To be appreciated by a Malayali is an achievement, says Rahul Bose

“Let us talk,” he said, “about India, cinema …heart and head…life and love.” That is Rahul Bose for you.

The actor, who is an art house favourite and who has shown equal calibre in commercial cinema, was ‘in conversation' with Uma da Cunha (programmer of the International Film Festival of Kerala) on the closing day of the festival, here, on Friday.

For Mr. Bose, the reasons for acting had not changed since his first role at the age of six in a school play as Tom, the Piper's Son. After the play, he had admirers from the next class, teachers gave him ice-creams, and it seemed effortless to be Tom, he recalled.

“The fame, appreciation from seniors, and the genuine feeling that I was good at it” continued to be the reasons for his existence as an actor.

Delving deep

He chooses his films carefully, and has not shied away from experimenting and exploring the ‘effortless and I am good at it' part. That includes questioning and arguing with his directors to get to know all that he can about his character, in the process building “a security around the character,” and exploring the hidden aspects of the role he plays.

The characters played by him seem effortless on screen, such as in ‘The Japanese Wife' directed by film-maker Aparna Sen which he regards as his best work till date. “The director knows the tune of the film better than anyone,” Mr. Bose said. With ‘Everybody says I am fine,' he made his first directorial debut, a task that was the “greatest feeling on earth but the most tiring work.”

‘High-quality fete'

On festivals and film culture, he said that to be appreciated by a Malayali was an achievement as he regarded Kerala and West Bengal to be the two States in the country with the highest cinema literacy.

A jury member at IFFK, Mr. Bose said the list of films selected for the festival indicated the quality and standard of the film festival, the kind of festival “that he would love to come (to).”

He felt that parallel cinema had not grown after the 70s, and pointed out the new breed of young film-makers (especially in West Bengal) who seemed to tell stories straight to the middle class with no political bend to their stories.

Rugby riches

Where rugby was concerned, his passion seemed to be intact as he said, “This game taught me more than what my parents did and I still hold my friends who protected me at the game close to my heart.”

Mr. Bose was part of the first Indian national rugby team to play the Asian Rugby Football Union Championship in 1998.

He has also been active as a social worker, “a role that was his commitment to society,” working closely with relief activities post the tsunami and the Mumbai riots.

He is the founder of a non-governmental organisation for anti-discrimination ‘The Foundation.'