Shocking! Shah Rukh Khan reveals the REAL reason mums Kajol, Madhuri and Juhi are not cast as leading ladies!

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"Whenever I can, I try to get them to act in my movies. But..." says Shah Rukh Khan as he shares the strange reason they're not case as leading ladies

Rejoining the workforce can make even the most confident of women feel a bit jittery and out of place. After all, it's hard enough to get a job post graduation, let alone reenter the work scene right after a long break!

But if you thought this is a problem only regular women face, think again. Because it seems that famous onscreen celebrities are not insulated from this issue either.

Once they've crossed the "right age" they are no longer considered for the position of a leading lady and are often replaced by "younger women," or so says actor Shah Rukh Khan.

He was recently questioned about why at the age of 51, he was still romancing young girls, while his former 90s co-stars including Kajol Devgan, Madhuri Dixit-Nene and Juhi Chawla, who are all mums now, are no longer cast opposite him! In fact, they are often cast as bhabhis or older sisters!

Unexpectedly, he gave an answer many mums may not agree with!

"Majority of audience wants to see young people"

"Madhuri, Juhi and Kajol are such beautiful women and wonderful actors. I’m a star because of them; they’ve taught me all that I know. Whenever I can, I try to get them to act in my movies. But we have to realise that this is a business at the end of the day, however much you may think it’s a creative field. It pays the bills. It’s a dichotomy in many ways," he told the magazine adding it was about art!

"Films are an art; you can call it art that is tacky, fantastic, offbeat, edgy, superb, not-understandable—but it’s art. Yet this art is not based on how beautiful the outcome is like how a Monalisa is judged purely on her smile. Market forces define the art of cinema. A majority of the audience wants to see younger people. People define what they want to watch and the filmmakers follow suit," he added.

Strangely enough, many women across industries have also been fighting for 'equal work, equal pay,' a concept lost on business heads! Shah Rukh Khan had an explanation for this problem as well.

Why are women paid less?

"Let’s look at it like this. I can’t compete with a Salman Khan at the box office; none of us can. That is the reality. In other fields like, say, with a male or a female pilot, both are paid equally for what they bring to the table. So a designer, doctor, architect, chauffer or engineer is paid the same, irrespective of gender. But market forces dictate our payment in the film industry because they define the result at the turnstiles," he explained.

He also added that equal pay for equal work adds a lot of pressure on women employees.

"When we ask for equal pay, a lot of pressure is put on women actors to sell the movie on their own steam. I know that women actors work five times harder and get paid 10 times less than men. In my own small way, I have asked for their names to appear before mine in credit roll. I attempt to pay them as well as I can in my own productions; I’ve co-produced films with women directors and actors. I believe I am the change. I always see a story from a woman’s point of view, make sure the woman’s role is meaty...And to be honest, I feel that it’s not entirely a losing battle. Today, Deepika Padukone, Katrina Kaif and Priyanka Chopra take home really good pay packets, more than some heroes. And they deserve it. I don’t know if they take more than me or Salman but they’re celebrated for their worth," he said.

While the Dear Zindagi star's views may sound sexist, the fact is that women do face disparity, especially while reentering workforce and asking for higher pay. So how can one make the process easier?

3 things mums must keep in mind while reentering workforce

  • Identify your worth: If you have several years of experience behind you, use it to your advantage. You may have taken some time off to take care of your baby, but that doesn't mean you should be paid less because you have gap years in your resume. Your talent and expertise should matter most, so chose a company that values these criteria.
  • Sell soft skills: Most mums are good with soft-skills and communication, so you can use that to your advantage. You may not have the requisite expertise in a subject, but if you are willing to learn, are congenial, manage time well, have the right attitude and can sell your soft skills then you can be a star in your company.
  • Own your skills: Parenting is an all-round job, which means you manage your home, your kids and even your relationships quite well and are now willing to take those life experiences on to a professional field. Remember that, HR managers are also humans and they will understand how your personal experience can benefit the company professionally.

Read: THIS city is the worst place for working women and Indian  mums

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[All images courtesy: Instagram]

Written by

Deepshikha Punj