Parveen Babi was born on April 4 1949 in Junagadh and did her early schooling in Aurangabad and later attended St. Xavier's College, Ahmedabad. Her father Vali Mohammed Babi, a Gujarati muslim, was an administrator with the ''Nawab'' of Junagadh. Babi was born fourteen years after the marriage of her parents and was an only child.
she was spotted by director BR Ishara. She made her debut in Chraitra (1973) with Salim Durrani. The beginning was rather insignificant to the eventful career that was to follow
Parveen Babi along with Zeenat Aman with their chiselled looks, well-sculpted bodies and anglicised accents donned the mantle of archetypal Indian heroine and imparted to the female prima donna of Bollywood their characteristic mannerisms forever (The likes of Bips and others still draw inspiration from the works of the duo). It is said that in those days when ‘celebrityhood’ was shining hard on these two contemporary actresses, there was a sharp dichotomy amongst their admirers. It was hard to choose between the best and the second best.
It was no less than skyrocketing for her, by featuring opposite the Big B in Majboor (1974) and Deewar (1975). She drew accolades for her work in immortal flick Amar, Akbar and Anthonty (1977). With Burning Train, Sholay, and Shaan -- the word was out that the angry young man would have no other heroine opposite him except the lanky Babi. The acme of her career was reached when she featured on the covers of the coveted ‘Time’ magazine. She did a brilliant cameo in Manoj Kumar’s patriotic hit ‘Kranti’(1980). Midway amongst these runaway successes were a few flops too like Dev Anand’s Bullet, Mazdoor Zindabab, Mama Bhanja, and Rangeela. Nevertheless, flicks like Do Aur Do Paanch (1980), Kaalia (1981), Meri Awaz Sunao (1982) with Jeetendera and ‘Namak Halaal’ with dashing Shashi kept her scales on the upward swing. she had a dalliance with Kabir Bedi but she soon came back to her job. But most mortifying for her, was her torrid affair with Mahesh Bhatt and its subsequent portrayal in ‘Arth’ by Smita Patil. Some mediocre roles like ‘Yeh Nazdeekiyan’ with Marc Zuber ,‘Dil Aakhir Dil Hai’ with Naseeruddin Shah and ‘Rang Birangee’ opposite Amol Palekar and she was almost written off as a superstar. A diseased, failed and a jilted lover and actress, Parveen Babi sort solace in the gospel of J. Krishnamurthy and Osho. But none could redress the agony of dementia. It was perhaps in her US sojourn that someone put her on medication. She came back to India – a portly, disarranged lady, not even faintly resembling her old self. She turned a recluse, leading a simple and private life. Parveen Babi never regained the Midas touch. Day after day followed and Parveen Babi struck to her self imposed confinement. Only an occasional spewing of venom against some co-stars broke her silence. But no one took her seriously. Everybody knew that she was mentally off balance. Parveen Babi may have suffered from schizophrenia and had become a recluse in the last years of her life. She never married but had close relationships with director Mahesh Bhatt and actors Kabir Bedi and Danny Denzongpa. She was also rumoured to have a relationship with her co star Amitabh Bachchan. Mahesh Bhatt made Arth (1982), a semi-autobiographical film about his relationship with Babi, and Woh Lamhe (2006) based on actual facts about his relationship with her.These experiences triggered of schizophrenia which was not completely treated or supported and ultimately resulted in her final loneliness without any support systems.
She is the first Indian actress who featured on TIME magazine's cover.
She was found dead in her Mumbai apartment on January 22, 2005 after her residential society secretary complained to the police that she had not collected milk and newspapers from her doorstep for two days. The police ruled out any foul play. She was buried next to her mother at Santa Cruz, in Mumbai on January 23, after her funeral was made according to Islamic teachings. Her seclusion from society was abruptly ended by a knock from the emissaries of ‘Lord of Death’ on Saturday, Jan 21st 2005. The police suspect an overdose of medicine. The fact remains that she is no more, whatever, the reasons may be. May Lord give her ‘peace’, which she desperately yearned for in her lifetime?