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Rahul Bose- The Alternative Actor

By: Sunil Noronha

Rahul Bose is not the quintessential Indian movie actor. He has made an image of his own quite unlike the other actors on Bollywood. He can be very easily categorized as an experimental actor who always took the other way round to acting.

He was born on the 27th of July 1967 in Calcutta. His parents were Rupen and Kumud Bose. Acting had an influence on him since he was very small. He first took to the stage in Tom, The Pipers Son a school play at the tender age of six. During his school days in Mumbai, he got involved with sports-boxing and rugby a game which he plays to this day.He is in the Indian National Rugby team. These intrests kept him occupied through out college. He wanted to act but right after college but didn't find an opening for an english speaking actor. He decided to write but even in that department there were no real openings. He settled for a career in the advertisement sector. When he decided to make an actor of himself, he was 26 and was the creative director of the company he was working in, Rediffusion D. Held between pursuing further studies and his passion for acting, he went for the latter. He got his first big break with director Dev Benegals English, August. His first film pushed him onto the international acting stage. He followed it up with a bigger hit Bombay Boys. He made futher steps into the film industry with Split Wide Open.

By the time he had acted in his next movie Takshak he was already a force to reckon with in the Indian Film Industry. By this time, the awards started coming in. He won the Best Actor Award for Split Wide Open at the Singapore Film Festival of 2000. His follow up of Everybody says I'm Fine debuted Rahul Bose as a script writer and as a director. Soon his name was resounding in film circles. His next film Mr. and Mrs Iyer saw him take on the most social based character pre Mr. and Mrs Iyer taking on the ills of society and on the fate that society casts upon a woman. Ek Din 24 Ghante(2003), Chameli(2003) and Silsilay(2005) were his first forays into the Bollywood style of filming. Mainstream Bollywood films were not his cup of tea. He worked this trait in him as an actor to his advantage and turned Chameli a ground breaking Bollywood movie. As a result, the film won four awards for Best Cinematography (Asian First Film Festival 2005, IIFA 2005, Filmfare 2004 and Sansui Viewers Choice Awards 2004). The other two films of his Bollywood foray were clearly bad choices of film selection according to fans of his acting. Both of them were "badly plagiarized"-the slack in work clearly showing through. His last-so-far and latest Bollywood venture in Buddhadev Dasgupta's Kaalpurush in 2005, which brought even more acclaim to his acting skills. His run of films in alternative cinema continued with Jhankaar Beats and Mumbai Matinee in 2003 and White Noise in 2004.

At the moment he is riding on the 15 Park Avenue wave, an Aparna Sen (Director of Mr. and Mrs. Iyer) directorial venture. He is working another self written film at the moment-The Horse Whisperer. Rahul Bose is the unconventional actor who is by all means conventional. He has propagated film art as one that brings forth concerns that the society does indeed suffer from unlike the supposed portrayed Indianism of mainstream commercial Bollywood.

He also pushes forward many social causes- a privilege that he has exposed to help all those that need help around him. He is a part of an initiative by Akshara Centre, a Mumbai-based NGO, which works with around Muslim girls. He worked in tandem with the same organization when Bombay was pushed underwater during the floods that ravaged the city. The organisation promotes communal harmony and gender equality. One day after the tsunami affected Indian coastlines, he rushed to the spot to help put under one of the agencies, which is working for bringing back the nation from the Tsunami setback it suffered-Solidarity Network. Promoting Indo-American relations, he is the ambassador for the American India Foundation, which funds social projects in the nation. It is based in New York. He sits on the advisory board of Breakthrough, an NGO in New York which campaigns for gender equality and human rights. He has spoken on the subject during the World Youth Peace Summit in 2003. He also represents the Spastics Society of India as an ambassador of the organization.

He is the epitome of a superstar who bags the bragging rights by virtue of his acting abilities and gives them up for better causes towards the betterment of the society and the empowerment of the less privileged-that while gaining such a status with his mainstay as the "non glamorous, non popular" alternative kind of films which incorporate art and a cause because art without no cause is a waste of art. It is a sacrifice, a sacrifice worth making. His belief is clearly that the absence of a cause doesn't invalidate art but a cause makes it a better use of time and resources for a greater gain so as to benefit everyone one else who could use the excess.

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