Rahul Bose gets chatty about his work, on and off screen, with HT City
Having done both arthouse and mainstream cinema, where do you place yourself as an actor?
It’s very clear that the bulk of my work is arthouse world cinema. Even now I have four releases waiting —
The Whisperers, Before The Rains, The Japanese Wife
Maan Gaye Mughal-e-Azam
is the most mainstream film I’ve done and the only one I will do [in the over-the-top farcical comedy genre]. It’s a part of a desire [in the past 2-3 years] to do one film from each genre of Hindi cinema before I die.
Sexual politics is intrinsic to your work, like
Pyar ke Side Effectsand others. How do you think the industry addresses sexuality?
I don’t think it does. I don’t think the Hindi film industry has tried to approach the issue of gender politics in a way that is approached in the social, political and cultural spheres across the world. Hindi cinema still remains bound by certain patriarchal agencies and I don’t see that being busted overnight.
Do you see that happening in the future?
Well, nothing moves like an arrow. Things happen gradually. Gender politics coming of age in Indian cinema can only happen as a reflection of gender politics coming of age in our society — and we are far away from that. Section 377 [Indian Penal Code, that criminalises ‘unnatural’ sex, including homosexuality] hasn’t even been abolished yet.
Talking of Section 377, Ramadoss recently stated that homosexuality should be legalised...
Contrary to all the flak he gets, he’s actually a very bright and sensitive man. His zeal might be misconstrued for being irrational but it’s praiseworthy that he said that.
You’ve stopped directing after
Everybody Says I’m Fine.
No, I’m making Mohsin Hamid’s book
into a movie. We’ll be shooting in February and March.<b2>
You once said you can easily drop your pants since you have no inhibitions. Would you do it again?
Yes, certainly. If somebody said you were naked in
, I’d say you can’t masturbate in a suit. Too much is made of this stuff. If a bath scene is important in a movie, you can’t expect the character to do it in shorts and a shirt.
Juggling between acting and activism...
I don’t see it as a juggle — I see it as two strands of my heart that demand attention. It’s never a hassle, never to impress the press. I made 26 trips to the Andamans after the tsunami but nobody has a single photograph of me. When the Ahmedabad blasts happened, I was there to meet the victims. Not because I’m a celebrity but just to say that I feel your pain and I’m here. If you can go to an IPL game, you must also show your responsibility as an Indian at a place where there is pain.