When I was introduced to Bob in 1979 en route to a shooting location for Abdullah, it never passed my thoughts that he would become a dear friend. Bob, a fabulous singer, guitarist, had a great sense of humour. He started off as a helping hand on my sets because he came through a friend George, who I couldn’t say no to. Eventually, I realised he had an astounding screen presence. I penned a character for him in Abdullah where he was villain Danny Denzongpa’s helping hand.
Initially, Bob learnt and recited lines in Hindi and Urdu. In a career spanning over 30 years and 300 films, he learnt many Indian languages, including South Indian languages. He even worked with NT Rama Rao. On the sets of Abdullah, I realised that Raj Kapoor had grown fond of him too. Bob would play his guitar and sing to him till the wee hours. It didn’t go down well with me because I always wanted Rajji to go to bed early. Nevertheless, I didn’t stop them from having fun. Occasionally, Bob and I would hang around together. The press mistook him as my bodyguard, thanks to his bald look and well-toned body. I had to clarify that he was a friend.