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Boys, not men

India is getting younger. So are its CEOs, its MPs, ministers, its entertainment junkies… and its films, writes Shashi Baliga.

india Updated: Jul 28, 2009 21:34 IST
Shashi Baliga

India is getting younger. So are its CEOs, its MPs, ministers, its entertainment junkies… and its films. With 31.1 per cent of its population under 15, and teeny-boppers making up the most loyal fans and audiences, the movie market is narrowing its sights on the young and younger.

Inevitably, so are its films and everything from their storylines, dialogue and lyrics to their costumes and choreography. Pappu can't dance, saala said it perfectly.

Actors, and actresses in particular, have traditionally entered the film industry very young; in their teens. However, there was often a mismatch between their ways of thought and those of the director, who was a good 20, even 30 years older. That has changed dramatically, with directors as young as 25 getting a break with major production houses — as Ayaan Mukherjee has, with Dharma Productions’ Wake Up Sid. The crew and technicians have followed suit, with teenagers chucking up college and studies for the arclights. On many sets these days, the average age doesn’t even hit the 30s.

And the senior actors have taken it in their ageing stride. Legends like Amitabh Bachchan are happy to work with 20-somethings — Karan Johar was 28 when he directed the Big B in the blockbuster Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham.

If age is just a number, so are box-office collections. Whoever delivers a hit is welcome in the dream factory.