Thursday, October 21, 2021

Interview : Asha Parekh

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Asha Parekh dominated the Indian screen between 1959 to 1973, having given the maximum number of box office hits in comparison to all her contemporaries. Our correspondent in conversation with the Jubilee Girl, who recently celebrated her 68th birthday

How do you feel after completing over 50 years in the Hindi film industry?
It feels great! I am honoured to be a part of the Indian film industry and want to remain a part of it till the end of my life.

You are one actress who worked with all the big names in your era…
What can I say, except that I am really fortunate to have worked with all good-looking and talented heroes of our times!

Anyone particular whom you preferred over other leading men?
Trust me; all my co-stars were exceptionally nice people…very warm and helpful. However, it was always fun to work with Shammi chacha (Shammi Kapoor). Another co-actor, I really look up to even today, is Devsaab (Dev Anand). He is a very good soul…and very witty. I get energized whenever I see him. By seeing him work so hard even today, I realize that I too have so much to do.

Asha Parekh films used to be musically hit as well. Can you pick one film or song as your all-time favourite?
One of my all time favourite song is ‘Aaja Aaja’ from TEESRI MANZIL. I still remember that when the song was being picturised, I was suffering from some severe kind of allergy. I had to take an overdose of Avil and similar medicines as I had to shoot the entire song-mukhra, antara, and everything-at a stretch. So, things got really difficult for me.

Your era was also the golden years of Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle songs. Whose song you used to enjoy the most?
I can never compare them (Lata and Asha). As far as my films are concerned, I think Ashaji (Bhosle) has sung maximum songs of mine and I always enjoyed lip-syncing her songs.



You were nicknamed Jubilee Girl for delivering maximum hits in your career; even the films you rejected went on to become superhits. It is said, your contemporaries waited for you to reject a film, so that they can pick it up. True?
(Laughs) I really don’t know that! I am sure, these stories are not true. As for my films becoming box office hits, I was, am and will always remain indebted to my audience for appreciating my work.

What do you have to say about the present generation of actors?
All the boys are doing well. Aamir (Khan), Shah Rukh (Khan), Saif (Ali Khan)….they are really doing a fine job. As for girl, I like Kajol, Katrina (Kaif), Kareena (Kapoor)…they are all very good.

How do you think the image of ‘heroine’ has changed in Bollywood compared to your time?
Well, today’s heroines are getting good, meaningful roles and they are making a mark in their own way.

When do we see you in a film again?
That God knows. If you ask me, as of now, I don’t want to act in a film again. I have also done a lot of television. Now I have taken a backseat. Right now, I am very busy with my hospital (The Asha Parekh Hospital in Santa Cruz, Mumbai). I am the trustee of the hospital, so I always have to be on my heels to oversee its functioning.

Do you think the Hindi film industry is still male-oriented? While we see 60-year-old actors still playing leading men, their female contemporaries have to either retire or play grandmother in films.
Yes, very much I agree to what you are saying. But times are changing. I am sure very soon there will be good meaty roles for people like us.

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