Art House films struggling
Rahul Bose tells New AgeErshad Kamol
Art House icon of the contemporary Indian film industry Rahul Bose is playing the protagonist in Rubayat Hossain’s upcoming film Under Construction.
The name of the character is Imtiaz Elahi, a Bangladeshi theatre promoter, who develops a relationship with a frustrated theatre actor, which will be performed by another Bollywood actor Shahana Goswami.
‘I performed with Shahana in most scenes. I don’t have many appearances with the local actors. So, I can’t comment on the local industry,’ Rahul Bose told New Age on Tuesday at a local hotel.
The choosy actor Rahul Bose agreed to perform in the film after a series of conversations with
Rubayat Hossain for a year as he signs a contract only when he is convinced about the quality of the film. ‘I’m concerned about five issues: story, screenplay, director, co-artiste and importance of the character. I met Rubayat in different places in New York, Mumbai and other places. I agreed to perform after a series of conversation,’ he said.
Despite Rahul Bose having similarities with Nasiruddin Shah - as both of them began their career in theatre and stepped into films through art house productions - Rahul does not believe that he is inspired by Shah. ‘He is simultaneously acting in films and theatre whereas I quit theatre just after 13 years of my career in 2000. I found that my career in theatre was becoming stagnant in terms of drawing viewers’ attention.’
But, there are some unique features in Bose’s career. When most of the alternative film actors acting in mainstream films failed to capture attention of the mass people, Rahul Bose got a huge response performing in mainstream Bollywood films such as Pyar Ka Side Effects, Jhankar Beats and Chameli.
The hard to please actor, however, quit the mainstream at the prime time of his career. ‘I used to get offers of films which were similar in many ways, this felt a bit monotonous to me so I refused to continue acting in mainstream films at the top gear of the career,’ said Rahul Bose.
‘I admit that my performance in mainstream films gave me huge popularity but I get satisfaction acting in art house films, which are more challenging compared to the mainstream ones,’ Bose said.
Truly, his appearance in art house films such as English August, Mr and Mrs Iyer, 15 Park Avenue, The Japanese Wife, Anuranan, Antaheen and others gave his popularity a boost to a different height and earned him a number of local and international awards.
His self directed film in English Everybody Says I’m Fine, released in 2001, was the first Indian
film that got commercial release in the US.
However, according to Rahul Bose indie and art house films in India are struggling. ‘There are some studios which promote particular indie makers. But, art house films are really struggling, despite the fact that certain films have been putting “limited but consistent” presence in International festivals. Still, directors and superstars in India are after big budget blockbusters.’
‘Commercially successful big budget blockbusters produced from India are not as successful in international festivals as the westerns don’t understand these films the way they understand their commercial films. It happens due to the cultural difference,’ Rahul Bose said.
A social activist, Rahul Bose, however, admits that the random presence of ‘item songs’ in mainstream commercial films in India has adverse impact on society. ‘The magnitude of the social impact is not that alarming since anybody, who does not like such exposure, can avoid these films. However, the question is how one can avoid such songs when they are aired on TV channels 24/7. It is alarming as the channels have access to the bed rooms.’
‘I’ve already written on the issue. I believe the “item songs” promote misogyny and certain sexual appeals towards the women. More importantly, including the “item songs” is a kind of admission on the makers’ part that their films are not interesting enough and they want to attract the viewers through some “sex items” but not through quality of their works,’ Rahul
Rahul Bose further said that he was making preparations to direct his second film. ‘I will not disclose details of the film now as it is still at the script writing process. But I can say that the film, depicting the social life in India, will feature eight/nine best actors of India,’ Rahul said.
Apart from his film career and social activities, Rahul Bose, a former Indian national rugby player, still plays rugby, squash, tennis and other sports.
‘From my childhood my parents taught me “to taste everything”, which I am practicing in my life till now,’ Rahul Bose said smiling.
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