The famous 1986 Football World Cup. The infamous ‘Hand of God’. Quarter Final between Argentina and England. Rings a bell? Where on one hand Diego Maradona scored the goal of the century, back in India, Maradona Rebello was born. Thanks to his father who kept his name Maradona after getting inspired by the Argentina – England match. Today, this young actor is making his debut opposite Bipasha Basu in the most talked about, controversial film of this year – Pankh Rebello is a rebel, when you meet him in person, you know he wants to spread his wings and fly, fly high in Bollywood. On the flip side, he too knows that before he learns to soar high in the sky, he needs to be rooted, grounded and a bit more careful in the big bad world of Bollywood. UK’s Harrow Observer columnist and Bollywood Hungama‘s London correspondent met Maradona who shared his debut, his fears, his individuality and sexuality, his embarrassment, the censor board and the diva who repeatedly lingers in his mind even after the film is over – Bipasha Basu. Maradona is ready to kick some balls, but the only question is – Will he score well at the box office?
Maradona and Bollywood
Bollywood means stars. I am not a star yet. I am taking baby steps in the industry. I’d love to be here for the longest time. I have banked a lot on Pankh. I left my college while I was in my final year of BMM. I was doing my advertising from St Xavier’s when I was offered to do this film. Miles to go before I sleep.
Initially I had a lot of fears. When I was signed on for this film, after they short listed me, took my auditions, and I was selected, I went chickened out. I was apprehensive in doing Pankh because I had a different Bollywood in mind, the cliche one with romance and drama. Pankh was way different. But when I got a script narration from my director Mr Sudipto Chatopadhyaya, I was completely bowled. I said ‘yes’.
I have to confess that Bipasha does come in my thoughts even after Pankh. That’s the magic of a diva like Bipasha Basu. She is gorgeous. When she walks on the sets, you melt. But yet when I met her at her place, she was so simple and basic that the Bipasha on sets wasn’t real. Before we started shooting, my director took me to a place where he assured me that I did not have to be scared and I did not have to be intimidated by Bipasha Basu. She was very sweet and helpful and took care of me. I couldn’t have asked for a better co-star.
Individuality & Sexuality
In my personal life, I am a heterosexual. In the film too I play a heterosexual. The character I play in Pankh is of my past that is nagging me. It’s not keeping me happy because my mother in the film played by Lilette Dubey cross dressed me when I was young. As a kid, your mind is so impressionable. Pankh is a one day story of this guy who is confused about his sexuality. I did have to push myself in wearing a girl’s wig, putting on lipstick, etc. It was definitely odd.
Yes, it was embarrassing shooting for Pankh, whether it was my nude scene in front of Lilette Dubey or my kissing scene with a man. My director also knew that I was a bit uncomfortable. When we shot the nude scene, the crew was kept to a minimum. But I was in safe hands at the end of the day. I never imagined that my debut would be in the form of Pankh. I am blessed. I also feel that if Pankh would’ve come immediately after Dev D, it could’ve worked better. But this is the right time for it to make it to the cinemas.
Even if the censors give an ‘A’ certificate to any film, they’ll still come up with things like – ‘This isn’t good for the society.’ So what are we to do? Directors are pushing the envelope and are coming out in the open and opposing the censor board. There should definitely be a better rating system. It’s time that the directors don’t want to compromise on their making.