"The attraction between us was palpable.”
Bollywood filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt has revealed how he was drawn into an affair with the late actress, Parveen Babi.
News of their affair certainly caused a lot of controversies and continues to be of interest today.
Writer Karishma Upadhyay has released a biography on Parveen Babi in which Mahesh Bhatt has also recalled his affair with the actress.
As well as his affair, Mahesh opens up about Parveen’s reported mental illness. It was believed the late actress was suffering from schizophrenia.
Parveen Babi was initially in a relationship with actor Kabir Bedi who was also the friend of Mahesh Bhatt.
However, their relationship did not last and the two parted ways.
Parveen returned from London to rebuild her career and decided to call Mahesh Bhatt to her residence for a “catch up with life.”
Mahesh was in his 20s and was married with one child. However, he was compelled to visit Parveen.
Despite the trip from Mahim to Juhu being quite expensive, Mahesh Bhatt embarked on the journey. He recalls:
“That evening started off [with] two friends catching up, but the conversation kept getting deeper and the silences got comfortable. The attraction between us was palpable.”
Mahesh continued to remind himself that he was a married man with a child. He added:
“I might have parroted the whole narrative of free love, but I was held back by my morality.”
When Mahesh Bhatt decided to leave, he came to realise that Parveen had not come to see him off to the door.
“It was a long corridor from the living room to the main door. I was almost at the door when I realised that Parveen hadn’t come to see me off.
“Just as I opened the main door, I heard her call my name.”
Mahesh retracted and went towards Parveen Babi’s room.
“She was lying there on the bed, waiting for me. There was complete silence, because there was no need for words anymore.”
Recalling another incident, Mahesh revealed that he witnessed a “psychotic episode” of Parveen Babi.
“Here she was, curled up on the floor like a beast in one corner of the room. She was still in her film costume.
“She was holding a knife; it was the knife she used at the breakfast table.”
She told Mahesh to “shut the door. They tried to kill me” to which Mahesh asked who was trying to kill her. In response, she said, “Amitabh Bachchan.”
She went on to urge Mahesh to lower his voice telling him that “the room is bugged. You don’t know; you are an innocent man. They are going to drop a chandelier on me.”
Despite never having dealt with schizophrenia, Mahesh was aware of this mental illness. Taken from excerpts shared by Mumbai Mirror, Mahesh said:
“As a child, I had seen a South Indian actor named Ranjan in our neighbourhood. He was said to be a victim of schizophrenia and that was my only reference.”
The actress tragically passed away on 20 January 2005. Her body was discovered at the door of her terrace flat. It was revealed that she died of multiple organ failure.