Asha Parekh the 7th woman to Receive the Dadasaheb Phalke Award

Asha Parekh received the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award for 2020
Asha Parekh
Asha Parekh

Veteran actor Asha Parekh is the seventh woman out of a total of 52 awardees, to be conferred the country's prestigious film honour, Dadasahab Phalke Award, since its inception in 1969. She is also the second woman after Asha Bhosle, who received the award in 2000. Devika Rani was the first to get it in 1969. The other lucky women were Ruby Myers aka Sulochana, (1973), Kanan Devi (1976), Durga Khote (1983) and Lata Mangeshkar (1989).

Paresh worked as a child artist since the age of 10. After being rejected for Vijay Bhatt's Goonj Uthi Shehnai (1959), she rose to fame with Dil Deke Dekho (1959), which was among the first of Shammi Kapoor from his swinging era. Parekh was then cast by film-maker Nasir Hussain in six successful films across the next decade, from Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai (1961) to Caravan (1971).

Parekh is remembered for her onscreen chemistry with Kapoor, particularly in Teesri Manzil (1966), and songs like ‘Aaja aaja, main hoon pyar tera’ or ‘O Haseena zulfonwali jaan-e-jahan’, the heartfelt request in ‘O Mere Sona Re’, or the smouldering emotional intensity on both sides of ‘Tumne mujhe dekha hokar meherbaan. Her charisma with Dev Anand in Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai (1961). Not to forget Parekh donning the geisha costume in Love in Tokyo (1966) singing the soulful ‘Jab Chali Thandi Hawa’ in Do Badan (1966), Pyar Ka Mausam (1969) with Shashi Kapoor.

Some of Parekh's most memorable performances with Rajesh Khanna, in Baharon Ke Sapne (1967), and more particularly, Kati Patang (1970), iconic songs like ‘Yeh Shaam Mastani’, ‘Pyar Deewana Hota Hai’ and ‘Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai’ capture Rajesh Khanna in an ebullient mood, but Parekh's ‘Na Koi Umang Hai’ is an apt portrayal of her character's plight. Towards the end of the 70s, she was offered character roles, she played Amitabh Bachchan’s sister-in-law in Kaalia (1981) and eventually moved to become a TV producer in the mid-1990s with the popular daily soap Kora Kaagaz.

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