PARVEEN BABI - THE MISUNDERSTOOD DIVA
She was the queen of the 70s. She was the glamorous siren who gave a makeover to the image of the Hindi film heroine. Every time she appeared on the screen, it was impossible to look away from her. From the way she carried herself to the unabashed way of choosing her characters, Parveen Babi was a trendsetter. In a short career span, Babi was a part of various successful films. Her image was diametrically opposite from the saree clad bhartiya-nari who was usually the Hindi film heroine but that worked in her favour. Parveen was also the first Indian to appear on the cover of TIME magazine and that was a rare feat in those days. As much as everyone remembers the success of this wonderful diva, we also remember her struggles with mental health. It was in 2015 when someone as popular as Deepika Padukone gathered the courage to come out and speak about her depression. And that makes one wonder about Parveen Babi, who was misjudged by the world, called crazy by the masses and had no help in the darkest of times.
In a country like ours, where basic survival can prove to be a challenge, we are used to just rushing by our day and ignoring our health, even when it’s a physical ailment. The taboo about discussing one’s mental health is still so massive that commoners like us still find it difficult to talk about it in the open. The common notion of calling someone crazy or loosely using words like “paagal” doesn’t shock anyone. Empathy for those struggling with their mental health issues is still a far cry, so helping someone who is trying to come to terms with their issues is quite far-fetched.