It's no longer about keeping up appearances anymore - it's about embracing those greying roots.

Smoking hot greying Rajinikanth in Kabali shows why stars must play their age
Flix Entertainment Monday, May 02, 2016 - 11:20

For some of us, the Kabali teaser has well appealed to our salt-and-pepper hair hero fantasies - barely any pepper though. Jokes apart, 2016 has been a great year for actors who actually want to act their age. 

The trend  of letting their onscreen personas age gracefully is also indicative of allowing the script to do its work. But it didn’t start with Rajnikanth – Ajith took the plunge in Mankatha in 2014, who was relieved enough that his “hair hadn’t fallen off.” 2015's Vedalam saw more grey. Director PA Ranjith recounts an instance when Rajni took just a day to finish Kabali’s 220-page script, and voiced his relief at bagging a role where he could let his greys show.

A still from Vedalam

In Airlift, Akshay Kumar embraced his greying roots to fit into a role that showcased him as a serious performer. Stripping away the bumbling, vigorously-romancing-until-we-all-wanted-to-yell "You're going to get the girl anyway" persona, he chose to respect the role, the character and the script. And how phenomenally well that worked for him.

It’s not about keeping up appearances anymore. It's about letting those wrinkles show, roots grey, and settling into the old man’s natural gait and manner. Even Raees, SRK’s next big project, will see him sporting a grey stubble. Because for an actor to accept that they’re aging, opens them to a whole new host of roles. 

Madhavan who played an older coach in Irudhi Suttru, did a Q&A on Facebook on a whim. “Sir when are you going to go back to doing the chocolate boy roles?” Madhavan wrote back, saying “I am done with the chocolate boy phase.” That answer in itself carries a sigh of exhaustion on being typecast. His well-fleshed out character in Irrudhi Suttru is far more memorable than watching an actor painfully hang on to younger roles.

A still from Iruddhi Suttru

Another tag of "fighting age" is slapped on Amitabh Bachchan, who is doing anything but. The niche roles he's offered is not just as a result of being a veteran actor, it's about him having chosen to age gracefully by picking age-appropriate roles, instead of endlessly competing with a new crop of actors for much younger roles. This is only a winning situation, unless an actor lets his insecurity with ageing get the best of him.

A still from Wazir

But let's not forget female actors, who still have it worse. If a starlet is playing the love interest of a much older actor, chances are, 5 years down the line, she’s going to be playing his mother while he sports a jet black wig. In fact, there are very few older female actors who are leading by example in both film industries. Crudely put, there's an expiry date. Thanks Rajnikanth, but let's also hope for a day when younger female actors don't have to don grey hair to match yours and your love interest can actually be 50+ too.

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