Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur has announced that the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke award for 2020 will be conferred upon one of the all-time greats in Bollywoood – Asha Parekh. The Phalke award is the highest recognition in the field of Indian cinema. Southern superstar Rajnikanth has conferred the award for the year 2019.
Setting a remarkable template on how to age gracefully along with her close friends Waheeda Rehman and Helen, 79-year-old Asha Parekh was a hugely successful female lead who paired with almost all the major stars of her time to enthrall the audience with unforgettable cinematic performances.
Originally from Mahuva, near Bhavnagar in Gujarat, Asha Parekh is an accomplished dancer. Having started off as a child artiste under the screen name Baby Asha was cast by none other than Bimal Roy in Maa (1952) and Baap Beti (1954) after watching the 10-year-old Asha dancing in a show.
She got her first major break with Dil Deke Dekho (1959) starring opposite Shammi Kapoor. The film was directed by Nasir Hussain, uncle of superstar Amir Khan, who would have a close association with Asha Parekh till his death. Asha Parekh never married.
A huge influence on Indian pop culture, Asha Parekh was bestowed upon the Padma Shri n 1992 for her services to cinema. She was one of the most influential actors in the history of Hindi films of her time. Her career peaked in the 1960s and 1970s.
Asha shined in Nasir Hussain’s direction in particular. 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) are a few examples.
Her other mega hits which etched her place forever in cinemagoers’ minds were Raj Khosla’s Do Badan (1966), Chirag (1969) and Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki (1978), and Shakti Samanta’s Kati Patang.
Her onscreen pairing with Shammi Kapoor, Joy Mukherjee, Dev Anand, Jeetendra and Rajesh Khanna, all big stars was immensely popular. She is part of some of the most iconic Hindi film songs that have achieved immortal status with it’s timeless appeal.
Asha Parekh worked in Gujarati, Punjabi, and Kannada films also. In the later part of her career, she switched to ‘character roles’ and excelled there too. She became an entrepreneur and produced television programmes.
Previous recipients of the Dadasaheb Phalke Award include Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, Yash Chopra, Lata Mangeshkar, Mrinal Sen, and Amitabh Bachchan.