Rahul Bose has completed 3 films at the end of 2005. He now has 15 Park Avenue. He speaks to Subhash K Jha.Q: You've been awfully quiet lately?
A: I've signed five films back-to-back. And I'm shooting till April 2006. After that I'll get busy writing my second directorial venture. I'm embarrassed to say this…But the funding is in place. But no script yet. My first directorial venture Everybody Says I'm Fine was ready on 9/11 , 2001. My acting appetite took over thereafter. The five films on the floors are part of the process of satiation.Q: Can we talk about some of them?
A: The Whisperers is clearly a genre-specific film. It's a psychological thriller. Working with Manoj Bajpai was clearly one of the most intense and rewarding experience of my life. He knows his chops. What's interesting about this project is that I've written but not directed it. Rajiv Virani has.
I had to re-write almost everyday, keeping in mind the changing chemistry between the characters played by Manoj and me. We play two extremely wealthy guys. It's in English. Whisperers was home for me with Rajiv and Manoj. If I had to change a prop I didn't have to ask. If Rajiv had to re-write he didn't have to ask me. Q: Is it another film about male bonding?
A: Not the least! It's about the world, power, money and politics and how they effect these two men. We shot entirely in the night. I'd re-write from 5 to 7 in the evening after rehearsing with Manoj. I'd like to think we're good friends. We seem to be fighting all the time. We were constantly making fun of each other. It was a genuine bonhomie. It was unpretentious and real. We don't socialize . But we've met a couple of times socially.Q: Do you enjoy the reputation of being an actor who does English language films that are seen in the multiplexes?
A: I think one has to see Buddhadeb Dasgupta's Kaal Purush to smash that myth. I don't see what else one can do. As long as I don't get to do senseless masala films filled with innuendos, I'm happy to live with the multiplex label.Q: Speaking of which, you were offered Indra Kumar's Masti.
A: Those are unconfirmed reports.Q: These are not unconfirmed reports.
A: Well I was offered Masti. But at the point of time I had already done another 3-hero film Jhankar Beats . For me repetition is death. Q: How was it working with Mallika Sherawat in Saket Chowdhary's Pyar Ke Side effects ?
A: Mallika and I come from different worlds and schools. But that has never been an obstacle in working with anyone. We shared a very comfortable chemistry. What was really wonderful was the cast. The film is narrated from my point of view. Actors like Ranvir Shorey who plays my best friends, Aamir Bashir who plays my brother-in-law, Sharad Saxena who's my father-in-law provided a very strong supporting cast.
Mallika plays a very strong jatni . It's one of the few scripts I've read which has wit as opposed to just broad comedy. I had a ball shooting this film because of the director. Saket was fun. You could be doing the best script in the world and have a shitty time. Saket is intelligent funny and easy-going. Q: And you've just completed a second Bengali film?
A: Yes, it's a small film. It's got Raima Sen , Rituparno Sengupta and Rajit Kapur. We're halfway through. The Bengali here is more literate and urban than in Buddahdeb Dasgputa's Kaalpurush where the Bengali was more lower middleclass. The director is Tony Raichowdhary .His real name is Anniruddha. Q: How was it working with Aparna Sen again in 15 Park Avenue?
A: Many things were the same as Mrs & Mrs Iyer while many things were different. Aparna Sen's command over the language of creativity ,her demands on actors to bring on the table than normal, and her clear idea of what her cinema ought to be, were still the same. Q: So what changed?
A: The comfort level. If she saw me giving a bad shot she said so loudly. And if she thought I was right on the button she didn't make a noise about it. Normally during the first time directors are very effusive about their appreciation of actors.
This time there was a true honest relationship between me and Aparna where nothing needed to be over-stated. Between the two films we've become really good friends. And I've the most enormous respect for her as a humanbeing and director. During 15 Park Avenue we never hesitated to argue or fight. People who like each other often do.Q: Your first with Shabana Azmi…
A: Yes, I call her the empresss. It's mindboggling to watch the array of skills a Naseer or a Shabana brings to a character. When you combine those qualities with their humility before a shot, you realize that's the essence of any actor. She's just one of the most appealing humanbeings I know…So is Waheeda Rehman who's also in the cast. She and I got along really well. Off sets, we discussed social issues . I'd look at her and wish she had been born a decade earlier. Q: Did you enjoy this film more than Mr & Mrs Iyer?
A: Can you imagine me doing a film with such gorgeous gallery of women…Waheedaji. Shabana, Konkona and Shefali Chhaya who in my opinion is the best thing in the movie. She plays my wife. All these women have an opinion and a sense of humour. I was in seventh heaven. It was nirvana.
But personally I' m fonder of the content in Mr & Mrs Iyer….and let me tell you, I am far less central to the drama in 15 Park Avenue. This is the story of Konkona's decline into insanity and her relationship with her half-sister Shabana Azmi. I've a wonderful role. But I come in the second-half . Q: Rahul, are you still single?
A: I've to go for a shot.Q: No answer me please, are you seeing anyone?
A: No. I haven't been seeing anyone for four years. Not even casual dating. Q: What do you do for sex?
A: I watch music videos on television.Q: Is that normal?
A: I don't feel motivated to spend that much time on another humanbeing right now.Q: Or aren't you able to find the right partner?
A: Could be because I'm short and ugly.