This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Rimli Bhattacharya. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Rahul Bose And His Film Roles Inspire Me To Fight Patriarchy

More from Rimli Bhattacharya

“90% of Indian cinema is crap.”Rahul Bose

The above statement by the veteran actor has always fascinated me, as he treads the unconventional path, while also venturing into movies with people like me.

“Why do you watch such movies which only fetch ‘critic ratings’ but are not for the masses? Why Rahul Bose? Why do watch only those movies which portray sexuality and fetch controversies?” my friends asked me when I dragged them to watch Kaizad Gustad’s “Bombay Boys”. I didn’t reply because I already knew the answer.

Dear readers, let me introduce you all to Rahul Bose for your convenience. He is a man of 50. He is an actor, film director, screen writer, activist and rugby player.

One of his early films is the comedy “Bombay Boys” (1998), directed by the controversial director Kaizad Gustad. The film is about three young men of Indian origin who have been raised in the West. The elan Rahul Bose plays the character of Ricardo Fernandes who lands in Mumbai from Australia in search of his long-lost brother. During this time, Krishna Sahani (played by Naveen Andrews) also lands in Bombay from New York City to make it big in Bollywood. Xerxes Mistry (played by Alexander Gifford), who is a musician from London, also comes here.

Xerxes comes to India in search of his ancestral roots. In the meantime, Krishna falls prey to the underworld don Mastana (played by Naseeruddin Shah) who is also a film producer. Krishna, with his poor Hindi accent, is asked to play the silly stunts in a big-budget movie by Mastana, who wants the movie to flop. Xerxes Mistry is gay – and while searching for his true identity, he lands up in a torrid love affair with his homosexual landlord Pesi (played by Roshan Seth).

While all the characters were intriguing, I was especially hooked to Rahul Bose’s portrayal of Ricardo Fernandes. Ricardo shares his tiny apartment with Krishna and Xerxes. In search of his brother, he falls for the Mastana’s mistress, Dolly (played by Tara Deshpande). Ricardo is spotted at a strip club where he completely strips himself, except for his tiny vest – while dancing to please the rich and famous ‘aunties’, who are sex-starved. Ricardo leads a chaotic life where he goes to any extent in search of his brother. He is also undeterred in his pursuit of Dolly and to get her of the dungeon.

Mastana’s men beat him up when he asks a simple question. He gets further beaten up when he repeats the same question (till he spits blood) – before those goons answer his question, and he silently leaves. This is a heart-wrenching scene indeed. Before getting severely beaten up, the question which Fernandes had asked was: “Is Dolly still inside her apartment?”

Ricardo still saves Dolly when she tries to commit suicide (by slashing herself) on the same day. Ricardo also discovers the sad fate of his brother – and he is seen sobbing at the grave. Then, Mastana forces him to quit India for loving Dolly. In front of Mastana, Ricardo blurts “I love you” to Dolly. He leaves India, but doesn’t forget Dolly as he sends her a ticket to her so that she can join him abroad.

The film has a brilliant song “Waltzing Matunga” which Ricardo sings for Dolly. Dolly, unable to bear the shackles of Masatana’s torture, escapes from her flat and joins Ricardo for the dance.

I always feel connected to the characters when I watch a movie. Here, I felt connected to Rahul Bose when I watched him playing Ricardo – a compassionate lover to a woman who, he knows, is the slave of a powerful underworld thug. He could have been killed – yet, he remains firm and doesn’t let go of his love, no matter how difficult it is.

I also admired Rahul Bose in his act as Aman Kapoor in the movie “Chameli” directed by Anant Balani and Sudhir Mishra. Here, he was involved with a prostitute Chamlei (played by Kareena Kapoor) who changes his life forever.

His role as Raja Chowdhury in “Mr and Mrs Iyer” (directed by Aparna Sen) was equally commendable. Here, he and Meenakshi Iyer (played by Konkona Sen Sharma) shared a platonic love relationship with each other.

Why did I feel the need to speak about Rahul Bose? I have a mission – and here it is. In real life, such love stories rarely happen. Ricardo loved Dolly (a mistress), Aman Kapoor’s life takes a 360 degree turn when he meets Chameli (a street-smart prostitute) and Raja Chowdhury falls in love with Meenakshi (a married woman).

When a woman professes her love to a man, it is often considered as an invitation to have sex. While she may be seeking emotional support, there’s a chance that the man may take advantage of the fact, drag her to the bed, and even use her as a doormat.

I often wonder what will happen if I, a woman, utter “I love you” to a man. Will I be labeled as a ‘good woman’or someone seeking love? Or, will my character come under scrutiny for saying those words?

I have often come across women weeping bitterly, who have said to me that they had professed their love, but ultimately, the relationship did not sustain. In many cases, the woman’s respect, morality and worth was questioned.

Here, I have expressed my admiration and love for Rahul Bose. Now, if I say this to another man, will my character be questioned as well? Women have given in to hysterics, following their inability to recover from the loss or absence of a loved one. I believe that the many people who actually play with the emotions of woman are responsible for this.

After all, this is a society where women can be judged for anything she does. If a woman wants to kiss a man, she is judged. If she drinks and smokes, she will probably be labelled as a woman of low moral values.

I write this letter to Rahul Bose.

Dear Mr Rahul, you have fallen for women of ‘questionable’ characters in films. So, will you also fall in love with me a single woman writing on sex? I wait for that day when I will be able to say a person that ‘I love him’ without the fear of being judged for my past life. Will I be loved by a person who will ignore all my flaws and still love me as a spiritual soul?  Yes, I will make the first move here. I will tell that man – the man I admire the most (Rahul Bose) – that I love him.

Before I forget, I must say I love controversies. That is one of the reasons why I love watching Rahul Bose, and why I am spending a day writing a letter to him. I am also doing it because I believe that films often reflect the reality around and the characters of the actors.

Being a single woman, I will wait for that day when I will meet a person, the love of my life – and say it loud and clear that I love him. To the misogynist and patriarchal society – will you allow me or will you judge me?


Featured image source: Wikimedia Commons
You must be to comment.

More from Rimli Bhattacharya

Similar Posts

By Vanshika Gadekar

By Yusuf Abidin

By Ranjeet Menon

    If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

      If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        Wondering what to write about?

        Here are some topics to get you started

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

        Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

        Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

        The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

        Read more about his campaign.

        Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

        Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

        Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

        Read more about her campaign.

        MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

        With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Read more about her campaign. 

        A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

        As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Find out more about the campaign here.

        A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

        She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

        The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

        As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

        Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

        Find out more about her campaign here.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

        A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

        Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

        A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
        biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

        Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
        campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

        Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below