Right from her first film, 'Dil Deke Dekho' Asha Parekh swayed into the hearts of the audience. Known for her enigmatic acting and brilliant dancing skills. the actress never failed to make everyone skip a heartbeat everytime she appeared on the big screen. She was hailed as the 'Hit' girl of Bollywood because of her successful film career which includes films like Dil Deke Dekho, Jab Pyaar Kisse Hota Hain, Teesri Manzil, Love In Tokyo, Kanyadaan, Kati Patang, Caravan, Main Tulsi Tere Angan Ki and many others. She was one of the actresses who represented fun and froth on screen like no other.
As Asha Parekh turns 76 today, we rewind back to have a quick glimpse into her life-
Asha Parekh began her career as a child artist under the screen name Baby Asha Parekh. At the age of 10, Bimal Roy saw her dance at a stage function and cast her in Maa (1952) and Baap Beti (1954).
A Star Was Born
Asha Parekh had said in an interview, "I was rejected by Vijay Bhatt for Goonj Uthi Shehnai. It was a big jolt for me but within a week Shashadhar Mukherjee called me and advised me to attend the classes in his acting school. I joined but I was not very interested. So I would bunk classes. Eventually, he took my screen test and Nasir Husain saw that test. They already had Shammi Kapoor's dates. The choice had to be between me and Sadhana. As Sadhana didn't turn up I got into Dil Deke Dekho."
A Dancing Diva
Trained in dance forms like Kathak and Bharatanatyam, Parekh had said, "With my dance troupe, I covered the whole world . I did 500 shows of Chaula Devi and 700 shows of Anarkali. I never mixed the filmy style with classical arts and kept my stage performances pure and it was appreciated."
Asha Gets Candid
Speaking about the craze of losing weight among actress today, Asha Parekh recalled a funny incidence in her autobiography, "I had to wear a cowboy attire and tuck my shirt in for the song Aap se miliye in Pyar Ka Mausam. As you know, I'm heavy from below. I've got big hips! So, I consulted Dr Jassawalla. I lost about 15 kilos with his recommended diet and massages. I'd visit him at 6 am everyday and from there go to the set. As I was asked to eat very little, I'd get cranky. Nasir saab would joke, "Issko roti dikha do! Yeh theek ho jaayegi!""
On Shammi Kapoor- Her Lucky Mascot
Asha recalled, "Since I did my first film with Shammi Kapoor ji, he is my favourite. I was very shy to face the camera. In my first few shots with Shammi chacha, I was very nervous. He was very patient with me and guided me in every shot. He especially taught me how to lip sync and emote in the songs. It wasn't difficult for us to act, I used to call him chacha outside the film and when we were shooting, we were professionals actors. So nothing bothered us."
She further added, "Geetaji (Bali, his late wife and actor) used to be around on the sets of Dil Deke Dekho. She'd do my make-up when my make-up man didn't arrive. She'd pick me up, put me around her shoulders and move around as I was quite young. She'd tell Shammiji, ‘Let's adopt her!' Since then I began calling them chacha and chachi. Today I call Neelaji (Shammi's second wife) chachi."
On Nasir Hussain- The Only Man Who She Loved In Her Life
In her autobiography, Asha confessed, "Yes, Nasir Saab was the only man I ever loved. It would've been worthless to write an autobiography if I didn't write about the people who mattered in my life."
On being asked why she did not marry him when she loved him so much, she replied, "I was never a home breaker. There was never any ill will between me and Nasir Saab's family. In fact, I was so happy to see Nusrat (Hussain's daughter) and Imran Khan (grandson) at my book launch. I feel I've lived my life decently and without hurting anyone."