Is Bollywood Ready to Give a Chance to Aging Heroines? From Manisha Koirala to Farida Jalal, They Are Showing Their Magic

By Ronit Kawale 5 Min Read

There was a time when very few characters were written for aging heroines in Bollywood. There was demand in films only for heroines of 30 years of age or less. Heroines above 40 were considered old. Whereas actors are comfortably getting lead roles and strong characters even till the age of 90. But there were no roles for heroines above 40-50. But now it seems that the film industry has accepted older heroines with open arms, and they are being welcomed wholeheartedly. While Manisha Koirala made a comeback after a long time and showed her strength in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Hiramandi’ at the age of 53, 75-year-old Farida Jalal also dominated the scene. Manisha Koirala, who showed her acting skills in the 90s, has been on the rise for many years. Since then she was appearing less in mainstream films. She appeared in small roles in Hindi films. When he did not get mainstream roles, he did Nepali and some South films in between. But now she has wowed the audience with her role as courtesan Mallikajan in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s series Heeramandi. The actresses whose careers were put on hold due to their age, have now got a new lease of life.

There were no roles for heroines like Farida Jalal, now the crowd was looted in ‘Hiramandi’

Farida Jalal, in an old interview in the year 2019, had also expressed regret over the fact that now roles are not written for actresses of her age, and only those of mothers or grandmothers get the roles. After not getting any special work in films, Farida Jalal started working in web series and TV serials. It’s good for OTT that now senior and older actresses are getting a chance. Farida Jalal gave life to the character of grandmother Qudsia Begum in ‘Hiramandi’. The rest of the cast of ‘Hiramandi’ paled in comparison to Manisha Koirala and Farida Jalal.


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Farida Jalal, Photo: Netflix India

From Sharmila Tagore to Neena Gupta getting opportunities, roles are being written

Apart from these, there are some other older actresses like Neena Gupta, Shabana Azmi, Sharmila Tagore, Dimple Kapadia and Jaya Bachchan, who are showing their strength in films after a long break. Neena Gupta once even had to ask for work on social media, and now even at the age of 64, her acting talent outweighs the young heroines. Neena Gupta has entered the role of Pradhan Manju Devi in ​​’Panchayat’ to such an extent that people have started remembering her with the same character in real life. Now Neena Gupta also has many films. Similarly, Shabana Azmi is also doing films again at the age of 73 and is happy that strong characters are being written for artists like her.


Photo: Neena Gupta Instagram

Abundance of roles for aging male superstars, not so with heroines

However, this is not the case with aging heroes. Since the beginning, such films have been made for him, which are based on his character. Like the film ‘Piku’ was centered around Amitabh Bachchan, while it also had stars like Irrfan and Deepika Padukone. Currently, all the superstars from Bollywood to South are either 50 years old, or 60 and 70 years old. Amitabh Bachchan is 81 years old. But there has been no dearth of powerful characters for these stars. But this is not the case with heroines of the same age. As soon as a heroine crosses 40, she starts getting mother-grandmother or similar characters. He is not considered fit to play mainstream characters.

Changing thinking and attitude of the audience

But the love that Manisha Koirala is getting after ‘Hiramandi’ is a big transition. This is especially surprising for those cinema lovers who have been watching him since the 1991 film ‘Saudagar’. Even today, fans go into ‘Illu Illu’ and ‘Pyaar Hua Chupke Se’ zone the moment they see Manisha. Now, the way Manisha is ruling people’s hearts after becoming ‘Mallikajaan’, and Zeenat Aman is getting brands and roles even at the age of 72, it shows how mature we as an audience are. Have become. Now we are accepting talent and personality more than figure. Believe me, there are many more ‘diamonds’ in the country, which need to be openly acknowledged.

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Ronit Kawale has been an entertainment journalist for the past three years. Being a cinephile is not just a part of his profession; it's his passion. Alongside being an avid follower of Bollywood and television, he possesses a treasure trove of interesting gossip and insights about celebrities. He's well-versed in understanding what readers are tuning into on the website. After all, he became a journalist to stay close to the heartbeat of the world.
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