After blowing up the internet with its trailer, ‘Tiku Weds Sheru’ was finally released on Amazon Prime Video on the 23rd June 2023. Apparently it’s a “dark satire” film, but we’ll get into that in a bit. The real point of contention? It stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui in a lead role, and his lip lock with 21-year-old younger Avneet Kaur has left the internet divided. Today, we dive into this controversy – is it okay for the industry to cast romantic couples with such age differences?

For those who will never watch this monstrosity, here is summary of the plot: Avneet Kaur (barely aged 21) plays Tiku, a small-town girl who sees marriage as her ticket to Bollywood, while Nawazuddin Siddiqui (very very aged 49) portrays Sheru, a struggling junior artist. Directed by Sai Kabir and produced by Kangana Ranaut, the film follows the chaos that ensues after their marriage. I think this is the “dark satire” bit. Do you see it? I don’t.

The problematic pairing of Nawazuddin Siddiqui & Avneet Kaur

The Real Controversy

When it comes to Tiku and Sheru, their on-screen chemistry is anything but digestible. In an awkward dinner scene, Tiku shows up dressed like a crazy cabaret dancer in a flashy red outfit. They share a meal, exchange jokes, and even attempt a romantic beach stroll that leads to an underwhelming kiss. Unfortunately, there’s no chemistry, or spark between them, making what should have been a captivating moment feel absolutely awkward.

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Kissing scene between Nawazuddin Siddiqui & Avneet Kaur

Even as a viewer, I felt uncomfortable watching the scene. I immediately hit up Twitter to see if I am the only prude who feels that way. One user wrote, “This is just nasty, Avneet was probably 20 when the shooting of this movie started, she is also highly sexualised.” Another one wrote, “Gross also what is up with Nawaaz’s movie choices?” I feel you, man. I have two questions: One, who greenlit the script & casting? Two, who forced Nawaaz to do this film?

The Real Problem

The fact that the film was a cringe-fest is not the real problem. The real impact of this film, and in particular, the above scene really digs deeper. It is representative of the entertainment industry prioritizing ‘video views’ over their focus on responsible and ethical portrayals of relationships. We may think of it as an innocent creative idea or just ‘art being art’, but it has a real role to play in our society.

It reinforces unhealthy power dynamics.

When big age gaps are depicted in romantic scenes, especially involving young actresses, it can perpetuate unhealthy power dynamics in society. It sends a message that it is acceptable for older individuals to pursue or have relationships with significantly younger individuals, disregarding the importance of consent, equality, and mutual understanding in healthy relationships.

It normalizes sexualization of young actresses.

By portraying young actresses in romantic scenes with much older actors, it contributes to the inappropriate sexualization of these actresses. This not only undermines their professionalism and talent but also sends a harmful message that it is acceptable to exploit and objectify young women for the sake of entertainment. 

It can have a negative impact on the self-esteem and well-being of these actresses, as well as influence societal perceptions about the appropriate treatment of women. Don’t we have enough examples of young actresses who faced real mental health issues due to being sexualized at a very young age? Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Bynes, Miley Cyrus, hello?

Nawazuddin Siddiqui & Avneet Kaur in Tiku Weds Sheru

Not Real Fun For The Audience Either!

While it may create a Twitter debate for a week, I like to believe it doesn’t contribute to ‘video views’ the way the producers intended. Even if it does, it doesn’t create audience love for the creators and actors who are a part of the film itself. While I may cringe-binge this film late night at 3 AM, I will never recommend it to my friend circle or fall in love with the characters the way cinema makes us. 

There is an utter lack of authenticity.

Big age gaps between actors in romantic scenes can often lack authenticity. It becomes challenging for the audience to believe in the genuine emotional connection between the characters when there is a significant age difference. This lack of authenticity can undermine the overall credibility and impact of the romantic storyline.

It disconnects the audience from the characters.

Large age gaps in romantic scenes can cause a disconnect between the actors and the audience. Viewers may struggle to relate to or invest in the relationship, as it may feel unrealistic or even uncomfortable. The intended emotional connection and resonance of the romantic storyline may be lost, resulting in a diminished viewer experience.

Young Avneet Kaur Kissing old Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the movie

My Verdict: Unsafe, Uncool & Unneeded

Tiku weds Sheru is a complete misfire. To label it as a romantic drama with dark satire would be an insult to both romance and satire because there’s none of that to be found. Instead, prepare yourself to question your life choices for a solid two hours. It’s like getting a mosquito bite in the first twenty minutes and realizing it’s going to itch for eternity. Witnessing an actor as talented as Nawazuddin Siddiqui in this crass role is a painful reminder that even the best can stumble into cinematic disasters.

Taking to Instagram, Kangana Ranaut, the producer of the film, wrote, “Movie mafia doing everything to harm my film, fake reviews, and smear campaigns started even before its release.” Well, ma’am, I have seen the film. I am not being paid for the review. But I can officially say, the movie was not the right cup of tea.