In a number of Mahesh Bhatt movies, the main plot revolved around a love triangle. The real-life story of this enigmatic director is nothing short of a film reel. Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt and actress Parveen Babi's love story is a tale of heartbreak and grief. He hurled into an extra-marital affair with an actress (Parveen Babi) who was fiercely lonely. She was alone, and he needed to play the prince on the white horse.
In many interviews, Mahesh Bhatt untangled all those broken threads of his heart and expressed his love and grief for Parveen Babi. Here's an account of what went in the making of this painful love-story:
Parveen Babi was at the peak of her career when she fell in love with filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt. Their love blossomed in 1977. Though Bhatt was a married man, he decided to live in with Parveen Babi, who was a superstar then.
Everything was perfect in their fairytale romance, until one fateful evening in 1979. In an interview with Filmfare, Mahesh revealed that He walked into the actress’ bedroom and witnessed a sight that sent a chill down his spine.
“Parveen was dressed in 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 (installed with a spying device). They're trying to kill me; they're going to drop a chandelier on me.' She held my hand and led me outside.” Said Mahesh Bhatt.
Soon the attacks became frequent. Babi was diagnosed with one of the most dreaded disorder - paranoid schizophrenia.
Doctors and filmmakers, who sensed their films on the verge of being stalled, wanted Parveen to undergo 'electric shock treatment' which seemed like the only temporary option to calm her down at that time. Bhatt stood his ground and did not let Babi go through the painful process. Though, her constant attacks made it necessary to hide her from the public which stalled the larger than life filmdom for the actress.
Mahesh Bhatt in a tell-all interview with Outlook Magazine expressed his gratitude for the actress. “I owe everything that I am today to my brief association with this magnificent woman. It was my brief relationship with her, that lasted for about two-and-a-half years, that echoed in my film, Arth, which was a semi-autobiographical look at my extramarital relationship with Parveen. She was the turning point in my life. After four of my films had flopped, I shot to prominence when I told the world our story in the autobiographical Arth, said Mahesh Bhatt.
Talking about Parveen Babi’s medical condition, Mahesh wrote, “I loved Parveen. I was close to her but I couldn't live with a woman who was a shadow of her real self. When Parveen went through a low, doctors described it as a case of schizophrenia. Parveen's mother who had rushed down to Mumbai, believed that djinns had taken over her daughter's body. Parveen had actually inherited schizophrenia from her father.”
When there was no hope left, Mahesh ran away with Parveen Babi to Bangalore. He thought that a peaceful life would bring her back to him. He wanted to keep her stress free. The same year, Mahesh Bhatt left Parveen and came back to his wife Lorraine. Parveen's philosopher in Bangalore advised Bhatt to stay away from Parveen as his presence was worsening her condition. It was during this time that Mahesh Bhatt had started writing Arth, a film which was totally inspired by his own life which proved to be the game-changer for the director.
Soon after Bhatt, Parveen too returned to the city without a complete treatment. Mahesh Bhatt, who was with his wife, could not stop himself from being there for Parveen. One night, while they both were about to make love, Parveen asked him to choose between her and her philosopher UG.
It was then that he understood that their relationship was doomed and he walked out into the pouring rain, leaving Parveen calling out to him.
When Parveen passed away in anonymity in 2005, Mahesh was the one to claim her body. According to the post mortem report at the Cooper hospital, there were no traces of food in her stomach, but, some alcohol was found, and, it is possible that she had not consumed anything for more than three days and, as a consequence, starved to death.
Mahesh Bhatt revealed in an interview, “For me, Parveen died twice—the first time when she had her first mental breakdown and was with me -- the personality I had known completely collapsed, like a house of cards. She was a rebel who lived life on her own terms, died on her own terms.”