Mahesh Bhatt’s Voot Select Series Ranjish Hello Sahi it is said to be a version of his love story with Parveen Babi, with certain creative freedoms. The show takes us back to the Bollywood of that time, as Indian Express critic Shubhra Gupta points out in her review: “That era, full of rude producers, horny leads, rickety studios, single screen theaters, influential gossip journalists, long-finned journalists. Chevrolet impalas, and landlines. All of this has been painstakingly recreated. Nostalgia is in sight ”.
Starring Tahir Raj Bhasin, Amrita Puri and Amala Paul, the web show is the love story between a struggling director and a superstar. In real life, Mahesh Bhatt and Parveen Babi’s love story is said to have started in 1977 when she broke up with her then-boyfriend Kabir Bedi. With a broken heart, she became attached to Mahesh, who was a mutual friend of the couple. As he comforted her, they became close and soon fell in love. He left his wife Lorraine Bright, also known as Kiran Bhatt, and their daughter Pooja to live with Parveen for a couple of years before his mental health issues threw their relationship into turmoil.
In an interview with Filmfare, Mahesh Bhatt revealed that one night in 1979, he walked into Parveen’s apartment, only to see his mother petrified in the hallway, and asked her to check on the actor. As he walked towards the bedroom, he was shocked at the sight he witnessed.
“Parveen was dressed in a movie outfit and sat huddled in the corner between the wall and the bed. His gait was like that of a beast. He had a kitchen knife in his hand. ‘What are you doing?’ I asked. She said, ‘Shhhhh…! Do not speak! This room is bugged. They are trying to kill me; They’re going to throw a chandelier at me. He took me by the hand and led me outside. I saw her mother look at me helplessly. His gaze revealed that this episode had happened before; it was not the first time,” Mahesh shared.
As a dutiful boyfriend, he consulted the best psychiatrists, who diagnosed him with paranoid schizophrenia. As he tried to help her, Parveen’s delusions worsened and they parted ways. He recalled in the same interview: “Sometimes she would say that the air conditioner had a bug. We had to take it apart and show it to him. On other occasions there was ‘a bug’ in the fan or in the perfume”.
Recounting another incident in which Parveen believed the car they were riding in had a bomb, the filmmaker said. “She yanked open the door of the moving car, saying the bomb would go off and ran out into the road with me trying to hold her. People thought that ‘Parveen Babi’ was fighting with her boyfriend. Somehow, I snuggled her into a taxi and took her home,” she said.
In an interview with TOI, Mahesh Bhatt he revealed that in watching his beloved go through these meltdowns, he himself went through trauma “and hell of my own making for two and a half years.” Although the doctors recommended electroconvulsive therapy, he did not want her to go through the ordeal and therefore ran away with her to his philosopher friend UG Krishnamurti in Bangalore.
Believing that he was part of the problem, he left Parveen in his friend’s care and returned to Mumbai after a few months. After returning to his wife and trying to repair their marriage. Mahesh Bhatt also began work on his groundbreaking film Arth, an experience he called “cathartic.” And although she returned soon after, the couple broke up realizing that this ‘relationship was doomed’.
However, it was Mahesh Bhatt who claimed her remains when Parveen Babi passed away in 2005. “I thought if none of her relatives came forward, I would bury her. She was the springboard for my success. Arth (based on his relationship with Parveen) became the soul of my resurrection. You remove this decisive tragedy and my narrative ceases to exist. I owe everything to her. Offering to bury her, I felt a sense of closure,” he told Filmfare.
In addition to writing and directing Arth, a supposedly semi-autobiographical film about his relationship with Parveen Babi, Mahesh Bhatt also wrote and produced Woh Lamhe in 2006. Directed by his nephew Mohit Suri, the film starred Kangana Ranaut and Shiney Ahuja and received a large success. . Earlier in 1993, he had also directed Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayee, a movie starring Pooja Bhatt and Rahul Roy for Zee TV.