Versatile Bollywood actor speaks about quiet performances and his bhadra lok Baba
Talented actor Rahul Bose says aggressive roles get recognition easily and that is why his more subtle performance in Shaurya is taking time to register.
“Everybody after seeing Shaurya is full of praise for Kay Kay... and rightly so. But it’s only now that I’ve started getting phone calls for the credible sane element that I represent,” Rahul said.
“That’s a direct reflection of the way Kay Kay and I have played out our characters... If we had both screamed in the courtroom, the moral equilibrium of the sequence would’ve gone for a toss,” he added.
He feels performances in India are judged by their immediate effect. “Unfortunately, in this country the more aggressive performance is considered ‘better’. The notion of silences on screen escapes our audience. I faced the same situation with Mr & Mrs Iyer. It took a while for people to understand my quiet performance.
“I did a rabble-rousing performance in Sanjay Jha’s Mumbai Chaka Chak. Just like the guy in Split Wide Open and Pyaar Ke Side Effects, there’s nothing subtle about that guy. But I enjoy subtle performances like English, August, Chameli and the forthcoming The Japanese Wife. The last is by far my quietest and most satisfying performance.
So is Shaurya Rahul’s most difficult part?
“No Maan Gaye Mughal-e-Azam is the toughest role I’ve played. He’s part RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) agent and part lovelorn buffoon. A lethal combination.”
During the making of Shaurya, which has an army background, Rahul lost his father Rupen Bose.
“Nobody knows this. But my dad, a full-blown bhadra lok (gentleman), played a role in my first film English, August. He would visit me on location for every film. The only one he couldn’t make it for was Shaurya.
“During English, August he was there. And he just fitted into the role of Paltoo Kaku like a glove because they needed a bhadra lok. For Shaurya he was supposed to join me as usual. I was shooting in Manali and he was in his home in Kasauli. I heard he had collapsed and was rushed to the army hospital where they saved his life for the time being. So you see I owe a lot to the army,” said Rahul gratefully.
Rahul too continued shooting the film for practical reasons.
“I remember I had two sequences to shoot with Kay Kay Menon on the day my father collapsed. One was in the morning when we share coffee and the other in the night when we share a drink. Samar Khan offered to cancel the shooting, but we all know what budget constraints the smaller filmmakers work under. I continued and it wasn’t such an ordeal. In fact, it was a blessing to slip into another world that didn’t remind me of baba (father).”
Rahul finally opens up on the sensitive issue.
“I modelled my character in Buddhadeb Dasgupta’s Kaal Purush on baba. The tactile rapport that my character shares with his daughter and son was directly echoed from what didi (sister) and I shared with baba.”