The actress who changed the face of Bollywood and expanded the horizon for Indian women, the Superstar of the 1970s and the 1980s was born in Junagadh, Gujarat. Born to an affluent Muslim family, Parveen Babi was an MA in English Literature. She began her modeling career in 1972 and quickly moved to the film industry in 1932 with the film Charitra. Though the movie was a flop, Babi’s presence was felt and her work was appreciated. Due to her chiseled looks, shapely body and fashion sense, she was always a glamorous heroine rather than a mainstream actress. Babi, for her times, was highly westernized, be it her dressing sense that made her a fashion icon or her liberalized thoughts on religion.

While all the actresses of her times were busy portraying the typical Indian woman, she was redefining the way people looked at women in India. She became the first woman from India to be on the front cover of Time (1976). Though she was frequently seen on the covers of film magazines like Filmfare, Bombay Dyeing and The Stardust. During her ten-year long acting career, Babi was seen in over fifty movies. She shared screen space with the likes of Amitabh Bachchan, Shahi Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor, Vinod Khanna, Feroz Khan, Dharmendra and Rajesh Khanna; all of whom were the leading stars of that era. Due to her westernized looks and her screen presence, she was always given roles that portrayed the standards of a film star rather than trying to associate her with the Indian sentiment. She was often compared to her contemporary, Zeenat Aman, due to their similarities.

Babi has acted alongside Zeenat Aman in Ashanti(1982) and Mahaan (1983). Apart from these, Babi has worked in multiple hits sich as Suhaag, Kala Pathar, Namak Halal and Jaani Dost. Though her best performances of all times are said to be in Amar Akbar Anthony, Shaan, and Deewar. It was in 1988, at the peak of her career that she disappeared from the radar of the film industry without informing anyone. She was never married, but there was much speculation among the tabloids about her relationship with Mahesh Bhatt, Amitabh Bachchan, Kabir Bedi and Danny Denzongpa. It is said that she traveled to various countries with U G Krishnamurthy, on a spiritual journey. When asked about her experience of travel and meeting a variety of people, she said that "my experience of people is that human beings are very good people.

However, the powerful, to serve their vested power interests manipulate pressure and use ordinary human beings and their power ploy and force them into the negative act. However, I believe, eventually, the human spirit of positive will triumph and as far as other attributes of people are considered I find Americans to be extremely progressive and ingenious race. And I identify a great deal with Americans.” On her return to India in 1989, she was rumored to have been diagnosed with schizophrenia, but she denied it by calling it a conspiracy of the industry and media against her.

She lived a lonely life, with hardly if any friendships and relations. She had accused Amitabh Bachchan of trying to kill her. It was later in life, around 1991, that she took to interior designing and decorating as a career. During the last few years of her life, she became highly suspicious, recording every phone call, recording her daily activities and thoughts. It was in 2005 that she was found dead in her apartment. The secretary of her residence and informed the police about Babi not opening her door for three days and she had not collected her newspaper and milk too. Later, after the post mortem, the cause of death as diagnosed to be diabetes and total organ failure. Even though in her last years, Babi had converted to Christianity, she was buried next to her mother in Santa Cruz by her relatives as per Islamic rites.  

Patience Cooper

Patience Cooper was an Angolo-Indian, who was born in Calcutta, India. In Bandmann’s Musical Comedy, she began her career as a dancer and later on as an actress joined the Jamshedji Framji Madan’s Corinithian Stage Company. At a very young age of 21, she married a well-known Indian businessman, Mirza Ahmad Ispahani Saheb (MAH Ispahani) with whom she migrated to Pakistan in the year 1947. After her divorce with him, she got married to one the earliest silent movie actor, Gul Hamid Khan, who due to Hodgkin’s disease died six years later. She adopted two daughters in Karachi, Zeenat, and Haleema with whom she spent the last days of her life. She also has a foster daughter Syeda Rizvi, who now is a resident of Houston, Texas, USA. Seventeen children were either adopted or fostered by her throughout her lifetime. She had also changed her to Sabra Begum. Patience Cooper is regarded as the first ever Indian film star. Due to the conservative attitudes of her era, the numbers of women in the film industry especially Hindu women were very low and, as a result, the demand of Angolo-Indian women was very high. In the year 1920, she made a mark with the movie Nala Damayanti. The movie was directed by Eugenio de Liguoro an Italian and had a big budget. The movie became known for its special effects. Next, in 1921, she starred in the movie Vishnu Avtar. In the same year, she acted in another movie by Eugenio de Liguoro called Dhruva Charitra. The film had Cooper as the female lead along with many Europeans. In 1922, she did Pati Bhakti, which was the most notable films that she did although it was involved in a controversy for a dance number that the censor board considered obscene and demanded it to be removed from the movie. In the year 1923, Cooper played the first ever double role in Hindi film in the movie Patni Pratap as twin sisters. Her next movie, Kashmiri Sundari, in the year 1924, also saw her play a double role as a mother and daughter. With a career in over forty movies, she decided to retire in the year 1944, after doing her last movie, Iraada. A major factor that led to Cooper’s popularity was her similar appearance to Hollywood stars, achieved by technicians through the use of various lightning techniques.

Patience Cooper Hindi Actress