There are very few in the Hindi film industry who have managed to balance their acting career with an equal involvement in social causes. Rahul Bose is one of them. The actor, who recently participated in Mumbai’s annual marathon, also has two others films in two different languages up for release. In a carefree chat with us, the 45-year-old shared his thoughts on films, direction and his favourite sport rugby.
Do you think more Bollywood actors should back social awareness events?
If you’re happy doing it, do. If not, there’s no compulsion. One actress once told me that her job is to make others happy by acting, so isn’t she right in her own way? We should follow our heart’s desire and shouldn’t exhibit arrogance at the same time. At least that’s what I believe in.
Is it a conscious decision to do unconventional roles?
Let me put it this way: a career is not defined by what you say yes to but what you say no to. As I grow older, the pleasure of doing decent work is what satisfies me. I’m less attracted to fame and money today. Apart from Maan Gaye Mughal-e-Azam, I stand by every single film I’ve worked in so far.
And you’re playing a negative role in your next?
Well, it’s a token villain to be precise. The film doesn’t’ really have a villain. In fact, Deepa Mehta has inserted moments in the film, which are very fictional but cinematic. Thanks to her, I finally got to play someone older than me so you’ll see me balding for a change.
How is Deepa Mehta as a director?
She has a strong sense of what works and what doesn’t. She doesn’t waste time. If you have something you’re very convinced about, you’ll never get uncertainty from her. It’s either get yes or a no. Her ‘definitism’ really saves a lot of time.
You read Midnight’s Children before signed up for the film?
Of course I did. I was approached to play the protagonist’s role about two decades ago so I read it then. And now when this film came along, I read it again. It’s my favourite book.
Are there any specific filmmakers you’d like to work with?
You already know all the exciting names that any actor would love to work with — Dibakar Banerjee, Anurag Kashyap, Vishal Bhardwaj and the list goes on.
Don’t you play rugby anymore?
I’ve officially retired from representing India. I’ve quit playing at the domestic club level as well since the standard of refereeing is far inferior. And given the physical nature of the sport, it makes a huge difference. Besides I also learned that people are getting cheap thrills by injuring me unnecessarily. However, I still play whenever I get time with friends.