By Oindrila Muhuri Last Updated:
Bollywood actresses are not only loved for their sartorial fashion choices but also for their life decisions. They set the trend with their rise and fall in the industry. Some are hailed for their decision to work even a day before embracing motherhood. Some also take sabbaticals and again make a comeback to the on-screen and many such instances. However, there were also some actresses for whom destiny had made different plans. One such legendary actress was late Parveen Babi.
Parveen Babi was one such lady whose enigmatic performances had etched a special place in everyone's hearts but was also one of the glamorous faces in the 70s. So-much-so that Parveen had then became the first Indian woman to get featured on the Times magazine cover. However, she was also in the news for quite some time for her alleged relationships with her co-stars like Mahesh Bhatt, Amitabh Bachchan, Kabir Bedi and Danny Denzongpa. Though Amitabh never acknowledged such relations, the other three men had always accepted their relationship with her.
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It was in the year 1974, when Parveen Babi and Danny Denzongpa had entered into a relationship and were often spotted together at various public events. The duo also used to party with other friends from the B-town, including Kabir Bedi, his wife, Protima Bedi, and Jalal Agha. Parveen and Danny were in a romantic relationship for four years and used to share a good bond. In an old interview with the Filmfare, Danny had once spoken about the beautiful time he had spent with Parveen and had said:
"We were two young kids and we lived together for four years. That was big news those days. We had a wonderful time, but later we grew apart and parted on a good note. We remained friends."
Later the actress was attracted to the married man of their common group, Kabir Bedi. Karishma Upadhyay, a journalist-turned-author, had written in Parveen's memoir, Parveen Babi: A Life, mentioning Parveen's breakup with Danny. She had written:
"Danny couldn't believe his ears not because Parveen and he were technically in a relationship but also because Protima and Kabir were friends of theirs… The end of the relationship with Parveen was free of drama… there were no fireworks or sob fests… and just like that an important chapter in both their lives ended."
However, even after their breakup, Parveen and Danny were still in touch and were good friends. The former lovers even stayed in the same colony in Juhu. After they had parted ways, Parveen had gone on to date actor Kabir Bedi, and on the other hand, Danny had started a relationship with actress Kim Yashpal. But talking about Parveen's behaviour after he started dating Kim, in an interview with the Filmfare magazine. Danny had said:
"Parveen would keep inviting me for dinner. I had a new girlfriend (actor Kim) those days who was wary of Parveen. Also, if your ex-keeps walking into the house any time, it would be difficult for any girl to accept. I would pick up Kim from the sets after pack-up and reach home only to find Parveen in my bedroom watching a movie on the VCR. I asked Parveen not to do it. But she'd say, 'we don't have anything between us, we are friends."
In the same interview with the Filmfare, Danny Denzongpa had also spoken about how he had discovered she was developing Schizophrenia. He had concluded the interview by mentioning the incident, which had eventually cut off all his ties with his ex-girlfriend. Talking about the same, Danny had said:
"One day she happened to read an interview where Amitji (Bachchan) had mentioned that I was a good friend of his. That was it. When I went to meet her the next time, she saw me through the keyhole and refused to let me in, calling me 'his agent'. She was frightened of me too."
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During the lockdown, the actor, Kabir Bedi, had penned a memoir titled, Stories I Must Tell. In his memoir, Kabi Bedi had opened up about two remarkable and unconventional women he had fallen in love with. In addition, he had mentioned how his open marriage with his first wife, Protima Bedi, had developed a void in his life, and Parveen Babi had filled that. An excerpt from the memoir could be read as:
"Our open marriage (Kabir and Protima's) may have seemed like a good idea at first. In the end, it only caused me greater anxiety. It had led to a lack of intimacy between us. I didn't feel the love that I wanted, the caring and sharing I needed. Nor was I able to give it. The old magic had gone. I was feeling alone, empty and dejected. Parveen Babi filled that void. She was a ravishingly beautiful actress with fair skin, long black hair and dark, mesmerising eyes. Until then, I'd always thought of her as "the girlfriend of Danny Denzongpa. Her living openly with Danny, wearing jeans and smoking in public, had given her a bohemian image in India. But, morally, she was a conservative Gujarati girl."
Initially, Protima and Parveen were good friends, and the former had unintentionally pushed the latter to get into a fling with her husband, Kabir Bedi. However, Protima had never thought that Parveen and Kabir would become so attracted to each other, and the duo's moving in together had also devasted Protima.
Soon, Parveen had become super possessive and obsessive in love with Kabir, and she had also accompanied him to Italy, where he was shooting for the film, Sandokan, in 1976. Kabir had also arranged for the lead role for Parveen in the sequel, Sandokan Rises Again. However, she had discarded the project and had abandoned him mid-way. In an old interview with the Filmfare, Kabir had mentioned:
"At the personal level, I felt rejected. At the professional level, Parveen abandoned the film at the last moment… So yes, Parveen dumped me and that's the truth of the matter."
Eventually, Kabir had got divorced from his first wife, Protima in 1977, and at this time, he had also ended his relationship with Parveen. Kabir had also revealed in his memoir how his failed relationship with Parveen had made him emotionally and mentally exhausted.
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After Parveen Babi's breakup with Kabir Bedi, she had returned from Italy, and that was when she had met Mahesh Bhatt. He was then already married to his first wife, Lorraine Bright and had a child, but that did not stop him from living with Parveen. However, Parveen and Mahesh's live-in relationship had only revealed the actress' different side when she was having a series of nervous breakdowns. Soon Mahesh had moved to Bangalore with her to help her heal. The relationship lasted for two and a half years before Mahesh realised that he could not save Parveen.
During an interview with the Filmfare magazine, Mahesh Bhatt had revealed everything about his relationship with Parveen Babi and the darkest days he had seen her struggling with her disease. Elaborating one incident on the condition of Parveen Babi, the veteran producer had retorted:
"There were fears which hounded her. She was like a storm in a room. Sometimes she'd say the air conditioner had a bug. We had to dismantle it and show it to her. At other times there was 'a bug' in the fan or in the perfume. Once we were driving back after meeting my friend, philosopher and guide UG Krishnamurthy, when she said, "There's a bomb in the car. I can hear it tick!" She threw open the door of the moving car, saying the bomb would burst and ran out on the road with me trying to hold her. People thought 'Parveen Babi' was having a fight with her boyfriend. Somehow, I huddled her into a taxi and brought her home. She also feared that Mr Amitabh Bachchan was out to kill her. Once she accompanied me to Mehboob Studio, saying she wanted to apologise to him."
Further in the interview, Mahesh had added that his friend and mentor, UG Krishnamurthy had helped him to take control of the situation. He had suggested an alternative life, free from the pressures of stardom for Parveen. Thus, in October 1979, Mahesh had left Bangalore and Parveen in charge of UG because he had believed he was part of the problem and that he'd have to move away. But later, explaining his last close meet up with Parveen, he had mentioned:
"And I went back to her even though I had returned to my wife. Parveen knew I was in touch with UG, who was against her returning to films. He was the voice of sanity, which she didn't want to hear. So she played the last card. I remember it was the same bedroom. We were about to retire. You may call me an exhibitionist but yes, she wanted to make love. We were close to each other when she said, 'Mahesh it's either me or UG.' I froze and stared at her. She stared back. I didn't answer."
Finally, Mahesh and Parveen broke up in 1980. Reportedly, Mahesh had even made two movies based on his relationship with Parveen. The movies were Arth, which had starred Shabana Azmi, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Smita Patil, and Woh Lamhe, starring Shiney Ahuja and Kangana Ranaut. Reportedly these movies had also caused more pain to Parveen's mental condition as this had revealed disturbing episodes of her life.
Parveen stayed alone in her Juhu flat in her last days, much away from the media glares. Only when her neighbours noticed that she hadn't collected the newspapers and milk did everyone come to know that the world had lost not just a beautiful actress, but a pure soul. On January 23, 2005, Parveen had left for the heavenly abode. However, her funeral was attended by all the men she had loved, Danny Denzongpa, Mahesh Bhatt, and Kabir Bedi. Time and again, they had also credited her for their immense success and had also talked about her beautiful soul in many of their interviews.
Well, we can't deny the fact that Parveen had fought a tough fight with what destiny had planned for her. What do you think?
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