On April 4, 1949, a star named Parveen Babi was born. The talented and bold actress with sheer beauty entered the Bollywood industry in 1973 with Charitra opposite cricketer Salim Durani. Since then, there was no looking back for the gorgeous lady. Till date, Parveen Babi is remembered as Amitabh Bachchan’s leading lady and for her many glamorous avatars in 1970s and early 80s in blockbusters like Deewar, Namak Halaal, Amar Akbar Anthony and Shaan. On her 68th birth anniversary, let’s remember Bollywood’s trendsetter and an unforgettable icon with these throwback pictures.
She was the first Bollywood star to appear on the front page of Time Magazine in July 1976. She was also the first female superstar of Bollywood. In her career, she had worked with many male superstars. In fact, Amitabh and Parveen featured in eight movies. Kabir Bedi’s wife, Protima Bedi, wrote a book on her life.
The iconic beauty 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 whose image was a far cry from the saree clad heroines of that era, was indeed a trendsetter. She was the second highest paid Hindi actress along with Reena Roy from 1976 to 1980 and the third 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.
Parveen Babi's popularity was so immense, there were reports that producers would line up at her door to sign her for their new projects.
As her image symbolised western standards, she was given roles to suit her glamorous personality. She established herself as the "first female superstar of Bollywood." Her popularity among the youngsters of that time made her among the most sought-after actresses in Bollywood of that time. She was on the cover of every film magazine. However, along with her huge success, we also know that she battled mental health issues. There wasn't so much awareness about mental health and it was considered a taboo. No one talked about it unlike these times when the current ruling actress Deepika Padukone came out and revealed her fight with depression. Parveen fought a lonely battle and people termed her crazy. Once a ruling actress, it is unfortunate that she found no support and died a loner.
Parveen Babi was found dead in her Mumbai apartment on January 22, 2005 after her society members told the police that she had not collected her milk and newspapers for 3 days. The police suspected that Parveen Babi may have been dead up to 72 hours before her body was found. The police ruled out any foul play in her death and it was said that she died due to organ failure.