Ever the Father: Caring Masculinities Among Older Men in Two Bollywood Films

Senjooti Roy, Liat Ayalon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Objectives: Ideals of masculinity have gradually evolved from dominant traits of “hegemonic masculinity” to a more nurturing concept of “caring masculinity” that recognizes the caregiving roles of men. In this article, we explore the performance of caring masculinities among older men in later life. We do this specifically in the Indian context by analyzing 2 Bollywood films, Piku (2015) and 102, Not Out (2018), which revolve around the lives of 3 widowers aged 70, 75, and 102. Research Design and Methods: We use a directed content analysis approach to examine the performance of caring masculinities in intergenerational (older parent–adult child) relationships. Results: Both films exemplify tenets of caring masculinity as 3 older fathers continue to perform caring roles well into their later years. They also navigate a range of emotions and vulnerabilities that challenge behaviors associated with hegemonic masculinity, a mainstay of male role portrayal in Bollywood films. Additionally, the films highlight the complexity and fragility of intergenerational bonds, emphasizing the prevalence of ambivalence rather than pure solidarity or conflict that have traditionally been used to characterize such relationships. Discussion and Implications: The films challenge the notion of older adults, especially older men, as being primarily care recipients as they age. The performance of caring masculinities allows for a reimagining of masculinity performance in society. The portrayal of men aging within nuclear households without spousal and/or intergenerational support encourages viewers to perceive new roles and realities for older men in India.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1078-1086
Number of pages9
JournalThe Gerontologist
Issue number6
StatePublished - 18 Jul 2023


  • Bollywood
  • Caring masculinities
  • India
  • Intergenerational relationships
  • Older men

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Ever the Father: Caring Masculinities Among Older Men in Two Bollywood Films'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this