New Delhi: One of Hindi cinema's ultimate sex symbols, Parveen Babi, was the first Indian movie star to be featured on the cover of the Time magazine in 1976. Two others after her, Aishwarya Rai in 2003 and Aamir Khan in 2012 have been featured on the cover.
In the 70s, Babi was at the height of her success, having starred in several superhit films with the leading men of her time, including 11 with Amitabh Bachchan.
She had a certain je ne sais quois about her ethereal beauty that surpassed the combined charm of her contemporaries - Zeenat Aman's sensuality, Hema Malini's doe-eyed zestiness and Jaya Bachchan's (then Bhadhuri) feisty innocence.
She was 27 when the Time cover, titled Asia's Frenetic Film Scene, came out and was already at the peak of her career. She was also mired in controversies regarding her co-stars. She was allegedly involved in affairs with Mahesh Bhatt, Kabir Bedi and Danny Denzongpa. She disappeared in the early 80s to return in 1989, a shadow of her former self - overweight and unkempt - and fallen from cinematic glory.
Her tragic life has been the subject of two films, both involving Bhatt. The stories surrounding her life and lonely death has failed to take away the romanticism and added an extra dimension of enigma.