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Review Hindi

Cinestaan Curates: Rubaru presents the uneasy unravelling of an actor’s mind

Release Date: 28 Nov 2020

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Sukhpreet Kahlon

Tisca Chopra’s directorial debut brings to the fore the fears and anxieties of a film star.

Tisca Chopra’s directorial debut, Rubaru, delves into what lies behind the glitzy, glamorous world of movies. Chopra, who has also written the short film, plays Radha, an actress past her prime who is dipping her toe into theatre and making a shift from the world of movies. But as she embarks on this new journey, she is met with doubts and surrounded by people who think she is over the hill and irrelevant.

In the play, she essays the role of a writer who battles with similar concerns as her publisher has a complete lack of faith in her abilities. As the character melds with Radha and brings her insecurities to the fore, the meta film explores the struggle and trepidation that lies behind the mask that actors put on. The director of the play tells the actress that her getting a role is a ‘privilege’ and questions her ability to act, people laugh at her and judge her behind her back, she is replaced in a movie and her talent is questioned at every turn, even as she holds her head high in public but is crumbling inside.

There is a lot that Rubaru packs in a short span of time. We are told about Radha’s journey from a small town to becoming a star and get a sense of the hurdles that she faced along the way. We track her slow decline as she struggles to keep her head above water. The film is a comment on the lives of film stars whose every move is under public scrutiny and who face judgment for every action. It also makes us acutely aware about the shrinking spaces for older female actors and the ways in which they are pigeon-holed and asked to take on light-hearted roles and not think too much, which makes us realise that sadly, in many ways, not much seems to have changed for women through the decades.

Chopra had made her foray into short films with the acclaimed Chutney (2016), which was directed by Jyoti Kapur Das. This was followed by another short, Chhuri (2017). Rubaru rests on Chopra’s performance as she brings to the fore the fears and anxieties of a film star. She conveys Radha’s inner turmoil with every action and gesture, giving an insight into her disturbed state of mind. This resonates deeply in today’s times as several actors have publicly discussed issues related to mental health. 

The film also stars Arjun Mathur and Chitrashi Rawat.

Rubaru can be viewed on Royal Stag Barrel Select Large Short Films' YouTube channel.

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