Parveen Babi, a glamorous actress of the 70s & 80s, who starred opposite all Major “top heroes”, was a former Model. She was a part of the Major blockbusters [Amar Akbar Anthony, Deewar, Namak Halaal, Shaan etc] and did 13 movies with Amitabh Bachchan. She laid her feet in the industry , breaking the stereotype “Virtuous or Vamp” image of a leading heroine in Hindi Cinema. She came across as a Charming, Peppy, Sensual & Vivacious Personality with a Chiselled body on Screen. She was a “Fashion Icon” as well, who appeared as a Westernized, Bohemian- Sexy Indian woman, striking a chord with cinema lovers & drawing their attention. Her Anglicised accent & Westernized looks replaced those of a typical Saree clad Conventional Heroine. Her screen presence was over-powering and complemented the “Angry Young Man” image of the Lead Actors in that period. She would appear in the most popular film songs [the item songs were not yet discovered] which were poles apart from the usual “running around the trees” treatment given to them.
Parveen Babi is the first Indian film star to be featured on the “Time” magazine cover in 1976; representing the Modern Face of an Indian Woman. It was titled “Asia’s frenetic film scene”. She gave the word “Glamour” an identity in Hindi films. She was so popular and in demand that producers would line up outside her house to sign her. She was also the highest paid actress, owing to her Stature & Stardom.
She had alleged affairs with Danny Denzongpa, Mahesh Bhatt & Kabir Bedi. Mahesh Bhatt made a semi-autobiographical film about their relationship [Arth]. In an Interview with the Outlook magazine, he said “I owe everything that I am today to my brief association with this magnificent woman.” Kabir Bedi was set to leave the industry for Italy to participate in the famous TV show “Sandokan” and it is rumoured that he forced Parveen to accompany him. She disappeared from the industry in 1983 leaving behind a flourishing career for a spiritual journey and returned to India in 1989– almost unrecognisable. She started to work as an interior designer and became highly schizophrenic towards the end. Her outburst against the big names of the industry [Indian & foreign] and her allegations of conspiracies to kill her were frequent in the 1990s.
She was found dead on 22 Jan 2005. A tragic/lonely death after Diabetes, Gangrene & Starvation. A horrifying “coup de grace” delivered by Time to a Majestic journey.