Rahul Bose, who never shies away from bold and challenging film roles, had no inhibitions playing the role of a gay man in Onir’s upcoming film I AM. “I don’t have parents to worry about what they will think. I don’t care about my image and I never had a girlfriend to worry about what girls would think! So I am the perfect choice to play a gay’, he quips, adding that the character he plays is forced to live a double life because of his sexual orientation. In Bose’s opinion, this reflects common realities in the film industry. “I know at least two people in the industry who are gay but will not come out in the open. They live dual lives pretending to be what they are not. Most gays pretend to be heterosexual so that they don’t lose their loved ones”, Rahul says. And it’s not just friends they fear to lose: “Actors do not want to play homosexual characters, because they fear their careers will be in jeopardy.” So what about his career? “I don’t have a career”, Bose jokes.
The next minute he is serious again.”We are constantly judged for what we are in society.” That’s why I AM is such a relevant film because it talks about variant kinds of discrimination people face in today’s society – not just homosexuality but also phenomenons like sexual abuse of children or losing one’s home. “Each story in the film deals with the discrimination we face. They are all real experiences which are relatable to everyone who watches them.”
Meanwhile, I AM passed the censor board and got an A certificate which the makers of the film were aiming for. Director Onir is relieved: “I was worried that they would have an objection to the kissing scene between Rahul Bose and Arjun Mathur. But they were pretty cool about it and accepted it as a part of the story. In fact they did not make any visual omission at all. But they did raise objection to a couple of words. They asked me to mute the word ‘chakka’. They explained that the word had been used in public space as slang for too long and using it in a film would only hurt the community even more.”
So now Onir and his team are working hard for the promotion of the film which is going to be released on April 29. Between several press conferences, interviews and online chats Onir this morning got an sms which made him very happy. Film critic and journalist Subhash K Jha wrote to him after watching I AM: “Seldom felt so deeply guilty for the loss of innocence, political and sexual… All 4 stories create a miniature universe of pain , guilt and hurt, of wounds that never heal.”
For those who are waiting for the soundtrack, Onir explains:”The music is playing exclusive on ETC and ZING today. It will be out on other channels tomorrow and from Wednesday in the shops.”