Joining the league of the very many Indian faces at this year’s Cannes Film Festival is actor and producer, Rahul Bhat. And what makes this feat even more special for him is the fact that his upcoming film, Kennedy, has been chosen for a screening on May 24 in the Midnight Screening category at the film gala. Billed as a police noir, the film directed by filmmaker Anurag Kashyap sees Rahul essay the titular role of an insomniac ex-cop, long thought to be dead, but still operating for the corrupt system while looking for redemption. Interestingly, for Rahul, Kennedy marks his second film to make it to the French Riviera after Ugly (2013), which was also helmed by Anurag.
In an exclusive chat with News18, Rahul says, “It’s a great validation. So many people tell me, ‘You’re going to Cannes… what’s the big deal?’ So many international films compete there but very few get selected. It’s all about the validation you get at that kind of level.” Particularly ‘excited’ about the screening of Kennedy, he adds, “It gives me a lot of satisfaction that one of the few films selected to be screened at the Cannes is mine. So many people will be watching it. It’s a great feeling and is humbling too. What else does an actor want?”
But the one thing about the Cannes Film Festival which is leaving him exhilarated is the anticipation of getting to speak to some of the bigwigs of global cinema. “It’s a great feeling to even be thinking about walking the same red carpet as Michael Douglas and Martin Scorsese. I’m looking forward to meeting some interesting people and talk about cinema. I’ll get to be a part of a world which is all about cinema. And cinema is my life. Being there with such great minds will be a great experience,” says the Fitoor (2016) and Daas Dev (2018) actor.
Taking his thought ahead, Rahul feels that it is this ‘exposure’ that will help him improve his craft and up his game. “As an actor and human being, when you experience different things, go to other countries and meet and interact with the best minds in the business that you’re in and talk about cinema and mingle with your herd, you get to learn so much,” he remarks.
Emphasising on how film festivals like Cannes’ go a long way in helping actors like him, he says, “I’m excited to watch so many interesting films. If the jury has selected 30-40 films out of a thousand films, I want to know and watch them and experience their greatness. Acting can be only be learnt by watching great performances. It’s the best way of learning your craft."
Kennedy marks his third collaboration with Anurag after Ugly and Dobaaraa (2022). Over the years, the maker has become a regular at film festivals including Cannes and it was no surprise that Kennedy, too, made it there. Last year, his film, Almost Pyaar With DJ Mohabbat, had its world premiere at the Marrakech Film Festival. Lauding Anurag, Rahul elaborates, “Look at the talents - so many directors, writers and actors - that he has given to the film industry! He has done a lot for Indian cinema and he has done it on his own, which is no joke. So many of his assistants have become big directors. He has made some brilliant films. The school of Anurag Kashyap is very interesting. He has reshaped so many careers. The amount of good things he has done is incredible!”
Sharing his thoughts on the following and critical acclaim that Anurag enjoys even internationally, Rahul says, “He has a cult following in India but the amount of respect that he gets from brilliant filmmakers, thinkers and film connoisseurs abroad is incredible. It’s not easy to be at the level that Anurag is at today. He must really be a genius to have received the love and respect that he has.”
Kennedy also stars Sunny Leone. The film has been produced by Zee Studios and Ranjan Singh and Kabir Ahuja of Good Bad Films. The DOP of the film is Sylvester Fonseca. Its music has been composed by Ashish Narula with Aamir Aziz and Boyblanck.