Readers Write In #310: Tisca Chopra’s directorial short ‘Rubaru’ discovers the ‘Actor’ in a ‘Star’

Posted on December 7, 2020

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(by Arun AK)

In the world of movies, age has a dual role to play depending on with whom it is dealing. It acts as wine for an actor as he/she becomes finer and better with age. But for a ‘star’, age acts as slow poison that gradually diminishes their spark until the lights fade away into oblivion. To describe it in simpler terms, age can be considered a friend to an actor whereas for a ‘star’ it is the biggest nemesis.

Tragically, in Tisca Chopra’s short film Rubaru, her character Radha Malhotra is a fading star caught on the wrong side of age. Radha has been replaced in her comeback film as the producers want to cast a good actor and not a star. The audience isn’t kind to her either. “She should start doing the role of a mother now“, “Her looks are a result of plastic surgery“, “It’s time for her to quit acting and start judging reality shows“. These are some of the crass comments that she overhears that further puncture her already dented self-esteem.

Rubaru has been wonderfully directed by Tisca Chopra who intelligently uses flashback voices in the background to effectively communicate her character’s state of mind. Radha desperately tries to recall her glory days right from being crowned Miss Palampur to her dazzling days of stardom. The artist in her needs to urgently find some inspiration to revive her self-worth that has hit rock bottom.

To prove herself as an actor, Radha is enacting a play based on the life of writer Virginia Woolf. But the demanding director (Arjun Mathur) isn’t satisfied with her performance in rehearsals and doesn’t think highly of her acting abilities. The emotional turmoil that Radha’s character in the play is undergoing parallels the inner demons and insecurities of Radha’s life. All that Radha needs to do for delivering a moving performance is to ‘not act’ and simply bare her real feelings on stage. But will she be able to endure the pain if her act fails to impress the audience?

For those of you who have watched films like Sunset Boulevard and Veronika Voss that deal with washed-up stars, Rubaru will offer a familiar yet fresh perspective.