I thought I’d do mini bios of celebrities of the movie and music world that I like….. Who better to start with than my namesake!
Born Parveen Wali Mohammad Khan Babi on 4 April 1949 (ironically, we share the same zodiac star and month too, but not year!) in Gujarat India, Ms Babi was the only child of Wali Mohammad Babi Babi and was born fourteen years after her parents’ marriage.
She was spotted by Hindi director/writer B.R. Ishara at Ahmedabad University where she was studying and he offered her a role his forthcoming movie, Charitraheen. And the rest is history. Parveen Babi went on to act in over 50 movies, with her last starring role in 1988 (Aakarshan). Movies in which she made famous and was fondly remembered for include Deewar, Namak Halaal, Amar Akbar Anthony, Shaan, Kaalia, Khud-daar and Kranti.
Parveen Babi did not marry but shared intimate relationships with married men such as director Mahesh Bhatt, actors Kabir Bedi and Danny Denzongpa (Amitabh Bachchan is also rumoured but the claim has not been substantiated). Mahesh Bhatt later wrote and directed Arth (1982), a semi-autobiographical film about his extra-marital relationship with Babi, and wrote and produced Woh Lamhe (2006) based on actual facts about his relationship with her.
His film Arth is said to have tipped her already fragile mental health (it was speculated that she was suffering from schizophrenia) and made her a recluse. She moved to the US in 1983, to seek treatment for her mental disorder (she did not trust Indian doctors) and also for substance abuse (she was known to be taking LSD, marijuana and also drinking excessively).
She returned to Mumbai in 2002 where she was unrecognizable as her former self after having put on a considerable amount of weight. She accused many foreign dignitaries and former co-star Amitabh Bachchan of conspiracy to kill her but her court petition was dismissed for lack of evidence.
Parveen Babi was found dead, alone in her Juhu residence on Sunday 22 January, 2005. The police was alerted when neighbours noticed that she had not collected her milk or her newspapers for three days.
She was found to have gangrene of the foot as a complication of her diabetic condition. It was later confirmed that her cause of death was due to complications from diabetes. Filmmakers Mahesh Bhatt and Ashok Pandit performed her last rites as she had no claimants to her body (her father died when she was young and her mother a few years previously). She was buried according to Muslim rites, next to her mother in Santa Cruz, Mumbai, on 23 January 2005.
From a revered and idolized movie star and the first Indian actress to have been featured on TIME magazine's cover (in March 1977), she was alone – in life and in death.