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PARVEEN BABI (1949-2005)

Parveen Babi was an actor. She was born in Junagadh which had been a princely state; her father Vali Mohammed Babi had been an official in the Nawab’s government. She went to school in Aurangabad and to college at St Xavier’s, Ahmedabad. Her stunning good looks quickly got her noticed, and her first film was Charitra in 1973. A number of unremarkable films followed until the success of Deewar (1975), the film that made Amitabh Bachchan’s reputation. She went on to make a long list of films, many co-starring Amitabh, including the hugely successful Amar Akbar Antony (1977). She also made Pati, Patni Aur Woh (1978), Kaala Patthar, Suhaag (1979) Shaan (1980), Meri Awaaz Suno (1981), Kranti 1981) and Namak Halal (1982).

She was cast alongside Zeenat Aman in Mahaan (1983) and again in Ashanti (1981) a rather odd remake of Charlie’s Angels with Shabana Azmi taking the role of the third angel. Babi also acted in non-mainstream films like Vinod Pandey’s Yeh Nazdeekiyan (1982). She featured on the cover of Time magazine in 1977, and her name soon came to be linked with a number of men, including Kabir Bedi, Danny Denzongpa and Mahesh Bhatt, and, some say, Amitabh Bachchan.

She retired from films in 1983, moved to New York that year, and became a recluse. She returned to India in 2002, much changed and very overweight. It soon became apparent that she was ill both physically and mentally. She may have been a victim of paranoid schizophrenia. She never married. The film Woh Lamhe (2006) is based on the story of her life.
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