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Parveen Babi’s 5 Finest Movies




Subhash K Jha  Picks Parveen Babi’s  5 Finest

Unfairly  , she was  always compared with Zeenat Aman and even labelled the Poor Man’s Zeenat. In truth Parveen  was  a better  actress who  never  got the opportunities that  Zeenat  did,  never worked with  directors  like Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand, and still left  a mark even in the  smallest  of roles. Try these for sighs.

1.     Charitra(1973):  In her very first film Parveen flung away  the  image  of  the typical  heroine to play a girl who is compelled to sleep with her father’s  creditor who impregnates her and refuses to own up to the child.  It took a director  of   B R Isaara’s unorthodoxy to  launch a  new liberated Hindi film heroine whose charitra was not impeccable  and who shockingly enough indulged in pre-marital sex. From the beginning  it was clear  PB wouldn’t fit  into  the  typical Sati Savitri mould.To hell with virginity.

2.     Deewaar(1975): PB  did a string  of very successful   films with Amitabh  Bachchan including Amar Akbar Anthony where she was Jenny, Anthony’s sweetheart . They both emerged  out of an Easter egg  in the  film and captivated  the audience.But my  pick of her  films with AB  is Deewaar where she  played the liberated  unfettered  unorthodox Anita who shares  bed with no strings  attached with  Vijay. Her love theme  I am  falling  in love with a stranger typified  the  route that Ms Babi had chosen for  her career.

3.     Chandi Sona(1977): Sanjay Khan’s  incurably silly treasure-hunt  film  had a treasurable Parveen Babi in that legendary  Cleopatra get-up which  Time magazine saw and put on their cover.Much to the envy of the  other  top actresses of the time.This is how Parveen Babi became globally  famous. This is the film’s only  claim to fame. As  she  goes  on  a  treasure hunt with  Mr Khan, Parveen can  actually be seen  having a whole lot  of fun with her dimwitted  part. Ever chic  and glamorous we  seldom saw  her  having fun with her characters.

4.     Ashanti(1982): Umesh  Mehra’s  Charlie’s Angels with Zeenat Aman, Shabana  Azmi and  Parveen Babi whooping it up in style. Parveen   seemed to enjoy the  role of a gun-toting,karate-wielding  kickass  female hero. And  this was one film she enjoyed making  because there was so sexual tension on the sets.I always  wanted to see this stunning beauty in an action avtar. This was  PB’s chance. She  grabbed  it.

5.     Yeh Nazdeekiyan(1982): 1982 was  an exceptionally busy year for Parveen. She  worked with Hrishikesh Mukherjee for  the  first time in Rang Birangi and he  told me  he wished he had  offered her  a more substantial role.  During the same year she   played the Other Woman in three films: Eshmayeel  Shroff’s  Dil Aakhir Dil Hai, J Om Prakash’s Arpan (stealing  Jeetendra  away from Reena  Roy,  PB was the  ritzy female   arpan cowboy)  and  Vinod Pandey’s Yeh Nazdeekiyan where she  played a hot  model Kiran who steals Shabana  Azmi’s husband  but returns  him  back(sood samet) when  she realizes  she  doesn’t want to be  branded a  homebreaker. Her meatiest part ever, Parveen  sank her crooked teeth into  it with a wolfish delight.If only she had lived long enough to see  sexual liberation hit  Bollywood.

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