Parveen Babi, who ruled the marquee for several years, passed away on January 20, 2005. Babi, who had been living an isolated existence after being diagnosed with Paranoid schizophrenia, passed away all alone, with no one by her side. Film historian Dilip Thakur, talking about her death said, “The news of Parveen Babi came out two days after her death because the door of her house was closed.For two days, the milk and newspaper were not picked up from her doorstep, so neighbours suspected something and called the police. It was discovered that Babi was dead. It was a tragic death.’’

Babi’s house had an unfinished painting of her guru UG Krishnamurthy when she was found dead in her house. She had left India to be with her guru but returned to India in early 90s. Thakur added, “she came back to India but had lost all the glamour that she was known for, but she had hired a PR and kept accusing a lot of celebrities for destroying her life.’’

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While on Babi’s career, one rarely heard of an actress being launched in an adult film, but Thakur said that Parveen Babi’s first two films were adult. He said, “Her first film Charitra which was adult, and Dhuen Ki Lakeer were released within a gap of only one week. Both were disasters. Babi did Charitra with cricketer Salim Durani and Dhuen Ki Lakeer with Vicky Sahu. Her first film Charitra was an adult film and it was very shocking at that time. Both the films flopped, yet Parveen Babi became a star.’’
The influence of the Western look on Hindi film heroines started in the 1970s. Thakur said, “It started with Zeenat Aman and continued with Parveen Babi. Babi worked with all the top directors of her time – Yash Chopra, Ramesh Sippy, Prakash Mehra, Manmohan Desai, and even Hrishikesh Mukherjee in Rang Birangi (1983).”
Thakur adds, “Parveen benefitted because of Zeenat Aman, who had set a trend, and at times even got films which Zeenat did not do. Also at times both were there together in films like Mahaan and Pukaar.’’
Thakur continued, “Babi worked with Amitabh Bachchan in 10-odd films starting with Ravi Tandon’s Majboor (1974). Her pairing with Bachchan clicked. She got a chance to work under Manoj Kumar’s direction in Kranti (1981). She wasn’t an extra ordinary actress, but worked with the best in those days. People still remember Parveen Babi as a successful heroine of commercial films.’’

On the other hand, Parveen had quite a few films that never saw the light of the day. Thakur said, “I saw Parveen Babi for the first time during the shoot of a film called Iraada co-starring Shatrughan Sinha. A PR had taken me to the shoot because it was happening near our office. The film never got completed though. Her film called Chamatkar also got shelved. Rajesh Khanna was the hero of that film and Pramod Chakravarty was the director. Manmohan Desai’s Sarfarosh starring Amitabh Bachchan and Parveen Babi also got shelved.’’

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