"I think good artists were always doing good work."~ Rahul Bhat

Unlike many actors who glorify their struggle, Rahul Bhat seems like someone who always knew where he wanted to be and did not mind waiting for it. Even though it took him 15 years to get the right kind of role, he seemed both fresh and skillful in his role in Ugly (2014).

His latest release Union Leader, is a story inspired from real life events that filmmaker Sanjay Patel experienced as he worked as an engineer in chemical plants in India. The films showcases the plight of the workers trapped in an endless cycle of abuse and generational poverty as they become victims of the poor health and safety standards in Indian factories.

Despite his former apprehension to play the role of a mill worker, Rahul Bhat is excited about his character, the film and also changing times that allows him to be cast in role of this kind.

Union Leader

Union Leader

You started your acting journey from Heena in 1998 and Ugly released in 2014. You did Nayee Padoson in between that. But with Ugly you really entered films with a power packed performance and became a serious actor to watch out for. What was the journey like to films? Was it a struggle? Is this where you always intended on being? 

After Heena, things did move a little slow. I felt like I wanted to take a sabbatical because in those days the kind of work I was getting was not really the kind of things I wanted to do. And, in between I started my production company and started producing TV shows. But I never acted in them. So then eventually Ugly happened and then things started to fall in place. Union Leader is on the lines of an art house film, and then DaasDev releases in March. So this year looks good, I am looking forward to it.


What About Union Leader made you do the film? Tell us a little bit about your character. 

Sanjay Patel the director, called me one day and told me he wants to cast me. He chased me for over 6 months. But I wasn’t sure if I could pull off the role of a mill worker. So I wasn’t very keen. But then I read the script and after meeting him, I was convinced about doing the film. And that’s how it kind of happened. I am very happy with it and my role. The film is travelling around the world and it is doing what it is supposed to do.

The film talks about people who are under the poverty line, badly treated by Mill owners, working in bad work conditions. It is also about personal revelations and personal problems of this character I am playing. He has to deal with what is happening at his home and the pressure of keeping his job, and how he ends being the Union leader. It’s about his dilemmas.

I came on board for the film because I could see that he (Sanjay Patel) is going to tell a good story.

Director Sanjay Patel is a first time director and he is extremely passionate about his reasons to make the film and the plot. What were his inputs for the character and how did you prepare for the role? 

He has worked in a chemical industry before. He is passionate about what he feels and what he wants to show because he has seen things closely. He has written the script from his heart and his experiences. That is one of the main reasons for me to do this film. Because I saw his passion and that’s also how I could relate to the story. I came on board for the film because I could see that he is going to tell a good story.


How has your experience been working with Sudhir Mishra on DaasDev? 

When you work with directors like Anurag and Sudhir, of course you learn a lot and it helps with your craft. I am very glad I am getting to work with such directors.


Union Leader

Union Leader

Do you think actors get stereotyped as TV actors and then it’s very rare for them to break out of that image and go out and do big films as leads? Do you think that was more of an issue a few years back as opposed to now?

Times have changed. Now if I get casted in a film as a mill worker and all the other roles that are coming my way, I can’t say I am getting type casted. Things are changing but we still have a long way to go. Things were more difficult a few years back definitely. But even in the earlier days, there were films and there were actors and films makers who were making good films and intelligent films, what we know of as parallel cinema. People say times are changing and we are doing something like never before but I think good artists were always doing good work.


What are the kind of films you look forward to doing? What resonates most with you? 

I am looking forward to doing the kind of films I am doing right now. (Laughs). I am really happy with the work I am doing. I am looking forward to DaasDev releasing in March.


Also Read: ‘I Think That In The Practice Of Art We Can Find The Ways Which Can Take Us To The Answers.’ ~ Mrinal Desai