|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'. Today one of the country's most respected actors, his seminal roles are the ones in, 'English, August', 'Split Wide Open' (Best Actor – Singapore Film Festival), 'Mr and Mrs Iyer', 'Before the Rains', 'Kaalpurush' (National Award for Best Film across all languages, 2007) and 'The Japanese Wife'. 'Time' magazine called him 'the superstar of Indian art house cinema' while 'Maxim' (Italy), 'the Sean Penn of Oriental cinema'. 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.
As is widely known now, Rahul's social concerns occupy an equally important space in his consciousness. 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. Aside from education and CSA, recognising that climate change is going to be the single most influential factor in the world, both economically and socio-culturally, Rahul is, as usual, ahead of the curve in India in strenuously urging the country to 'go green'. To this end he has strategically chosen two completely different initiatives. As Oxfam's first Global Ambassador from the Eastern Hemisphere, Rahul launched their India initiative on climate change in March 2009. This initiative focuses on government policy at the highest level along with advocacy of the same with international bodies, e.g. the United Nations. The second, more grassroots initiative is with Planet Alert, a multi-pronged campaign including, 'Green Runs' across the country, college interactions, mass media campaigns and a video blog as well as a written blog that Rahul personally crafts ever so often on www.planetalert.bigadda.com. In a first for any Indian, Rahul was invited by the Climate Action Network in September '09 to deliver nine lectures in Canada to the South-Asian Canadian community on the global politics of climate change to raise awareness in the lead-up to Copenhagen in December '09. But the real feather in his cap was being selected as one of ten speakers to speak at the Global day of Action for Climate Change rally of 100,000 people in Copenhagen, at COP15, in December last year. Better still, he was asked to address the crowd again at the end of the rally.
Meanwhile, Rahul's efforts through other NGOs have not diminished and have been well-chronicled in the Indian press. Primary amongst these has been his unrelenting, post-tsunami (he got there the day after it struck), efforts in the Andaman and Nicobar islands. Rahul, as part of the Solidarity Network, made 23 trips over 30 months, 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 Oxfam Global ambassadorship sees him join the likes of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Annie Lennox, Scarlett Johansson and Gael Garcia Bernal. Another key area of his focus is communal harmony and gender equality. He has lectured at innumerable fora on the former, written extensively about the issue and for the last three years, regularly works with over 80 Muslim, Dalit and Hindu girls as part of an initiative created by Akshara Centre, a Bombay-based NGO. He is on the advisory board of 'Breakthrough', a New York-based NGO committed to gender equality and human rights. He has lectured on the same at the World Youth Peace Summit in 2003.
An acclaimed speaker Rahul continues to deliver talks across the world. His motivational speeches on leadership, life choices, personal success and public commitment have been shared with employees of notable corporates like Hewlitt-Packard, WNS-GS, The Taj Group of Hotels and HSBC Bank to name a few. 2008 saw Rahul's international profile as a social activist really gain recognition when he was one of twelve international thinkers, politicians, economists and social activists to inaugrate the 'In My Name' initiative against global poverty. Rahul unveiled this initiative along with the Secretary General of the U.N., Ban-Ki-Moon, Queen Rania of Jordan, Mary Robinson, ex-Prime Minister of Ireland, Bono of U2, amongst others. He was one of only five of the delegation invited to address the world press. In the same month he delivered four keynote speeches in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and Houston at fundraisers for the world's largest NGO working in the field of primary education, Pratham. He has presented a paper on 'Gender Discrimination in India' at the World Youth Summit held in Bangkok in 2004. His induction onto the board of Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) in 2008, has seen him at the fore front of peace- building and secularism initiatives in Bombay addressing public rallies in different parts of the city. Apart from raising funds and personally donating to CJP, Rahul continues to write for and participate in new initiatives for the organization-.including flood relief activities during the deluge of 2006 in Bombay. These and his unquestionable passion for the city were reflected in his ceaseless efforts to get Bombay to speak in one voice in its demand for good governance by creating, Group of Groups, a coalition of 51 NGOs and citizens groups that has since disbanded.
Speaking at schools and colleges is something Rahul never misses an opportunity to do. He has spoken at Oxford University, Cambridge University, Cornell University, MIT, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, IIT, Bombay, and St. Xavier's College, amongst others. His lectures for Teach For India Fellows have been especially well received. He has also held acting workshops in several well-recognised schools of the country.
But for Rahul perhaps his proudest achievement has been the fact that he has been a member of the Indian rugby team from 1998-2008, playing 17 internationals for the country against countries like Kazakhstan, Thailand, China and Japan. His interest in the sport developed 25 years ago when he first learnt it in his school, Cathedral and John Connon, in Bombay. Ever since then it has been one of the greatest influences in his life. In the last few years he participated in the World Cup Qualifiers held in India, then appeared for the country in two test matches vs. Thailand and Malaysia in June, 2006, then was recently a part of the Indian team that registered victories against Guam and the Phillipines in July 2007. In 2008 he was a part of the team that narrowly lost to Malaysia and beat Pakistan 98-0.
An advertising professional (at 26, he was creative director of Rediffusion D, Y &R who chucked it all up to become a full time actor), Rahul wrote and directed his first feature film, 'Everybody Says I'm Fine!' for which he won an Honourable Mention, The John Schlesinger Award for Best Debut Feature Film, at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, 2003. The film also garnered a Gold Award at the World Fest in Houston. The first English language film out of India to attract (non-Asian) American theatrical distribution, '…I'm Fine!' released across 14 cities in the U.S. in 2003. It opened to extremely good reviews in publications like L.A. Times, L.A. Weekly, Philadelphia Enquirer and Time magazine. Rahul's next directorial venture will be a film in English based on Mohsin Hamid's highly acclaimed first novel, 'Moth Smoke'. It goes on the floors in February, 2011.
Rahul continues to write prolifically on issue ranging from gender equality to the future of Indian cinema. His many articles straddling sport, humour, non-profit and cinema may be found with a simple Google search. A lifelong resident of Bombay, Rahul currently leads the quintessential peripatetic life with punctuated retreats to his mountain home in Kasauli.
• Global Ambassador – Oxfam, one of the foremost international NGOs
working in practically every area of human development in over 100
• 2010, 2009 Brand Ambassador, Design For Change – an international
community-service contest for school children.
• 2009 Brand Ambassador, 'Alert Ambassador' of Planet Alert – a multi-
pronged campaign to make India 'go green'.
• 2007 Event Ambassador of the Mumbai Marathon – one of the world's top
• 2006, 2007, 2008 Brand ambassador for Xylys, the top-of-the-line range
of watches from Titan, india's leading watchmakers.
• 2007 Brand ambassador for ABN Amro Bank and their Van Gogh
Preferred Banking division.
Awards and Titles:
Best Actor – Singapore Film Festival
Honourable Mention – John Schlesinger Award for Best Debut Feature Film Director
Indian Youth Icon – Social Justice and Welfare, 2009.
Inaugural Winner – 'GREEN IIFA' – International Indian Film Awards, Macau 2009.
The 'Godfrey Phillips Bravery Award 2006 – Social Service” for post-tsunami relief and rehabilitation efforts in the Andaman and Nicobar islands.
Winner – Karmaveer Puraskar for Social Service - Cinema
Winner – Citizen Journalist Eminent Persons Award (CNN-IBN)
World Youth Peace Leader, World Youth Peace Movement
Member, Resource Group – UN initiative of Solutions Exchange, Gender Community
Advisory board of 'Breakthrough' - a New York based NGO committed to human rights, HIV and gender equality
Member, Board of Directors of Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), a
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