Actor Taapsee Pannu on Tuesday addressed the controversy surrounding the age of her and co-star Bhumi Pednekar's characters in "Saand Ki Aankh", saying they have been bombarded with questions whereas male actors are often hailed as risk takers for playing roles beyond their age or of different sexual orientation.
In a long post on social media, the actor questioned why they should be called to justify their stand when the likes of Aamir Khan and Anupam Kher escaped the negativity for their roles in "3 Idiots" and "Saaransh" in the past.
"Have we really lost the shoulder along with our spine to support people who venture out of their comfort zone to bring about a change? Or it's just reserved for two females, who, at the relatively nascent stage of their career, venture out to do something, which we were told, most of the people turned down?," Taapsee wrote.
The trailer of "Saand Ki Aankh", which was launched on Monday, sparked a debate on social media about why Taapsee and Bhumi, in their 30s, were playing women double their age.
Actor Neena Gupta, 60, also weighed in on the controversy.
"At least cast us for the roles that suit our age," Gupta tweeted Tuesday. Her response was directed at a social media user's observation that she, Shabana Azmi or Jaya Bachchan were a better fit for the parts of older women sharpshooters Chandro and Prakashi Tomar.
Taapsee said she and Bhumi were facing a lot of questions on playing older women in the film, directed by Tushar Hiranandani and produced by Anurag Kashyap and Nidhi Parmar, and she decided to clear the air for once and all.
"Do we ever want to embrace the positivity or just keep latching on to negativity and glorifying it to save our lack of risk taking tendencies," she began later citing the example of Kher, Nargis Dutt in 'Mother India' and Kher's role of an old man in the beginning of his career. She even pointed out performances of John Travolta in 'Hairspray' and Eddie Murphy's part in 'Coming to America'.
"Did we question when Aamir Khan played a college kid in '3 Idiots'? And in the future, are we going to question Ayushmann Khurrana for playing a gay man in 'Shubh Mangal Zyaada Savdhaan'? Or these lovely allegations and questions are reserved only for us?
"Even if they are we thank you from the bottom of our heart for noticing our little effort to bring to you something new, different, something you all want to comment, something you all want yourselves to attach to and that attracted your attention," she added.
The actor said all doubts will be cleared when their film releases on Diwali.