The Parveen Tapes babi - Part II

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Posted: 14 years ago
Bombay gives me horrid vibes

Her support structure had started to crumble, and her mistrust of the world around her was growing. MiD DAY continues the audio diaries of Parveen Babi, recorded by her in 1977, for Mahesh Bhatt


The tapes Parveen Babi recorded during Diwali 1977 showed that her sense of self had been frayed. Love, insecurity, success, isolation — she struggled to interpret her shifting realities. To get help, she experimented with spiritualism and also tried love. Mahesh Bhatt was her companion and confidante at the time. But as her inner chaos began to impose itself on her outer world, she started losing faith in him too. Her audio letters to Bhatt show how disturbed she was. The transcripts, being made public for the first time, have inspired Bhatt's new film Woh Lamhe, directed by his nephew Mohit Suri

Picture courtesy: Stardust

Showing off

At night, I finished this tape recording and I couldn't sleep. And then Kabir Bedi was somehow prominent in my consciousness. So I picked up this goddamn phone and I dialled his number in London. And at night, I couldn't get him on the line.

And then, um when I got up in the morning, I rang him up. He said, "Hello", and I said (booming), "Kabir!" and he said, "Hello" and I said, "Kabir?" (louder) so he said, "Oh Jojo, how are you? I said, "I'm fine." I didn't know what to say so I just said, "Happy Diwali to you!"

So he said, "Oh yeah, is it Diwali today?" so I said, "Yeah, it is Diwali today." And uh, then I said, "How are you?" and he said, "I'm fine". And then I suddenly wanted to tell him how well I'm doing in films over here and I told him.

That I've got Ramesh Sippy's film (Shaan, during which she had the first breakdown), I've got Manoj Kumar's film (Kranti, in which she had a small role) I've got Yash Chopra's film (Kaala Patthar, in which she played a press photographer) and I've got B R Chopra's film (The Burning Train, he completed the dubbing without her). And I rutted out the whole thing to him you know.

The tape ends, so Parveen starts recording a second cassette
I was yakking away to glory and the tape had stopped… (Sighs) What I'll do now, ma? Till four o' clock I've got nothing to do. Ravi Chopra will come at four o' clock… Everybody is running after poor little baby of yours and poor little baby has got no place to hide also.

(Normal) You know what happened with Bhagwan's gown that he wanted to give to you? I'm going to dye it with my own hands with lots and lots of love. And (pauses) silly thought. 'Maybe I'll cut my finger and put a little colour.' Silly thought. I'm not going to do that, huh? I'm too f***ing sane and reasonable person to do that. Just a thought that came to my head.

She switches the tape off, only to switch it back on at one in the night
I've just come back from Koonki's Diwali party. I felt so lonely there. Ever since I spoke to you on the phone, I've been worried. Um… you sounded so distant.

As a matter of fact, you've been sounding distant ever since you've been ringing me up from there. I've been wondering what's wrong and I'm still wondering what's happening to you.

I, I don't know what to say Misha. I need you because I am incomplete. I am not total complete in myself. I ... I've been feeling very lonely (tearfully) been feeling that, not vacuum, but this, I've been feeling empty. I've been feeling restless, I've been feeling frantic. And I've been watching it. And I'm waiting for you Mahesh. That's all I can say, my love. I'm waiting. Good night.

She switches the tape off, and goes to sleep. The next day...

Nasty feeling

I thought of saying something to you just now and I switched on the tape recorder and I've forgotten! It's about 8:30, quarter to nine (loud sound of firecrackers) and there are these patakas going on outside and they're getting on my nerves literally. If there's anything I hate, it's these crackers going on, shattering my nerves. What did I want to say to you just now? Anyway, it'll come.

Ya, (remembers) I had this nasty feeling that I'm not going to speak to you tonight. But now the phone is ringing outside and maybe it's you! But just have this nasty feeling that I may not be able to speak to you tonight, I don't know why.

Um, the phone has rung and Maggie has not knocked on the door yet. It's time for your call you know. I must go and take it, nobody's picking it up. Wait.
She switches the tape off, then on again

Ya, the telephone kind of rings and then gets cut off so I've brought it inside. (Sighs) I hope I can speak to you tonight because I really want to speak to you very badly tonight.

(Loud crackers) S***, these patakas yaar!
She switches the tape off from the sound

Nobody is answering
Switches tape on again

Ya, they've stopped. And this phone has been ringing and when I pick up the phone, nobody is answering. I told you (accusing), I have this nasty feeling I'm not going to speak to you tonight.

And I don't even know what you're going through baba, which head trip you're going through. I wonder if it is an insecurity. I'm sure you must be wondering why I stayed an extra night in Poona (cracker boom). I stayed there because I just could not get away from Poona. I spent that whole evening in the ashram. I didn't want to come back to Bombay.

Bombay was giving me such horrid vibes and I knew that I was going to come back to nothing. And that's why. And I've not been doing anything that would hurt you. And I'm not going to do anything that would hurt you.

Parveen's portable soul

By the way, Vinod rang up in the evening - Muki (Mukesh Bhatt) rang up. Actually I think Vinod wanted to speak to me. Muki said, "Your tickets have come or not?" I said, "Yeah, they've come." He said, "Our tickets have not come." I asked him, "When is your brother coming back?" so he said, "VK (Vinod Khanna) is coming back on the 20th."

So I said (laughs), "You b****** b******, I'm asking you about your brother!" So he started laughing, said he's coming back on 9th. So I said, "Oh f***!"

Uh, then I spoke to Vinod and Vinod said, "Have you got anything portable (laughs) which I can take to Bangalore with me? If you got any portable spare parts, put them in my bag and I'll take them for him."

So I said, "Yes, I've got a portable soul (laughs) which I'll put in your pocket and you can give it to him (giggles)." And then I told him, we'll meet tomorrow in Calcutta and we'll talk.

And he said, "Your friend has told me to give you lots and lots, so much of love that you should get killed with all the love." And I said, "But that was said in a very generous moment. I'm sure tomorrow night he will not be able to sleep (laughs)." So he said, "No no, both of us will ring him up from Calcutta." So I said, "Yeah, we must do that."

So that was the sum total of my conversation with dear Vinod. And then he said, "I believe Amitabh escorted you for the premiere of Parvarish?" I said, "Silly idiot! Amitabh did not, Ketan Desai escorted me over there. And  Dabboo Kapoor escorted me out (laughs)." You know this escort has become such a problem for me Misha, I just can't go anywhere.

She switches the tape off
  Related stories
REVEALED! Parveen Babi's DARKEST SECRETS
Woh Lamhe...

Parveen Babi frequently sent messages for Mahesh Bhatt through her friends Vinod Khanna and Danny Denzongpa.

When she started seeing Bhatt, she had just broken up with Kabir Bedi.
Yeh Lamhe...

Kangana, who plays Parveen in Woh Lamhe
Remembering Parveen

Mahesh Bhatt had a three-and-a-half year relationship with Parveen Babi. He admits that, as a struggling director, he piggybacked on her fame at first. Later though, the affair became more intimate.


Parveen hated going out — she always kept her hair tied up and preferred to play homemaker. It was all part of the role of "waiting for her man". She loved mothering him and would tell him how to behave as if he were her child.

She loved reading the Architectural Digest. Incidentally, when Parveen came back from her hiatus in the US, she spoke of a career in interior designing.

Bhatt insists that Parveen did not do drugs or drink. She only loved sipping champagne or Riesling. She loved to cook and learnt how to cook aloo from Bhatt's mom.

Mukesh Bhatt, now a successful producer, even began his debut film with Parveen and Dev Anand titled Ab Meri Baari. But Mukesh had to abandon it when Parveen suffered a nervous breakdown.

The director remembers Parveen having one of her anxiety attacks when they were driving in Juhu during Ganesh utsav. She threw open the car door while it was still moving and jumped out. Bhatt had to chase her along Juhu beach and bring her back.

The Parveen Tapes

1978
Do Aur Do Paanch released, starring Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Hema Malini and Parveen Babi. In it, she played the scatter-brained daughter of the school headmaster

1980
Parveen Babi starred in Ramesh Sippy's Shaan that finally released in 1980. Production was stalled when Parveen took a break while struggling with her illness

1982
Prakash Mehra's Namak Halaal released — Parveen was said to have had a breakdown on the sets, imagining a chandelier falling down on her

1984
Parveen left for the US, but was held at JFK airport because she was "being difficult". The authorities reportedly handcuffed her, after which the Indian embassy intervened

1 Likes this
Posted: 14 years ago
yucks they use slang language in real life
0 Likes this
Posted: 14 years ago
dont know what to say...
0 Likes this
Posted: 14 years ago
Originally posted by miss_srk


dont know what to say...

LOL LOL LOL yes even i felt like that . so long, its boring.
0 Likes this
Posted: 14 years ago
Very interseting. Feel sorry for her. Wish Mahesh Bhatt had gotten the tapes earlier. It says that he didn't get the tapes until after Parveen Babi's death because his wife Kiran got a hold of them and never gave it to him.
Wish she could have been helped. Will watch Woh Lamhe when it is released.
0 Likes this
Posted: 14 years ago
haha yeaa dont knw wat to say
0 Likes this
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