Rahul Bose was born to Rupen and Kumud Bose. He spent his childhood in Kolkata, West Bengal then moved to Mumbai with his family.
He is an alumnus of the Cathedral and John Connon School in Mumbai and graduated from Sydenham College. Rahul spent time doing theatre, boxing, and playing rugby, during his college days.
His mother introduced him to boxing and rugby union. He plays international rugby in the National Orange Indian Rugby Team.
Rahul Bose left his job as a creative director to become a full-time actor after the release of his first film "English, August"
Bose started his acting career at age six when he played the lead in his school play, Tom, the Piper's Son. He has performed on the Bombay stage as well as abroad in venues such as the Leicester Haymarket in England where he starred in Tim Murari's The Square Circle. His first film, English, August became a cult favourite.
Other notable films include Split Wide Open (Best Actor, Singapore Film Festival, 2000), Mr. And Mrs. Iyer, and Jhankaar Beats. Despite his roles in more mainstream movies like Thakshak and Chameli, Bose has been called "the superstar of Indian arthouse cinema" by Time magazine and "the Sean Penn of Oriental cinema" by Maxim.
He is scheduled to begin shooting his adaptation of Mohsin Hamid's novel, Moth Smoke in early 2009.Bose assisted in the relief efforts in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands after the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami. As a result of this work, Bose launched the Andaman and Nicobar Scholarship Initiative through his NGO, The Foundation.
The scholarship program provides for the education of underprivileged children from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. He is associated with several other charitable organizations such as Akshara Centre, Breakthrough, and the Spastics Society of India.
In addition, he became the first Indian Oxfam global ambassador in 2007. He is also an ambassador for both the American India Foundation and the World Youth Peace Movement. Bose has given lectures on gender equality and human rights at Oxford and during the 2004 World Youth Peace Summit.