Once Upon A Time: Parveen Babi7:00 PM
We missed Jenny (via I know, right?) on the
blockblog, last month. Didn't we? Well, thankfully she is back with the next in OUAT Series. This time its - Parveen Babi. For the longest time that I can remember there have always been controversies related to her. No one would ever know how much of it, or what was true, except her closed ones but she remains one of Indian Cinema's immortal beauties. No one was quite as sultry and innocent, at the same time, like her. Here's more, in Jenny's words ...
Youth. Glamour. Beauty. Glitter.
With her pouty lips, flowing raven locks, and come-hither gaze, Parveen Babi became a sexualized modern fantasy for a conservative nation warily eyeing the decline of world-wide morality in the 1970s.
In her films, she portrayed sultry characters who brazenly lived in sin, tossed aside saris in favor of pants, and innocently sipped exotic cocktails with a heavenly smile.
But behind India's very first sex symbol was a chaotic nightmare that still has conspiracy theorists reeling today.
Parveen was very much a girl, interrupted.
Parveen began her career as a model during the early 1970s. In 1973, she made her acting debut in Charitra, a film that barely made waves. But the stunning 24-year-old was immediately noticed and started receiving more lucrative film offers.
In 1976, she became the first Bollywood star to appear on the cover of Time Magazine. She was so popular, every movie producer in India was desperate to work with her, and she often had to sift through endless amounts of scripts in order to find her next project.
Some of her most popular films include Deewar, Namak Halal, and Amar Akbar Anthony.
Noted as a fashion icon and already established as the highest paid Bollywood actress, Parveen seemed to be living a dream come true.
But the public didn't know that behind closed doors, Parveen cried herself to sleep at night.
She was lonely and incredibly depressed. Her love life was in shambles because she kept falling in love with the wrong man. She also felt weird things she didn't know how to describe to people. She knew something was wrong and she wanted to get help. But every time she tried to quit the film industry for good, she was road-blocked. Parveen was surrounded by agents, lawyers, and film producers who earned millions with her beautiful face. She wasn't going anywhere.
In 1983, Parveen was finally able to leave her career to travel around the world with her new guru, U. G. Krishnamurti. Many people in her life accused the new religious leader of brainwashing and manipulating Parveen, but the actress insisted that when she was with him, she felt safe and clear-headed.
That feeling didn't last, however. Parveen started to become suspicious of everyone and everything. She genuinely believed everyone was out to get her. She cut off all contact with friends and family. She filed police complaints against more than 30 parties, including former U.S. President Bill Clinton, stating they were conspiring to kill her. The allegations were dismissed due to lack of evidence.
In 1989, she accused her former co-star Amitabh Bachchan of being an international gangster, and pubicly insisted his goons were trying to kill her. She wouldn't even eat or drink anything unless someone tasted it first, to make sure it wasn't poisoned. She recorded every phone call made to her.
For every accusation against him, Parveen offered circumstantial evidence, but never any hardcore proof. Her case against him never went to court.
Although by the 1990s, she was officially retired from the film industr, she was able to live comfortably, thanks to sound financial investments.
In 2002, she made headlines again when she filed an affidavit in the special court hearing for the 1993 serial bomb blasts case, insisting she had evidence that actor Sanjay Dutt was involved, but then didn't pursue the matter any further, claiming she was worried about her safety.
Three years later, when Parveen failed to collect her mail and milk, her neighbors called the police. When officers arrived, they found the actress dead. They surmised the 55-year-old had been dead for a few days. Upon investigation, the police ruled out foul play, believing she may have died from complication due to diabetes, or starvation.
And after her death in 2005, it was revealed the actress had suffered from Schizophrenia.
But, of course, there are still many people who firmly believe her death was a murder. There are websites and articles floating around that insist the movie star had indeed been telling the truth all these years and the mental illness conclusion was merely a cover-up by the government and media.
So, even in death, Parveen remains an enigma.
The greatest legends always are.