Asha Parekh: A Glorious Journey From ‘Baby’ To ‘Dada’

Veteran Bollywood actress-director-producer Asha Parekh will soon be felicitated with the Lifetime Achievement honour for her marvellous contribution to cinema at this years Dadasaheb Phalke Awards by President Droupadi Murmu.

Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Singh Thakur tweeted, “Honoured to announce that the Dadasaheb Phalke Selection Jury has decided to recognise & award Asha Parekh ji for her exemplary lifetime contribution to Indian Cinema”.

The Dadasaheb Phalke Award shall be presented by the Hon President of India at 68th NFA in Vigyan Bhawan.”

In a career spanning almost 5 decades, Asha Parekh started her journey as a child artist at the age of 10 with the film Maa’ under the screen name Baby Asha Parekh. The social family drama was directed by Bimal Roy for Bombay Talkies. He was asked to come to Bombay from Kolkata to direct the film for the studio, which was going through bad times.

Bimal Roy saw Asha dance at a stage function and cast her in the film and then repeated her in Baap Beti’. The latter film’s failure disappointed her, and even though she did a few more child roles, she quit to resume her schooling.

At the age of sixteen, she again tried her hand at acting. She tried to make her debut as a heroine, but she was rejected from Vijay Bhatt’s Goonj Uthi Shehnai’ because the filmmaker claimed she was not star material.

Later, film producer Subodh Mukherjee and writer-director Nasir Hussain (Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan’s uncle) cast her as the heroine in Dil Deke Dekho’, opposite Shammi Kapoor, which made her a huge star. The film also led to a long standing association between Asha and Nasir. The two even were rumored to be dating, something that was confirmed by the actress herself in her memoir, The Hit Girl’.

In 1992, she was honoured with the Padma Shri for her contribution to cinema. Three years later, Asha featured in Andolan’ and subsequently hung up her boots after her cameo appearance in the 1999 film Sar Aankhon Par’.