Monday, Feb 26, 2024 | Last Update : 01:06 PM IST
Bollywood's hottest actress of her time, Parveen Babi, died in Mumbai on January 20, 2005 at the age of 55. Let us have a look at the life of one of the most famous Bollywood actresses.
Parveen Babi was born to a Pathan Muslim family on April 4, 1949 in the small town of Junagadh in Gujarat, India. She completed her studies in the city of Ahmedabad where she earned a Master of Arts in English Literature. Parveen Babi was born fourteen years after the marriage of her parents and was their only child. She lost her father at the age of 10.
Parveen completed her studies and later started modelling in the year 1972. Her stunning looks were instantly noticed by Bollywood makers and she started receiving Bollywood film offers. She made her Bollywood debut in 1973 with the film Charitra (1973) opposite cricketer Salim Durani. The film bombed at the box-office but Parveen Babi was noticed and picked up for several other films. She shot to fame with the movie 'Majboor' (1974) opposite Amitabh Bachchan. She even became the 1st Bollywood actress to appear on the front page of the Time Magazine in 1976. She quickly became the sex-symbol of Bollywood and is most remembered for her glamorous roles alongside top heroes of the 1970s and early 1980s in blockbusters like Deewar, Namak Halaal, Amar Akbar Anthony and Shaan.
On 30 July 1983, Parveen Babi left India and the film industry at the height of her career and travelled to various countries for a spiritual journey with U.G. Krishnamurti and her friend Valentine and spent most of the time in California, United States. On 7 April 1984, She was suspected at John F. Kennedy International Airport after she failed to submit her identification papers and as she behaved to be difficult, the authorities handcuffed her and kept her in a general ward with thirty other mentally disturbed patients. She returned to Mumbai in November 1989 and was totally unrecognizable as she had gained a lot of weight.
She was rumoured to have been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, a mental illness although she regularly denied this, stating that her being labelled as such was a conspiracy by the film industry and the media to malign her image and make her appear as insane, so that they can cover up their crimes
Failed Relationships, Loneliness & Depression:
Parveen remained unmarried for her entire life and was romantically linked to many Bollywood men. Her love affair with actors Danny Denzongpa and Kabir Bedi were much-hyped. Her relationship with Mahesh Bhatt was much talked about as Mahesh was married at that time and was a struggling filmmaker while Parveen Babi was one of top actresses of Bollywood at that time. Mahesh and Parveen started dating in 1977 but later when she was diagnosed by paranoid schizophrenia, their relationship came to an end. In one of his interviews, he has said that there was a time when a stalk naked Parveen ran after him. Parveen's mental illness made her end her relationship with most of her dear ones, including her own blood relations, having few contacts with known people and had become reclusive as she distrusted everyone.
Accusations Against Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Many More:
Parveen Babi accused many foreign dignitaries as well as Indian film personalities including Amitabh Bachchan, Bill Clinton, Robert Redford, Prince Charles, Al Gore, US government, British government, French government, BJP government, Roman Catholic Church, CIA, CBI, KGB, Mossad of conspiring to kill her but her petition in court was dismissed for lack of evidence and when she was asked to show her evidences by the press, it was some sort of scribblings on notepad. In an Interview to a film magazine dated 1989, she said "Amitabh Bachchan is a super international gangster. He is after my life. His goons kidnapped me and I was kept on an Island where they performed a surgery on me and planted one transmitter/chip/electronic bug right under my ear." There was a photograph of Babi showing a scar below her ears.
During the early 1990s, whenever journalists or members of the press would come to her then Kalumal estate apartment in Juhu for an interview, she would often ask them to eat her food and drink her water, so that she might be assured her food is not poisoned and assume her makeup was contaminated, so that her skin should peel off and according to her, the International Mafia had cut off her electricity to harass her. Even before starting an interview, she would keep her dictaphone on, announcing the day, date, time and the name of journalists and publication into the microphone and would record before the conversation began.
Conversion from Islam to Christianity:
She was said to have lived lonely and converted to Christianity during the late 1990s and also ate pork because she found not eating pork as racist.
Though she was suffering from illness, she kept her finances in place though sound investments and managed to maintain her post penhouse apartment in Mumbai. She lived an affluent life till her death.
Parveen Babi was found dead on January 22, 2005 after the neighbours alerted the police that she had not collected milk and newspapers from her doorstep for three days. Police Suspected that she may have been dead for 3 days before her body was found. Parveen Babi was a diabetic and she was found to have gangrene of the left foot as a complication of her diabetic condition. A post mortem was conducted at Cooper Hospital and reports showed that there were no traces of food in her stomach but some alcohol (possibly from her medication) was found and it is possible that she had not consumed anything for more than three days and as a consequence starved to death. Though she had become a Christian, her body was claimed by her relatives who were Muslims and buried as per Islamic rules next to her mother at Santacruz, Mumbai on 23 January 2005