year but he openly jests about growing old and working with people half his age. Thankfully he is not alone. Author of 'The Ekkos Clan', Sudipto Das has just turned 40 recently. He says, “I don’t feel insecure at all because I am financially secure at this age and my creativity hasn’t even faltered. Some people may say that you tend to be more creative when you are young but I feel that I have matured as a writer at this age.” Actor and singer Vasundhara Das who recently released her Sufi music album, says, “Age is all in the mind. Unless you are 60 and physically age is catching up with you, it really doesn’t matter. Even Hollywood is full of an amazing line up of talented stars who are above 40. I feel an artiste can move mountains if they are driven. I travel all over the world for my concerts and it’s only my love for music that drives me and age will never be a bar.”