Born On: April 4, 1949
Born In: Junagadh, Gujarat
Died On: January 20, 2005
Career: Model, Actress
She was the shining star of Bollywood. She was known for seducing people with her screen presence. Her glamorous image and long silky hair made her one of the most eminent veteran actresses of Indian cinema. Parveen Babi, as she is known as, was one of the first actresses who depicted the changing face of Bollywood and Bollywood actresses. Known to be a screen rival of another renowned Bollywood actress, Zeenat Aman, Parveen Babi lit up the silver screen with her charming looks and personality during the 1970s. This gorgeous, tall, and long-legged heroine is an unforgettable icon in Bollywood’s history, all thanks to indelible personality, sheer excellence, sultry image, and iconoclastic attitude. With some great blockbusters delivered to the silver screen, Parveen Babi lies embodied in our hearts, even now.
Parveen Babi was born as Parveen Wali Mohammad Khan Babi to Gujarati Muslim family on April 4, 1949 in the Junagadh district. She was born fourteen years after her parents’ marriage and was their only child. Her father, Wali Mohammad Babi worked as an administrator with the Nawab of Junagadh. To her dismay, her father died when she was just 7. She received her school education in Aurangabad and went to St. Xavier’s College in Ahmedabad to attain her graduation.
Parveen Babi began her film career with “Charitra” in 1973 while she was still in college. She was launched by one of the most controversial directors of those times, R.B. Ishara opposite another debutant, cricketer Salim Durrani. Though the film was a flop on the box-office, Parveen Babi, by displaying her assets, landed up with several more projects despite being a mediocre actress. However, Salim Durrani was unsuccessful in finding any other takes. With this, began her 13 years of filmy career that gained her name, fame, and lots of gossip. She worked with most of the popular actors and directors of that era. By sharing a good on-screen chemistry with Amitabh Bachchan, she delivered some great smash hits of all times.
Some of her blockbusters with Amitabh Bachchan included “Majboor”, “Amar Akbar Anthony”, “Deewar”, “Kala Patthar”, and “Kalia”. Though all these projects were male-oriented, Parveen Babi managed to make her presence felt and earn appreciation for her roles. She worked with Zeenat Aman, another famous icon of that epoch, and changed the image and personality of Bollywood heroines. She acted with the latter in “Mahaan” and “Ashanti” (inspired by the American television show “Charlie’s Angels, with Shabana Azmi playing the third role). Parveen Babi was the first Indian actor to feature on the cover page of TIME magazine in July 1976, presenting the changing face of Indian cinema. Her other hit movies included “Kranti”, “Suhaag”, “Namak Halaal”, “Meri Aawaaz Suno”, “The Burning Train”, and “Yeh Nazdeekiyan”.
Despite ruling the Bollywood world for about 13 years, Parveen Babi was always encircled with numerous controversies. After bidding goodbye to the film industry, she went to New York as she was known to have been suffering from schizophrenia, a kind of delusional disorder. In order to seek solace, she sought for alternative contemporary spirituality and followed Osho for a few years after which she got influenced by the teachings of U.G. Krishnamurti. After her return to Mumbai in 1992, she was simply unrecognizable due to the considerable amount of weight that she had put on. Parveen accused numerous renowned dignitaries, like Bill Clinton and Amitabh Bachchan, of conspiring to kill her. As such, she filled a written petition in the Bombay High Court against them for attempting to kill her, which was later rejected, due to lack of evidence.
Further, in 1993, she raised eyebrows in the industry and hit headlines when she filled an affidavit against actor Sanjay Dutt for his involvement in the 1993 serial bomb blasts case indicating that she has gathered evidence. But she did not turn up for the court hearing stating that she was scared of making appearance in the public; lest she would be killed. She stopped making public appearances with her mental illness getting worse. She was the first heroine to speak about drugs openly though she never smoke or drank in public. She openly discussed about her romantic associations with married men in interviews and public appearances.
Parveen Babi stayed unmarried throughout her life, though she was involved in close relationships with married men. Her relationships with director Mahesh Bhatt and actors Kabir Bedi and Danny Denzongpa were highly publicized. Her affair with Mahesh Bhatt was a tumultuous one. Such was the closeness and intimacy of the relationship that Mahesh Bhatt wrote and directed a semi-autobiographical film “Arth” in 1982 about his extra-marital affair with her. He later produced “Who Lamhe” in 2006 revealing the actual facts about his relationship with her.
Parveen Babi died a lonely and isolated death. Upon not collecting milk and newspapers for three days, the residential society secretary complained to the police who opened the door only to find her dead body in her Juhu, Mumbai penthouse on January 22, 2005. Though the cause of her death was not immediately known, she was found to have gangrene of the foot due to complications from diabetes. The police suspected that she would have been dead about 72 hours before. Parveen Babi was buried on January 23, 2005 in Santa Cruz, next to her mother’s tomb. She was 55.
Amar Akbar Anthony, 1977
Kaala Patthar, 1979
Meri Awaaz Suno, 1981
Namak Halal, 1982
Rang Birangi, 1983
Other Film Projects
Dhuen Ki Lakeer, 1974
36 Ghante, 1974
Kala Sona, 1975
Chandi Sona, 1977
Chor Sipahee, 1977
Pati Patni Aur Who, 1978
The Burning Train, 1979
Do Aur Do Paanch, 1980
Yeh Nazdeekiyan, 1982
1949: Born on April 4 in Junagadh, Gujarat
1973: Debut movie “Charitra” released
1974: Gave her first hit movie “Majboor”
1976: Appeared on TIME magazine’s cover page
1983: Left India and went to New York
1992: Returned to India and accused Bill Clinton and Amitabh Bachchan of attempting to kill her
1993: Filled a case against Sanjay Dutt on account of his involvement in Bombay serial blasts
2005: Found dead in Juhu penthouse on January 22