It appears Bollywood’s leading men possess the power of eternal youth.
They may cross age-related milestones in real-life, but reel-life turns the clock backwards on their on-screen romances, with leading ladies growing younger with each passing day.
Now if only they could market this mantra into a shiny new bottle, then actors could mint millions from this anti-ageing formula alone.
In the past few years, critics have been brutal in pointing fingers at several actors who have passed their sell-by date of running around trees and romancing women younger than their daughters.
With Shah Rukh Khan and archenemy Salman Khan being the most prominent culprits of such May-December romancing, Emirates 24|7 takes a look at some more guilty parties.
Shah Rukh Khan & Anushka Sharma during the premiere of 'Jab Tak Hai Jaan'. (Sanskriti Media)
Shah Rukh Khan: From Juhi Chawla to Anushka Sharma
Katrina Kaif was only nine when the Juhi Chawla-starrer, ‘Darr’, released in 1993.
And Anushka Sharma was 10 when ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ came out in 1998.
The above mentioned smash hit films are setting examples of the evergreen Shah Rukh Khan’s eternal age, which sees his latest Yash Chopra-starrer pair him opposite the two leading ladies – one 28 and the other a mere 24 years now.
If anything, ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ (currently playing in UAE cinemas) is an apt example of age being nothing but a mere figure for Bollywood’s ageing leading men.
When NDTV posed the million-dollar question on his younger on-screen romances, the Khan simply replied: “The young girls like me and I like older women. See I have the best.... guys just joking.”
The current love-triangle with Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma is certainly not Khan’s only May-December pairing.
Khan’s leading lady from ‘Don’, Priyanka Chopra, was 11 when his ‘Baazigar’ released in 1993.
Deepika Padukone was also just nine when Khan’s smash hit ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’ released in 1995.
Sonakshi Sinha and Salman Khan in 'Dabangg'. (Screen grab)
Salman Khan: From Bhagyashree to Sonakshi
Salman Khan is three years shy of turning 50.
His ‘Dabangg 2’ leading lady, Sonakshi Sinha, was two when the Khan’s ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’ released back in 1989.
When the actress went on record recently stating that she would’ve been “beaten up” had she resorted to calling Khan “uncle”, trust us, no one would blame her.
Khan’s leading ladies have historically been shy of being of legal age.
Who can forget Sneha Ullal, who was 19 when she filmed the flop ‘Lucky: No Time For Love’ opposite Khan in 2005, making her only four years old when Khan got his big Bollywood break.
Meanwhile, Zarine Khan, who starred with Khan in ‘Veer’, was four when the actor’s first film, ‘Meri Biwi Ka Jawab Nahin’ released back in 1988.
Asin and Aamir Khan in 'Ghajini'. (Screen grab)
Aamir Khan: From Juhi Chawla to Asin
Few can point fingers at Bollywood’s perfectionist Aamir Khan for his film choices, but the actor isn’t cleared of all guilt himself in the recent past.
Who can forget his on-screen pairing with Asin, who was a mere one year old when the Khan’s first film, ‘Holi’ released back in 1984.
If that shocking age difference isn’t enough to jolt you out of your seat, then the 47-year-old actor’s leading lady in the upcoming ‘Peekay’ is none other than Anushka Sharma.
She wasn’t even born when Khan started filming for his breakthrough film of 1988, ‘Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak’.
Akshay Kumar and Parineeti Chopra. (AFP)
Akshay Kumar: From Ayesha Jhulka to Parineeti Chopra
He’s 45; his leading lady is 24.
This is Akshay Kumar for you, who doesn’t mince words or shy away from any actress, young or old.
After romancing the much older Rekha, the actor is expected to work opposite newcomer Parineeti Chopra in the ‘Thuppakki’ remake.
Of course, we can disregard the fact that she was merely four years old when Kumar’s breakthrough film, ‘Khiladi’, opposite Ayesha Jhulka released in 1992.
Deepika Padukone and Rajinikanth. (AFP)
Rajinikanth: From Jaya Prada to Deepika
Let it be noted (to avoid a future lynch mob) that Supertar Rajinikanth can do no wrong.
Having said that, it does seem a tad crazy that the actor’s breakthrough film of 1976, Telugu film ‘Anthuleni Katha’ with Jayaprada, Sripriya and Kamal Haasan came 10 years before Deepika Padukone was even born.
Padukone just happens to be Rajinikanth’s leading lady in not one, but two upcoming projects: ‘Kochadaiyaan’ and the delayed ‘Rana’.