‘Leg rotted by gangrene, wheelchair…’: Kabir Bedi reveals details on Parveen Babi’s death

Veteran actor Kabir Bedi memoir ‘Stories I Must Tell: The Emotional Life of an Actor’ has unearthed some startling facts about his personal life.

Kabir has penned some fascinating anecdotes such as interviewing The Beatles, making the shift from a career in All India Radio to advertising to theatre and finally foraying into the world of cinema.

The memoir encapsulates the highs and lows of Bedi’s professional and personal life, his tumultuous relationships, including marriage and divorce, why his beliefs have changed, his wrenching setbacks, and his exciting days in India, Europe, and Hollywood.

However, what stands apart is his relationship with late actress Parveen Babi.

Bedi talks about how he fell in love with Parveen Babi despite being married to Protima.

Parveen never got married but her list of linkups includes many married men such as, Mahesh Bhatt, Kabir Bedi, and, Danny Denzongpa.

He states, "Parveen Babi filled that void. She was a ravishingly beautiful actress with fair skin, long black hair and dark, mesmerising eyes. Until then, I’d always thought of her as ‘the girlfriend of Danny Denzongpa’. He was a good-looking Sikkimese actor, two years younger than me, a year older than Parveen. In the years ahead, he would become a highly successful villain in Bollywood and be nominated for many Filmfare Awards."

He further writes, "Parveen began her rapid rise to stardom during their four years together. Her living openly with Danny, wearing jeans and smoking in public, had given her a bohemian image in India. But morally, she was a conservative Gujarati girl. While the rest of the Juhu gang talked about the ‘free sex’ preaching of Guru Osho, she believed in sexual fidelity. It’s what I was looking for when I fell in love with her."

Parveen was found dead on 22nd January 2005 at her Mumbai residence. The police were alerted that milk and newspaper was not collected for days from her door step.

According to postmortem at 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.

Elaborating on the same, Kabir, who was present at her funeral mentioned in his book, “Her body was found in her Juhu flat four days after she died, a leg rotted by gangrene, a wheelchair by her bed. A lonely and tragic end of a star who had once been the fantasy of millions. Three men who had known and loved her - Mahesh, Danny and I - came for her funeral at the Muslim cemetery in Juhu. It was a solemn burial with Islamic rites and chants. We carried her body with relatives to a dimly lit grave. I felt for all she had suffered with a sorrow that came from my depths.”

As of now, Kabir lives with his wife Parveen Dusanj, a producer, in Mumbai. He continues to act, voices ad films and documentaries, and is known for his philanthropic and social causes.

Stories I Must Tell: The Emotional Life of an Actor by Kabir Bedi will be published on 19 April 2021 across online and offline bookstores in India.

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