Rare vintage photos of legendary Indian actor Asha Parekh
Asha Parekh is an Indian film actress, director, and producer who appeared in many commercially successful films throughout her career. She was the highest paid actress of her time and was one of the most successful actresses of the 1960s and 1970s.
Asha Parekh Biography
Asha Parekh (born 2 October 1942) is an Indian film actress, director, and producer who appeared in many commercially successful films throughout her career. She was the highest paid actress of her time and was one of the most successful actresses of the 1960s and 1970s. She is considered one of the most influential actresses of all time in Hindi cinema. In 1992, she was honoured with the Padma Shri by the Government of India for her contribution to the field of cinema.
Asha Parekh is a Gujarati born on 2 October 1942. Her mother, Sudha aka Salma Parekh, was a Bohri Muslim and her father, Bachubhai Parekh, was Hindu Gujarati. Her mother enrolled her in Indian classical dance classes at an early age and she learned from many teachers, including Pandit Bansilal Bharati.
Parekh started her career as a child artist under the screen name Baby Asha Parekh. Famed film director Bimal Roy saw her dance at a stage function and cast her at the age of ten in Maa (1952 film) and then repeated her in Baap Beti (1954). The latter film's failure disappointed her, and even though she did a few more child roles, she quit to resume her schooling. At sixteen she decided to try acting again, and to make her debut as a heroine, but she was rejected from Vijay Bhatt's Goonj Uthi Shehnai (1959) in favour of actress Ameeta, because the filmmaker claimed she was not star material. Precisely eight days later, film producer Subodh Mukherjee and writer-director Nasir Hussain cast her as the heroine in Dil Deke Dekho (1959), opposite Shammi Kapoor, which made her a huge star. It also started a long association with Hussain who cast her as his heroine in six more films: Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai (1961), Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon (1963), Teesri Manzil (1966), Baharon Ke Sapne (1967), Pyar Ka Mausam (1969), and Caravan (1971). She also did a cameo in Nasir Hussain's film Manzil Manzil (1984) with whom she had earlier done 6 films. Hussain also got her involved in distribution of 21 films, starting with Baharon Ke Sapne (1967). Parekh was primarily known as a glamour girl/excellent dancer/tomboy in most of her films, until director Raj Khosla gave her a serious image by casting her in tragedienne roles in three of her favourite films; Do Badan (1966), Chirag (1969) and Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki (1978). Director Shakti Samanta gave her more dramatic roles in her other favourite films, Pagla Kahin Ka (1970) and Kati Patang (1970); the latter earned her the Filmfare Best Actress Award. Many important directors repeatedly cast her in several of their films, including Vijay Anand and Mohan Segal. Parekh acted in her mother tongue by starring in three Gujarati films at the height of her fame in Hindi films, the first being Akhand Saubhagyavati (1963), which became a huge hit. She also acted in some Punjabi films, such as Kankan De Ohle (1971) opposite Dharmendra and Lambhardarni (1976) with Dara Singh, as well as the hit Kannada film Sharavegada Saradara (1989). After her days as a leading lady ended, Parekh took on supporting roles as bhabhi (sister-in-law) and mother, but she called this the "awkward phase" of her career. So she stopped acting in films, and her friends recommended that she become a television director. She took their advice and became a television director in the early 1990s with the Gujarati serial Jyoti. She formed a production company, Akruti, and produced serials like Palash ke Phool, Baaje Payal, Kora Kagaz and a comedy, Dal Mein Kaala. She was the president of the Cine Artistes' Association from 1994 to 2000.
Parekh was the first female chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification (Censor Board) of India. She held the post from 1998 to 2001 for which she received no salary, but plenty of controversy for censoring films and for not giving clearance to Shekhar Kapur's Elizabeth. Later, she became the treasurer of the Cine and Television Artists Association (CINTAA) and was later elected as one of its office-bearers. Asha stopped acting in 1995 to pursue directing and producing television serials. Parekh received the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002. She has continued to receive other Lifetime Achievement Awards: the Kalakar Award in 2004; the International Indian Film Academy Awards in 2006; the Pune International Film Festival Award in 2007; and the Ninth Annual Bollywood Award in Long Island, New York in 2007. She received the Living Legend Award from the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
Parekh has remained unmarried, claiming that her reputation of being unapproachable made people hesitate in asking for her hand in marriage. In her memoir "The Hit Girl", she confirmed rumours that she was romantically involved with director Nasir Hussain who was already married, but out of respect for both their families, she couldn't marry him. Previously, Parekh would only state that she had a longtime boyfriend but declined to elaborate on the relationship, only stating that "it was nice while it lasted." She said she had not seen Nasir Hussain during the last year of his life, as he became reclusive because of his wife's death, but she did speak to him the day before he died in 2002. She almost married an Indian professor living in America, but he didn't want to give up his girlfriend, so she called off their wedding plans. She had also tried to adopt a child, but he had birth defects, and the doctors refused to let her adopt him. Today, Parekh concentrates on her dance academy Kara Bhavan and the Asha Parekh Hospital in Santa Cruz, Mumbai, named in her honour because of her many humanitarian contributions.