Remembering the enigma called Parveen Babi on her birthday

If there was one actress who could give Zeenat Aman a stiff competition in the glamour department, it was the Praveen Babi. An attractive face coupled with an elegant screen persona, she made her presence felt even as she shared screen space with the top actors of the 70s.  Today, 4 April 2016 marks her birth anniversary and here are some facts I have put together on her. The actress who re-defined glam, brought a great sense of style to her characters and was part of some blockbusters.

She completed her Masters of Arts in English Literature from St. Xavier’s College, Ahmedabad. Her non-filmy roots didn’t stop her from capturing the imagination of the audiences and journalists alike as she became of the first Indians to be featured on the cover of Time Magazine. Comparisons with Zeenat Aman notwithstanding, she took glam to another level and became the most desired sex symbol in Cinema in the 70s.  


Elegant and stylish: Praveen Babi in the 70s

She was known to be very meticulous about her career and had a very efficient management system. She lived life all on her own and was self-dependent, never interfering with anyone’s work.

Parveen Babi was the 2nd highest paid Hindi actress along with Reena Roy from 1976 to 1980 and the 3rd highest paid Hindi actress along-with Jaya Prada from 1981 to 1983. She was considered to be one of the most successful actresses of her era, along with Hema Malini, Rekha, Zeenat Aman,Jaya Bhaduri, Reena Roy and Raakhee.

Most remembered for her glamorous roles alongside in blockbusters like Amar Akbar Anthony, Deewar, Namak Halaal, Kaalia and Shaan, she stood tall with the lea actors of her time, especially Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, with whom her pairing was most successful.

The Golden Dragon Chinese restaurant at the Taj those days was quite famous for pork delicacies and every time she got a break from shooting, she would rush off to the Golden Dragon to eat pork.

She never married but had relationships with many married men and was always insecure of losing her men. Later in life she was plagued with depression which led her to fear people and not had distrust them, even her doctors. If her car started breaking down she felt that someone had deliberately tampered with it. She later even refused to allow anyone to xerox her documents fearing that they would be lost and stolen.

With passage of time her health detoriated due to her diabetic condition and was she confined to wheelchair at home as she had gangrene on her foot.

Parveen Babi was a beautiful actress who achieved fame at a very early age and was much loved and adored by her fans. Tinseltown gave her fame and fortune, but it also gave her a share of loneliness.  

Nilesh Raje is an independent writer and has contributed this piece. Nilesh is solely responsible for the information and opinion in this article.