“I am totally inconsequential to this industry” – Rahul Bose
Believe it or not, these words come from the mouth of an actor who has been in some of the most acclaimed movies Indian cinema has seen. He has even won awards on a international level, namely the Best Asian Actor in the Singapore Film Festival 2000. Rahul Bose is one such actor who does not hide behind any veils nor does he shy away from the truth. He openly acknowledges his underrated or less recognized status in the Hindi film industry, makes jokes about the fact that he is nowhere as good looking as people like Tom Cruise and admits that he has done a few movies inspired from Hollywood. Try and name three actors that do these things as frequently as Bose and I guarantee you’ll have a bit of trouble!
Time Magazine called him ‘the superstar of art house cinema’ and never has there been more truthful words written. The actor started setting screens on fire in 1994 when he debuted in Dev Benegal’s English August after which he decided to migrate to the small screen to feature in the first English serial to be produced in India titled A Mouthful of Sky. Rahul then continued his adventure in the art house arena until 2001 when he made his credible debut as a director for Everybody Says I am Fine. The movie was not only highly acclaimed but Rahul also got an Honourable Mention at the John Schlesinger Awards in 2003. Commercial Indian cinema enthusiasts were still quite aloof to this powerhouse of talent until the award winning Mr and Mrs Iyer which got several awards at various film festivals. As far as your average film-goer is concerned, this film put Rahul slightly on the map. After Mr and Mrs Iyer, Rahul started becoming a more familiar face to Hindi film audiences as he featured in popular movies like Jhankaar Beats, Chameli, 15 Park Avenue and Pyaar Ke Side Effects. Pyaar Ke Side Effects was the movie that really got Rahul noticed in commercial cinema as not only was the movie a success at the box office but audiences really enjoyed the unique style of story telling and the amazing chemistry between Rahul and Mallika Sherawat, the leading lady of the film.
As they say, the rest is history. Even today as Rahul has become a common face, he still stays true to the kind of cinema he believes in. He continues to feature in several ‘art house’ films, some of which will be releasing soon. The next few years will be even more exciting in the life of Rahul Bose as he returns to directing with his second project based on Mohsin Hamid’s ‘Moth Smoke’. ‘Moth Smoke’ promises to be filled with darkness balanced out with sweetness which Rahul believes is the direct opposite to darkness when it comes to films. Rahul claims the movie will be poetic but very dark. A definite must watch!
Apart from his obvious passion for cinema, Rahul grew up on theatre, boxing and rugby. And if you thought the actor is already full of surprises wait till you hear this; Rahul has played for the National Orange Rugby Team as well! Leaving sports behind and moving on to more serious things, Rahul takes a special interest in community service as well. He supported the relief efforts for the Boxing Day Tsunami tragedy as well supported anti-discrimination for the NGO foundation.
Fans adore him for his cinematic passion, his honesty and his dedicated yet fun-loving personality. If you’re under the impression that he’s a stern and serious man because of his choice of films, you should think again! Whilst staying so dedicated to his work, Rahul doesn’t forget to have fun whether it is in an interview with Karan Johar or on the sets of his movies.
However what makes you believe in this actor is the fact that when speaks about a film, his opinion on cinema or anything for that matter, you can see the intelligence behind everything he says. He’s not one to make statements without backing them up, which is a great relief. When Rahul Bose speaks his mind, they are logical and well-researched opinions and facts. Now this is what you call a thinking actor!
He knows how the industry works and doesn’t whine about its flaws or the fact that actors like him have lesser chance of getting recognized than actors who have glamorous debuts, have the surname ‘Khan’ or can boast of six-pack abs. He knows the industry would be the same without him but he still is here because of his love for cinema. He treats cinema like the piece of art that it is meant to be and not a commercial rat race that centres around box office figures.
A perfect example of this relates to his recent release, Shaurya. Rahul was constantly hounded by the media because of the fact that the film was inspired by Hollywood’s A Few Good Men and also because Kay Kay Menon stole most of the limelight. Unlike most actors, Rahul didn’t hopelessly defend the first accusation and didn’t reply unprofessionally about the second. The actor professionally and sincerely stated that he knew the movie was inspired and this didn’t matter to him as he liked the movie. He also added that for a movie to work there has to be a strong personality on screen and he didn’t mind if it wasn’t him. Spoken like a true actor! This shows his ability to put a film before himself, which is an incredible quality. He doesn’t necessarily follow a tried and tested commercial success formula which seems to be the trend at the moment. At a time when the film industry conveniently and frequently forgets that cinema is a form of art, it is rather refreshing to encounter personalities like Rahul Bose.
So let this be a tribute to an actor who despite being inconsequential to the industry in which he resides, still manages to stand out in a crowd. In the years to come we hope and know that this actor will surely continue to shine more and more with every passing film. Most of all, we here at Bollyspice continue to wait eagerly until the day that the industry realizes just how consequential Rahul Bose is to it.