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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Watched Ranjish Hi Sahi? Revisit the heartbreaking love story of Mahesh Bhatt and Parveen Babi

Mahesh Bhatt and Parveen Babi's love story is said to have begun in 1977 when she broke up with her then-boyfriend Kabir Bedi. Nursing a broken heart, she got attached to Mahesh, who was a common friend of the couple.

By: Entertainment Desk | New Delhi |
January 14, 2022 7:49:19 pm
mahesh bhatt parveen babiMahesh Bhatt revealed that seeing Parveen Babi go through breakdowns, he himself went through trauma. (Photos: Express Archives)

Mahesh Bhatt’s Voot Select series Ranjish Hi Sahi is said to be a take on his love affair with Parveen Babi, with certain creative liberties. The show takes us back to Bollywood of that time, as Indian Express critic Shubhra Gupta notes in her review, “That era, filled with crass producers, randy leading men, ramshackle studios, single-screen theatres, influential gossip journalists, long-finned Chevrolet impalas, and landlines. All of it has been painstakingly recreated. The nostalgia is on full display.”

Starring Tahir Raj Bhasin, Amrita Puri and Amala Paul, the web show is the love story between a struggling director and a superstar. In real life, Mahesh Bhatt and Parveen Babi’s love story is said to have begun in 1977 when she broke up with her then-boyfriend Kabir Bedi. Nursing a broken heart, she got attached to Mahesh, who was a common friend of the couple. As he gave solace to her, they got closer and soon fell in love. He left his wife Lorraine Bright aka Kiran Bhatt and daughter Pooja to live with Parveen for a couple of years before her mental health issues created turmoil in their relationship.

In an interview with Filmfare, Mahesh Bhatt revealed that one evening in 1979, he entered Parveen’s apartment, only to see her petrified mother in the corridor, requesting him to check on the actor. As he walked into the bedroom, he was shocked to see the sight that he witnessed.

“Parveen was dressed in a film costume and sat curled up in the corner between the wall and the bed. Her gait was beast-like. She had a kitchen knife in her hand. ‘What are you doing?’ I asked. She said, ‘Shhsssh…! Don’t talk! This room is bugged. They’re trying to kill me; they’re going to drop a chandelier on me.’ She held my hand and led me outside. I saw her mother look helplessly at me. Her gaze revealed that this episode had happened before; it was not the first time,” Mahesh shared.

As a dutiful boyfriend, he consulted the top psychiatrists, who diagnosed her with paranoid schizophrenia. While he tried to help her, Parveen’s delusions kept getting worse, and they grew apart. He recalled in the same interview, “Sometimes she’d say the air conditioner had a bug. We had to dismantle it and show it to her. At other times there was ‘a bug’ in the fan or in the perfume.”

Recounting another incident when Parveen believed that the car they were travelling in had a bomb, the filmmaker said. “She threw open the door of the moving car, saying the bomb would burst and ran out on the road with me trying to hold her. People thought ‘Parveen Babi’ was having a fight with her boyfriend. Somehow, I huddled her into a taxi and brought her home,” he said.

In an interview to TOI, Mahesh Bhatt revealed that seeing his lady love go through these breakdowns, he himself went through trauma ‘and a hell of my own making for two and a half years’. While doctors advised electroconvulsive therapy, he did not want her to go through the ordeal and thus ran away with her to his philosopher friend UG Krishnamurti in Bengaluru.

Believing he was a part of the problem, he left Parveen in the care of his friend and returned to Mumbai after a few months. After moving back to his wife, and trying to mend his marriage. Mahesh Bhatt also started working on his breakthrough film Arth, an experience he called ‘cathartic’. And while she returned soon after, the couple broke up after realising that this ‘relationship was doomed’.

However, it was Mahesh Bhatt, who went on to claim her mortal remains, when Parveen Babi passed away in 2005. “I thought if none of her relatives came forward, I’d bury her. She was the springboard of my success. Arth (based on his relationship with Parveen) became the lifeblood of my resurrection. You take away this defining watershed tragedy and my narrative ceases to exist. I owe it all to her. By offering to bury her I felt a sense of closure,” he told Filmfare.

Apart from writing and directing Arth, a supposedly semi-autobiographical film about his relationship with Parveen Babi, Mahesh Bhatt also wrote and produced Woh Lamhe in 2006. Directed by his nephew Mohit Suri, the film starred Kangana Ranaut and Shiney Ahuja and received tremendous success. Earlier in 1993, he had also directed Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayee, a film starring Pooja Bhatt and Rahul Roy for Zee TV.

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