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‘Hit Girl’ Asha Parekh charms literati with her frankness

1959 ‘Dil Deke Dekho’ star who was the glamour girl of the Sixties and Seventies comes out to tell her story.

books Updated: Oct 09, 2017 13:07 IST
Nirupama Dutt
Nirupama Dutt
Hindustan Times, Kasauli
Hit Girl,Asha Parekh,Dil Deke Dekho
Veteran actor Asha Parekh during a session on the third day of Khushwant Singh Literature Festival in Kasauli. (HT Photo)

Asha Parekh, the glamour queen of the Sixties and Seventies, wowed the audiences with her candid charm at the Khushwant Singh Literary Festival late evening on Saturday. Speaking at a well-attended session to discuss her autobiography, she said with grace: “The only man I ever loved was my mentor Nasir Hussain but it ended because I was not cut out to be the other woman”.

Her book ‘The Hit Girl’, written with the famous cine-writer Khalid Mohammed, has been received with much for its sheer sincerity as the actor says, “Why write an autobiography if you wish to hide your life?” The story of how the book was written is interesting. Khalid says in his obituary to Sadhana three years ago in the ‘Mumbai Mirror’ he mentioned that Sadhana, Asha Parekh and Saira Bano had ruled over the Sixties giving a new bouffant persona to the Hindi film heroines. Khalid recalls, “I had been in touch with Asha Parekh but after reading the obit to her friend, she called me. We talked and I asked her that why had she not written her autobiography?” Asha’s straightforward reply was, “No one has asked me!” Khalid’s reply was, “I am asking you now.”

“The only man I ever loved was my mentor Nasir Hussain but it ended because I was not cut out to be the other woman.”

The book that was launched in mid-May has been the centre of many events all over the country and also New York. Khalid says that there is nothing complicated about the star, with an ardent fan following still, and he had no difficulty in working with her. “Just look at her face and it is just as innocent as it was when she made a grand debut at 17 in ‘Dil Deke Dekho’.

There was no looking back Asha after she came as the impish Nita in capri trousers and collared shirt leading a band of trendily clad girls singing to Shammi Kapoor ‘chacha’ (as she calls him) ‘Meri jaan wah wah wah!’. It was also the beginning of a long association with director Nasir Hussain and together they gave super hits like Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai (1961), ‘Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon’ (1963), ‘Teesri Manzil’ (1966), ‘Pyar ka Mausan’ (1969), ‘Caravan’ (1971) and an offbeat film ‘Baharon Ke Sapne’ (1967).

This child, of a Hindu Gujarati father and a Bohra Muslim mother, moves on in life trying to revive a charitable hospitable that she has set up long ago, telling her story and meeting friends like Waheeda Rehman and Helen. “It is her goodwill in the film industry that who’s who of cinema was present her book launch in Delhi from Waheeda Rehman, Dharmendra and Helen of her times to younger actors like Salman Khan and Aamir Khaan”.

In less than six months the book has gone into its second edition and Asha says, “I am grateful to all the people who supported me in the film industry and my fans to keep showing their interest in my work and life”.

First Published: Oct 09, 2017 13:05 IST