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Rahul Bose 's Profile
Indian actor, screenwriter, film director, social activist
Rahul Bose started his acting career early, when as a boy of six he played the lead in his school play, 'Tom, the Piper's Son'. Ever since then his love for theatre has only grown with a prolific body of work on the Bombay stage culminating in his last performance at the Leicester Haymarket in England where he played the lead in Tim Murari's 'The Square Circle'. His film career took off in 1995 with the unprecedented success of his first film, 'English, August', today a cultish favourite amongst cinephiles. Acclaim followed for his work in movies like 'Split Wide Open' (Best Actor, Singapore Film Festival, 2000), Mr. And Mrs. Iyer, and 'Jhankaar Beats' – all international award-winning films. Although 'Thakshak' and 'Chameli' may be considered to be more mainstream, his image as India's premier actor of the alternative cinema finds concurrence across the world.
‘Time’ magazine called him ‘the superstar of Indian art house cinema’ while ‘Maxim’ (Italy), ‘the Sean Penn of Oriental cinema’.He played the lead in Aparna Sen’s ‘15 Park’ Avenue’ which was awarded the National Award for Best English Film. Further international acclaim came Rahul’s way for his work in Buddhadev Dasgupta’s ‘Kaalpurush’, which won the National Award for Best Film, 2006 and was also in the Master’s Section of the Toronto International Film Festival and Berlin Film Festival that year. Earlier, Rahul had been riding the wave of the success of , ‘Pyaar ke Side Effects’ which ran to packed houses across the country. It is his first solo-hero hit in the mainstream genre.
Not surprisingly he is being touted as that rare commodity – an actor who straddles the worlds of arthouse and commercial cinema with elan. In recognition of this, two retrospectives of his body of work have been held – the first in Geneva in 2004, and the second at the Masala! Mehndi! Masti! Festival in Toronto in July 2007. After receiving unanimous praise both popular and critical, for his performance in ‘Dil Kabaddi’, Rahul will be seen with one of India’s premier film directors, Aparna Sen, for ‘The Japanese Wife’, a bilingual adaptation of an acclaimed short story by Kunal Basu. The buzz is that this is his best performance yet. Meanwhile his to-be-released films iinclude Rajeev Virani’s ‘The Whisperers’, Shivam Nair’s ‘Exchange Offer – Conditions Apply’, and his first Hollywood film, Santosh Sivan’s ‘Before the Rains’,released to critical and commercial success in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. (Please refer to quotes from reviews of selected films attached below)
As is widely known now, Rahul's social concerns occupy an equally important space in his consciousness. The attacks of 26/11 have left a lasting impact on all Indians and Rahul is no exception. He has countered it in the only way he knows – by writing about it in Tehelka, Hindustan Times, the Times of India and Outlook. These articles as well as all his television appearances have seen him talking of the need for calm, constructive, passionate, unrelenting engagement with government to work towards lasting change. He has been the moving force behind the setting up of the Group of Groups, an initiative that seeks to bring the disparate activist and civilian voices together to present a force that no government will be able to ignore. 2007 was a seminal year in his efforts at public service and philanthropy when he started his own non-profit organization, The Foundation, an NGO dedicated to the removal of discrimination from all walks of life.
The first of The Foundation’s initiatives is well under way, where six children, four girls and two boys, have been selected out of 36 islands and 88 schools in the Andaman & Nicobar islands, to receive a scholarship that sees all their expenses paid for their education from grade 6 to grade 12 in Rishi Valley school, outside Bangalore. The children are now in their second year. 2008 has seen the launch of HEAL (Healp Eradicate Abuse through Learning), an initiative aimed at fighting child sexual abuse in the country. By 2009, The Foundation seeks to be the only refuge in the country where victims will receive every form of assistance – medical, psychological, legal and financial assistance.
Meanwhile, Rahul’s efforts through other NGOs have not diminished and been well-chronicled in the Indian press. Primary amongst these has been his unrelenting, post-Tsunami (he got there the day after it hit the islands), efforts in Andaman and Nicobar over two and a half years and twenty three trips to the islands. Rahul, as part of the Solidarity Network, provided relief and consequently was involved in rehabilitation efforts for which he was awarded the Godfrey Phillips Prize for Bravery in Social Service. Working with NGOs on the mainland, he has also helped provide materials, vehicles, mobile phones in islands deep south in Nicobar. His efforts in the fields of gender equality and education have been recognized with Oxfam International appointing him as their latest Global Ambassador.