You are a successful star alright but no one discusses you as an actress?

True in the kind of films that came my way the heroine really had nothing much to do. I think of 100 films made these days just about five percent are heroine-oriented and these go-to actresses like Jaya, Hema, rakhee.

It has really become difficult for a heroine to prove her talent. As for my talent didn’t people say I had given a good performance in charitra? But then I had a good role in it. Whereas in deewar I had a very small role.

If you are made to just wear clothes and stand in the background how are you going to show your talent? It is the male actor who matters more today in our films. One or two action films became hits and that has set off the trend.

And if you wait for a good role you will have to wait for a long time, and by the time it comes, the people would have forgotten.

Aren’t you know more for your personal involvement with danny denzongpa and kabir bedi?

That was the side of me which press found interesting. They could sell their magazines writing about Parveen Babi’s personal life more than they could sell their copies writing about the films she is working in or about her as an actress.

I never made an effort to hide anything either, because it is not my way of life to do things in secrecy. The press picked up the personal side of my life and magnified the matter which was of interest to them.

And in between the press had gone out of hand. They were more interested in writing about what was happening in the star bedrooms than anything else.

But your way of life has been rather different. You lived with two men without being married to them?

It is a lie to say my way of life was different only my approach to life was open. I am not only the one having a relationship with a man without being married to him.

At least in my case, it was an open affair and there was no feeling of guilt.

The impression that you gave was that of an actress indifferent to her career. Was it because the roles were not interesting?

That was also one of the reasons moreover I was more interested in seeking satisfaction in my personal life, my home life.

That was what I was looking forward to from life. It was like any other woman she goes to the office because she has to work but her home life is the main thing for her.

Do you mean to say your attitude has changed?

I am a changed person today I have now realized that the satisfaction I was seeking from my personal life is not everything that love which you want from people is something which you cannot get from people.

It is something that has to be born within yourself, the satisfaction love security all have to come from within you, not from another person.

Does it mean that at one stage of your life you would have got married and set up a home leaving your career?

I would have at one stage. But now I have known the flexibility of human nature I am not talking of any particular person.

It is with all of us we are all capable of changing. Lifelong promises do not last. People who make the promises change.

What it is that broke your relationship with Kabir?

Our ways of life have changed. He wanted to stay in the west whereas I could not stay in the west I wanted to come back here I stayed there for some months I looked around but I did not feel like settling down there.

Moreover, we both had become different human beings, he had become more involved in his career.

That way hasn’t Kabir always been serious about his career as an actor on stage and in films?

I agree. But seriousness is one thing and obsession is another. He became very obsessed with his career. And when you become so involved with one thing so much you obviously have no time for anything else.

People I mean intense people, cannot do two things at the same time. And I was not ready to just sit at home and follow him around.

So we had a long chat and we decided to part as friends. The breakup has made me realize the impermanence of human relationships one can make it permanent only if one is dishonest for fear of society or for fear of not being able to face the world alone.

But I do not do things out of fear at least not so much out of fear.

  • parveen filmfare

You have always had a man around you. You always needed a man close to you?

And even if I have a relationship tomorrow that is not going to affect my profession. I have realized that your personal life is not everything, your professional life is no less important.

I am devoting all my time to my career now. As much time as is demanded of me. I get my scenes and lines in advance and I read up and prepare at home for the day’s scenes.

And the day I feel I am losing interest I will give up entirely. And I am getting greater satisfaction from work now. I have some of the best films on hand and a variety of roles.

And there’s a possibility that some of these roles might give me an entirely new image. I can’t tell you too much about these roles, filmmakers have their inhibitions.

I have been advised not to reveal too much. In Manoj Kumar’s Kranti I am playing an Indian gypsy girl. She is a very earthy woman a wild girl who is ready to fight pounce on people she is always laughing full of life naughty.

In the burning train, I am paying a Delhi socialite wife of Vinod Khanna who is a trained designer. Vinod is obsessed with trains and I am jealous of the trains. Trains become a phobia with me. I have a highly dramatic role in Manmohan Desai’s behsram.

Sharmila is playing my mother in it. There are others like naseed, ahuti and my leading men include Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, and Vinod Khanna.

Any professional problems?

None, except working long hours and getting tired. We have often heard heroines complain about heroes wanting more and more footage for themselves.

I don’t expect more footage or even as much footage as heroes like Amitabh or Vinod because films are hero-oriented. Heroes sell. And I get along fine with them all.

I have no problem at all. And when I say this I am not lying. I am obedient to the directors and when you are obedient is not difficult to get along with people I listen to my directors and I throw no tantrums.

I have a comfortable professional relationship with every director and actor I am working with. I don’t interfere because I know it is not going to help the film.

After all, I am not going to direct the entire movie. Besides the people with whom I am working have had more experience than me and they know what they are doing.

If I find something totally inconvenient, I tell them. If a particular line is proving difficult or if a particular posture is uncomfortable.

And the directors always change it so long as they know I am not just making trouble or going on an ego trip. I bear in mind I am working under the director and not against the director.

Tell us about the foreign visit.

I met several eminent film personalities like Franco zeffirelli, frederico fellini and Bernard bertolucci. All very interesting people with their own eccentricities.

Like Fellini has this thing about not traveling. He does not go out of Rome. He was making a film on Casanova who was born in Venice and who lived in Venice. And though Venice is in Italy Fellini had as et erected in Rome. He cannot miss his roman food.

Zeffirelli is a typical European aristocrat very sophisticated very polished and cultured in the traditional European manner. He has an eye for beauty. I also met Elsa Martinelli very bubbly full of life she is not beautiful but there is something in her that is striking, she is always very alive….

Did they show any interest in our films?

Not much. They all know we make the largest number of films in the world and that our stars work in so many films at a time. They wonder how we do it.

What are your plans for the future?

I have no plans. Because plans don’t work. Whatever you are destined to be you will be. You cannot change your destiny. I could not stop my fingers from being cut in that accident the other day.

I have now surrendered totally to life, life takes its own course either you surrender consciously or you surrender unconsciously. There is no third choice.

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