'I knew this would be a big film'

lInspiring story

'I knew this would be a big film'

Actor and director Rahul Bose was initially not associated with this film but when he was offered a role in ‘Poorna: Courage Has No Limit’, he liked the script so much so that he offered to direct and produce it as well.

    The powerful story of a young tribal girl from Telangana who overcomes her modest beginnings to become the youngest girl in history to reach the summit of the Mount Everest appealed to him and he instantly took the plunge.

Visiting the city to promote his film, Rahul speaks with Anushree Agarwal about what struck him about the story, his role and the experience of shooting it.

What about the project appealed to you?

The idea of a 13-year-old girl climbing the Mount Everest is astonishing. It is so improbable and I knew this would be a big film. I’ve never seen a biopic that starts so far away from where it ends. Most biopics you see are about the adult life. This is about a girl who has to fight through four rings of fire — being a girl, poverty, no education and then she is a tribal which has its own challenges. To me, this was a big deal.

What is your role in the film?

I play the role of Dr R S Praveen Kumar, mentor of Poorna and the man who controls the organisation and the running of the 300 odd social welfare schools across Telangana. He’s the secretary of social welfare. He’s the man who dares to dream at one point that Poorna’s achievement could actually be a gamechanger, the thing that will ignite the hopes and dreams of thousands of tribal parents across the state.

How is the film different from other movies like ‘Dangal’ and ‘Budhia Singh — Born To Run’?

There are concrete differences. Dr Kumar has a very benign, remote influence on Poorna. At one point, he tells her that she will be the only one responsible for her decision. I don’t think anyone gives a 13-year-old that power. In this film, women are talking to women without ever referring to men. In her first few interviews after the feat, Poorna said that she actually wanted to show that girls can do anything. These are her words and she did something adults would do. Most 13-year- olds would die on that mountain. There is not even a hill in Telangana so this achievement is extraordinary.

Your experience of shooting the film?

Very difficult! From the extreme temperatures to the climb and getting the right shots, we were exhausted by the end of it.

What made you choose Aditi for the role?

She was chosen from among 110 girls. She has a great mix of determination, self-pride, innocence and unselfconsciousness. The wisdom in her is way beyond her years like Poorna but she also has a child in her. You need to have the ability to show in your eyes what the character is going through and in that sense, she is a fantastic actor.

Which other projects do you have in the pipeline?

I am writing a film after this one. It is a gritty fiction film set in Mumbai about a woman that people see everyday but they don’t see.
The film has a very big heart but it can be unsparing at times.

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