There was a time in the 90s when Bobby Doel was a style icon, a blockbuster actor and one of the most desirable men in the film industry. And as they say, all good things come to an end. But for Bobby, his good run at the box-office ended way too soon. When the language of cinema changed with the dawn of the movies like ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ and ‘Jab We Met’, he couldn’t adapt to this sudden turnaround and the roles slipped off from his fingers.
Stardom is like making love in a hammock – a happy experience but one of uncertain duration.
So, what really Bobby went through when stardom faded? Moreover, how did he unintentionally became a DJ? He talks all about this with ‘The Huffington Post’ as he unleashes an unseen side of him like never before.
The starting point of his downfall was the choices of his films:
“I think I made some wrong decisions in the mid-2000s (Kismat, Bardaasht, Tango Charlie were the films he appeared in back then). I ended up doing films which I didn’t want to but I had to. It backfired and work started slowing down.
Akshay used to do about 4 shifts in a day at that time. Even now, he does about 4 films a year. I don’t know what went wrong with my career trajectory. Simply put, I couldn’t move up with the times. But I don’t want to make that an excuse anymore. I don’t want to pity myself. That’d suck.”
This is not it. He became a self-destructive man when roles stopped coming.
“There was a particular phase where I turned to the bottle and was on the verge of becoming a total alcoholic. My wife, Tanya, who is the most beautiful person in the whole world, a source of constant support, told me, “What’re you doing? This isn’t going to help. Why are you being so self-destructive?” And I am like, I was looking after myself for so long, kya hua? Did the producers and directors chase me? No. And then there was an awakening. I was like, Fuck this shit. I am not going to sulk in self-pity. Not working makes you ill, sad, depressed. It ages you. I am going to bounce back no matter what.”
He even asked for work from his fellow producers like Karan Johar but sadly, nobody gave him work:
“I did that. It didn’t help. I spoke to all my director-producer friends. I told them: give me a good role, it doesn’t have to be the lead. And they’re like, “Haan, pukka, pukka” and “Arrey, sure. Let’s do something.” But it was all lip-service and I don’t even blame them. I can’t push them to cast me. I’ve met them and I’ll meet them again and ask them again for work. I cannot sit at home. All these years I have just sat at home. What’ll keep me busy? There’s no work.”
Recently, it was believed that he is aspiring to be a DJ but this is untrue and the real story is completely different:
I practically got conned. Some dude approached me to show up at a club and advertised it as if I was going to be the DJ for the night. He told me about this but assured me that I don’t really have to play. Now, I don’t know jack shit about DJing. It’s an intricate job, not everyone can just get behind a console and get on it. So I showed up thinking I’ll hang around and leave but I know it backfired. People made a lot of fun. Now, a friend of mine sings, ‘DJ wale Bobby mera gaana baja do,’ to me all the time.
To add to your surprises, he was about to do ‘Jab We Met’ and ‘Highway’ but these films eventually didn’t fall in his lap.
“I was to do ‘Highway’. I was also to do Jab We Met. Back then, it was titled Geet. I had seen Socha Na Tha and instantly reached out to Imtiaz saying that he’s an incredible storyteller with a terrific future. I told him that I wanted to work with him.
There was a studio called Shri Ashtavinayak who wanted to sign me. I told them that let’s sign Imtiaz. He has a script ready. And let’s talk to Kareena Kapoor. The producers were like, oh no, that guy will make an expensive film. Kareena, on the other hand, didn’t even want to meet Imtiaz. I took them to Preity Zinta. She agreed but said she can do it only after 6 months. So we were stuck.
Days passed. And suddenly I read that Ashtavinayak has signed Imtiaz for Jab We Met and Kareena is doing the film! And she had gotten her then boyfriend, Shahid Kapoor to act opposite her. I was like, wow. Quite an industry.”
After all this, his friendship with Imtiaz Ali is still intact:
“He is a great director and doing so well. We’re still friends. But I always tell him: ‘Imtiaz, I won’t watch any of your films until you make one with me. That’ll be your best film.”
Well, such is our Bollywood industry. People change. Time change. And stardom dies off.