Asha Parekh, an alumnus of Bombay's The J.B. Petit Girls' High School. devoted after-school hours to learning classical dance from exacting gurus. Given a break as a leading lady by Filmalaya Studio's Sashadhar Mukherjee, she debuted opposite Shammi Kapoor in the entertainer Dil Deke Dekho
Instantaneously, the audience and the critics agreed, "A star is born."
Followed a concatenation of silver and golden jubilee hits, which established her as the quintessential "Hit Girl".
Her innumerable dance ballets on stage have earned her incalculable acclaim, at home and overseas.
Among her other facets, she has been involved since decades in running a charitable hospital.
She was Chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification (1998 2001) and has been associated with the Cinc and TV Artistes' Associations and other organisations dedicated to the welfare of film industry workers, technicians and actors.
She turned producer and director with
several top TRP-rated TV serials like
Kora Kagaz and Palash ke Phool.
Currently she has chosen to retire from
acting, but adds, "Never say never."
She lives by the famed Juhu shoreline
During his stint as film critic and media editor of The Times of India, and Filmfare editor, Khalid Mohamed would frequently interview Asha Parekh, queen of the marquee who had captured the public imagination right from the black-and-white movies to the colourful holiday-mood entertainers.
A single question, "So why haven't you attempted an autobiography yet?" led to Asha Parekh: The Hit Girl packed with rare pictures, memorabilia and candid speak.
They don't make them like her any more. Perhaps that is stating the obvious but my generation and the later ones have missed out on the great era of our movies when stories of innocence and grace ruled the screen, when boy-met-girl stories were wonderful, feel-good entertainers. No compromises, no need for self-publicity 24x7, no catering to a single screen or a multiplex audience.
In fact Asha Parekh, Ashaji, represented the swinging era of the 1960s. An all-rounder, she was especially good at dance numbers, had a flair for comedy, emoted simply and effortlessly. Even if situations in the screenplay were incredible, she made them credible by never going over the top. She was the darling not only of the audience but also of film producers and directors who would rush to sign her on for a movie since she guaranteed box-office success.
My dad, Salim Khan, remembers that a film would be snapped up by the distributors and exhibitors if Ashaji was the heroine. Newcomers as well as the leading music directors of the time would be inspired to compose some of their best songs for her. She did justice to the songs by performing them with amazing ease, whether the number was purely Indian or westernised in its rhythm.
Thanks to re-runs of her movies at cinema halls and on television channels as well as prints available on DVDs, it has been possible for someone like me to become familiar with the Asha Parekh magic. Right from her first film as a heroine, Dil Deke Dekho to scores of blockbusters-my favourites are Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai, Teesri Manzil, Mera Gaon Mera Desh, Kati Patang and Caravan-she had tremendous screen chemistry, particularly with her leading men Shammi Kapoor, Dev Anand and Rajesh Khanna.
Book's Contents and Sample Pages
North Indian Music (289)
Original Texts (60)
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