Asha Parekh, dance was her first love. And it was through dance
that she got her first film assignment both as a child artist
and later on as lead actress. Asha was born in a middle class
family. Her father was a Gujarati and her mother, a Muslim.
Her mother was her inspiration and Asha was motivated to be
a dancer right from her childhood days.
while Asha was dancing on stage, veteran director Bimal Roy
saw her performance and liked it very much. He offered her a
child's role in his Baap Beti (1954). She did a few films as
a child actor, including Dhobi Doctor and Ayodhyapati. The renowned
director of yesteryears, Vijay Bhatt offered Asha a leading
role in his film, Gunj Uthi Shehnai. Asha was barely sixteen
years of age at that time. But later she was thrown out of the
cast because the producer was of the view that she wasn't a
star material. Asha was very disappointed and she went abroad
on a world tour with her dance troupe.
within months, Sashadhar Mukherji cast her in Dil Deke Dekho
(1959). This youth-oriented Nasir Hussain musical was a smash
hit and 17-year-old Asha became a star. She was soon cast opposite
Dev Anand (Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai), Rajendra Kumar (Gharana)
and Joy Mukherji (Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon). With Ziddi (1964)
Asha established herself as a powerful actress. Asha played
a characteristic no-nonsense tomboy who cavorts around with
a cute baby elephant for company. She surprised many in her
emotional scenes, which captured her painful passage to adulthood.
year 1966 was a super-hit year for her since Asha gave four
successful films: Vijay Anand's suspenseful musical Teesri Manzil,
Love In Tokyo gave her a chance to dance and emote in picturesque
Japan, Aaye Din Bahaar Ke with Dharmendra and Raj Khosla's rather
maudlin Do Badan offered her the opportunity to play tragedienne.
After Do Badan Asha started getting more meaningful, author-backed
roles and did movies with Kanyadan, Chiraag, Pagla Kahin Ka,
Kati Patang and Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki. Almost all of these
films did a remarkable job at the box office and got critics'
appreciation as well, excepting Raj Khosla's Chiraag opposite
Sunil Dutt. The film did not raise the spirits of the audience
and led her to disappointment.
finally got the much coveted Best Actress Award in Kati Patang
(1970). Kati Patang was followed by hits like Aan Milo Sajna,
Nasir Hussain's Caravan and Raj Khosla's Mera Gaon Mera Desh
in the early seventies. At the peak of her career Asha cut down
on her work and went on an extended trip abroad for her dance
shows. When she returned in 1973, her career had lost its early
heat. She basically focused on her dance troupe.
Raj Khosla offered her Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki, Asha's film
career was almost over as a leading actress. Nevertheless she
agreed to do it along with the renowned late actress Nutan.
The film was a major success and it also fetched Nutan the Best
actress Award. She decided to retire and started focusing on
her dance troupe. Asha concentrated on charity work and opened
a hospital for poor and needy at Santa Cruz (Bombay). Asha also
set up a dance academy, Kala Bhavan, where the students learn
various dance forms. She has also been the chairperson of the
Film Censor Board and the president of the Cine Artistes' Association.