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From the Edge of The Abyss-Ronit Roy

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Joined: 26 November 2004
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Posted: 28 February 2005 at 7:03am | IP Logged
From The Edge Of The Abyss Photographs by Akash Mehta
Published: Volume 13, Issue 1, January - February, 2005
I partied hard, drank like crazy…I would report for work with bags under my eyes and a massive hangover. I was on extreme overdrive. I wanted to drink it all up in a single gulp.

Like the legion of adventurers before him, he too came to Mumbai in search of the moon. For a brief moment, he got both his hands on it…then it slipped away. Today, Ronit Roy has finally found his slice of sky on television, playing the much-talked about Rishabh Bajaj and Mihir Virani in two popular soaps. Madhulika Varma meets the actor who both lost and found himself, on the spiralled road to success.

Even today, his direct gaze falters, as Ronit Roy recalls his slow descent into the abyss. He could easily dismiss the past because, today, Rishabh Bajaj is one of television's most talked-about characters... and Ronit Roy is a star.

 

As a darned good-looking little boy in Ahmedabad, he wanted to be a film hero like Bruce Lee and Amitabh Bachchan. When he was 19, his dad bought him a ticket to the town he'd dreamed about all his life. Mumbai. The address he gave him, belonged to an old friend, a man called Subhash Ghai.

"Ghaisaab is like my father," Roy explains. "I couldn't question his authority, so I put my dream on hold and worked my knuckles down, cooking, bartending, cleaning, waiting tables… sometimes, when the heart sank in despair, I'd throw a mild tantrum....Then Dad died." It was as if he'd stepped on a high-tension wire.

Ronit Roy with wife, Neelam
He recalls, "I returned home and told Mr Ghai I wasn't going back to Sea Rock. The next day, I joined Mukta Arts (Ghai's production house) as the 11th assistant director on films like Hero and Karma. For the next few years I fetched the paan and the props."

And then that call came. The one he had been waiting for virtually all his life. Director, Deepak Balraj, had seen him in a shampoo ad and wanted to cast him in a romantic musical, Jaan Tere Naam.

Jaan Tere Naam was a success. From the perennially short-of-funds assistant director in scruffy shoes, he was 'Ronit Roy', the rising new star. "Girls recognised me on the streets, women left lipstick markson the bonnet of my car and the glossies called to line up interviews. This was my dream. I wanted to be a star. For the fame, the big bungalows, the adulation…I wasn't one of those guys pursuing a consuming passion for acting," he says candidly And, now, he'd tasted blood.

He bought his first pair of shades and a Mercedes Benz and dived into the wicked world of the rich and famous. "I partied hard, drank like crazy…I would report for work with bags under my eyes and a massive hangover. I was on extreme overdrive. I wanted to drink it all up in a single gulp." he cringes. And, so began the slow drift into darkness. His wife was flung into the vortex with him. He remembers that night, "I packed up all my fancy gear into my Mercedes and left." Some nights he would sleep in his car. Or find a hotel and drink himself to sleep, and go shoot in the morning. Or party with friends till the early hours of the morning. "Anything to escape myself. There was no sense of self, no introspection, all the lights were out. It was as if I had taken an eraser and I was rubbing out my own existence."

For the rest of the article, pick up VERVE's January-February, 2005 issue


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