This girl-next-door Bollywood actress was the favourite of the filmmakers in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Hong Kong-born Neelam Kothari was not only popular among the directors and producers, but she also gained fame and garnered love from the audience as well. Neelam walked down the aisle with her long-time boyfriend, the model and actor, Samir Soni and the couple have a daughter named Ahana.
But before Samir Soni, Neelam was in a relationship with Bobby Deol for approximately 5 years. The lovebirds Neelam and Bobby were in a serious relationship and just like any other couple madly-in-love, they also wanted their relationship to last forever. But destiny had some different plans for them. Bobby and Neelam never talked about their affair in media, but the industry and their close friends knew about it.
As per the reports, Bobby Deol’s father, Dharmendra was strictly against this relationship. He didn’t want any of his sons to get hitched to any B-town actress. However, the lovebirds broke up! In a flashback interview with Stardust, Neelam opened her heart and talked about her breakup with Bobby. Neelam made it clear to everyone that their breakup was a mutual one and no third person was to be blamed for it.
While confirming the breakup, Neelam was quoted as saying:
“Yes, it’s true that Bobby and I have split. I don’t like talking about my personal life as it is, but there are a lot of misconceptions and baseless rumours floating around, which I would like to lay to rest with a clarification. I don’t want people to believe what is untrue. And one of the rumours is that Bobby and I have split because of his involvement with Pooja Bhatt. Stardust itself had mentioned this. Well, let me tell you and the world, that this is false. I didn’t break off with Bobby because of a Pooja Bhatt. Or any other girl for that matter. Our decision to part ways was mutual and amicable. Certainly not because of infidelity on anyone’s part.”
Talking more about the pain that one undergoes at the time of separation with their loved ones, Neelam quipped:
“Separation of any kind is a painful process. There’s bound to be pain if there is a parting. It’s almost like a surgery of emotions where one is removed from the other. But there is also the healing process which follows if the surgery is under healthy circumstances. And the more honest the split, the quicker you heal. Time becomes the balm which covers all the injury. And the strength has to come from within. I’m like that. I think a lot and I wait a long time before taking any major decision in my life. But once I’ve made that decision, it’s for keeps. It’s permanent. After that, there is no time or place for tears. You have to go on with life. I have so much life ahead of me. C’mon, don’t sound so dejected. I’m not. After all, I told you, the decision to part was mutual,” she paused for breath.
Neelam believes that it was the most sensible decision made by her and it also made her family happy. She confessed:
“Actually, I think it’s the most sensible decision I’ve ever made. For one, it has made my family very happy. Now I can turn my attention to the other things in my life that I’ve been neglecting. So much to catch up on. So much to do. I want to start life afresh.”
She confessed that they were in a five-year relationship, and it took her that long to realise that she could have never been happy with Bobby. Neelam Kothari expressed:
“I just realized all of a sudden that I would never be happy with him. I know that five years is a long time to reach that realization; I realized late, but at least, I did. And when it dawned on me, I acted as quickly as I could. Like I said earlier, once I’ve made up my mind, I go through with it.”
About when and where was it that the realization dawned, Neelam elaborated:
“I was in the U.S.A for 15 days from the last week of January onwards, for a charity show. But it gave me a lot of time to myself, to actually think and analyze my life. To dissect the past, and present and worry about the future. Then I came to the conclusion I have, and I decided the best thing to do would be to finish it. I didn’t consult my family at all. I just decided on my own.”
She further added, “When I returned, I spoke to Bobby as well. And we came to this mutual understanding, we both felt it would be better. It’s not just my decision, it’s his decision as well. We both felt that it wouldn’t work out. So…”
The brave decision of Neelam and Booby’s breakup was powerful enough to realign two closely-knitted lives in totally different orbits altogether. Imagining waking up one morning to find someone close to you missing, must hurt a lot. Talking about how Booby’s family felt about their breakup, Neelam revealed:
“I honestly don’t know. So I can’t say what they must be feeling. I haven’t heard anything. Sunny and I never spoke about it when I shot with him. We shared the same relationship later too, that I did with him during Paap Ki Duniya. I’m very fond of Sunny and I know for a fact that he’s fond of me too. I have nothing against Sunny.”
When asked Neelam whether Bobby Deol ever told his parents, Dharmendra and Prakash Kaur about her, Neelam instantly replied, “I don’t know if he’s told them because he’s never told me of it. And I’ve never met them.”
Adding further, Neelam shared:
“Anyway, let me make one thing clear. Believe me, this decision has got nothing to do with either family. I just kept thinking about ultimately ending up as a star-wife – and the thought nagged me so much that it began haunting me. You know the thought of getting involved with a guy who’s getting into films… he hasn’t even started… I just felt scared. Terribly scared. I can’t explain the fear, I thought, might as well finish it now. I couldn’t bear the thought of something going wrong later. It would have been too late. I see it happening all around me, to all the star-wives. Okay, so I decided late, very late, I agree. But still, not too late.”
Neelam was adamant not to reveal the real reason behind her separation with Bobby. She responded, “You mean you want to know all the gory details? Aha! I’m not going to tell. Look, it just happened. I don’t want to get into it again. Frankly, there’s not too much more to it.”
When further probed if she suspected Bobby of infidelity, Neelam defended him, “Never!”
If she ever heard of him being linked with another woman (Pooja Bhatt), Neelam refused, “Not before the break-up! Believe me, I’ve got nothing to do with that chapter of Bobby’s life. All I know is that as long as I was there, there was no other woman. I can say that with supreme confidence. And the break-up is NOT because of this girl.”
She revealed one thing that gnawed her the most, “Anyway, it’s his life, he can do what he wants. I can only speak for myself. And the thing gnawing at me most was the insecurity that comes with being a star-wife.”
When asked if the insecurity was of not being accepted by the Deol family, especially Dharmendra, Neelam quipped, “Look, let’s not get him into it. And if he’s happy, it’s the same way that my parents feel for me. Because eventually, parents are parents. They always want to see their child happy and never get hurt. I guess they probably felt I wasn’t the best bet for Bobby, and my parents felt that I could get someone better than Bobby!”
There were also rumours at that time that Neelam’s family met Bobby’s family and the wedding was supposed to be on the cards. Neelam stated:
“My parents were very insecure. They were happy as long as I was happy. But deep down inside, they were very scared for me. They were relieved when we split. And this is only about their insecurity for my future. Not to cast any aspersions on Bobby. Not about his personality as an individual. They’re very fond of him, in fact. They’ve got nothing against him. Nothing against his family. Just the core atmosphere, girls throwing themselves at a guy, things like that you know. Anyone would be concerned. And let me also clear one more rumour, about his family having met my family for talks. It’s rubbish. It never happened. My parents have never met his family, because we kept everything very quiet.”
Talking about the insecurities and jealousy between the two, Neelam laughed:
“Every man has an eye for women. But I’ve never known him to be unfaithful. If I’d heard of anything, I wouldn’t take it. And if you ask me about any jealousy or insecurity I felt, it is there in everybody, in every relationship. I wasn’t crazily insecure. Okay… a little. And him? He was possessive, like a normal man should be. He wasn’t jealous because he was sure of me. He knew I would never do anything like that.”
Neelam’s ex and actor Govinda was also madly in love with her, and he professed his love for her in media. When asked if this bothered her then-boyfriend, Bobby, Neelam retorted, “He just ignored it and didn’t bring it up at all. Not a word was uttered. I guess there are certain things we just have to put away and ignore.”
It was said that Neelam and Govinda are lucky for a film and filmmakers wanted to cast them together. Talking about the same, Neelam asserted, “Aw, crap! Lucky, huh? But seriously, everyone thought that I was refusing films with him, it wasn’t true. It’s just that later, we were only getting those dance-roles, no good offers, so I refused. Anyway, let’s not talk about Govinda. It was a very strange incident that happened with him. I don’t want to talk about it. Let him.”
When asked if her past bothers her in the present, Neelam replied:
“No! I’m the kind of person for whom once it’s over, it’s over! Finished! I don’t think about it! Why should I think about something that’s only going to kill me? What he does now is his life. Whatever he wants to, I’m totally detached from it. I cut off totally. I’m not the kind of person to sit and brood about where he goes and what he does. I’ve got my life to think of. What do you want me to do, sit and analyze his life? No! It doesn’t bother me.”
She further added, “What I feel, as someone who’s known him closely, and as a friend, is that he should be careful. He hasn’t even started his career. The last thing he needs now is controversy. He should avoid that at all costs. That’s all I’ll say to him.”
What went wrong between the lovebirds so much so that they parted their ways, is still a mystery. They have moved on in their lives. Neelam is now happily married to Samir Soni. And Boby Deol is happy in his own little world with wife, Tanya Ahuja and sons, Aryaman Deol and Dharam.
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