Rahul Bose (left) and film-maker Prawaal Raman at the MAXI fair launch at XLRI on Thursday. (Bhola Prasad)
Any other actor would have crowed about his upcoming international outing, Deepa Mehta’s Midnight’s Children, a cinematic adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s game-changing fiction.
Rahul Bose, who changed the image of the parallel actor from scruffy to sharp, didn’t talk about his projects or celebrity friends.
In Jamshedpur since Thursday, he met parents and school students of Loyola School and Carmel Junior College as a part of the suicide prevention campaign initiated by Loyola School alumnus and film-maker Prawaal Raman and his team.
Sure, Rahul used his star appeal to get pin-drop attention from students and parents, but he spoke to them about their pressures and heartaches.
The man who defined his life on his own terms — successful copywriter-turned-indie actor who flirted briefly yet successfully for commercial ventures, director, rugby player and now social worker — also defined success, failure and the simple ways for children and parents to discover what works best for both.
On Thursday, Rahul — who also told The Telegraph that he had in his early twenties had a man-to-man talk with his father about “not doing an MBA” — also met budding managers on XLRI campus.
But on Friday, addressing youngsters and parents in separate sessions in Loyola School and students in Carmel Junior College, he displayed his managerial skills — his focus on the solution (self-esteem) and not the problem (suicide).
“I am not here to talk on suicide prevention or related topics. I will focus beyond that. Kids aren’t simple and they have many influences. The question is what do we do,” ‘Mr Iyer’ told around 100 parents at Loyola School.
He gave his own example, saying how he listened to himself and his father supported him.
“Parents need to be strong. It is important for parents to know they are their child’s icons. Find out your children’s pleasure points instead of stressing on their pressure points. Ultimately, for every parent, the most important thing is the child’s happiness and not the 97 per cent (marks) in exams,” he said.
“For a parent to compare a child with others is next to murder,” warned the star.
Rahul comfortably switched gears at the next session with students, keeping the tone witty and informal.
Addressing aspirant engineers, doctors and scientists, he gob-smacked them with an example. “A boy has an extraordinary talent in gardening, does a course from Singapore and leads a good, decent life.”
Why he said that soon became clear. Success wasn’t synonymous with science subjects, he said. “Everybody has some brilliance but very few can find it out. Most can’t find that x factor. So the least they do is stay from what they don’t like. At this age, you have to try everything. There will be a time when you take the final call,” Rahul said.
He also gave his own take on success.
“Think of how you want to be remembered by your friends if you were to be dead this moment. Would they miss your 99 per cent in ICSE?” Rahul asked.