This famous actress was born on October 2, 1942 to a Hindu father and a Muslim mother. Since she was the only child, she became the apple of her parents eyes. Asha’s mother enrolled her for Indian classical dance classes. She was very good at dancing and started to perform stage shows at an early age.
It was after seeing her stage show that the famous director Bimal Ray casted her in the 1954 film Baap Beti. The film, however, did not do well. Asha still acted in a few more child roles before quitting to resume her studies.
At the age of sixteen, Asha returned to acting. She was all set to make her debut as a heroine in Goonj Uthi Shehnai in 1959. However, the director of the film fired her claiming that she was not star material. This did not stop other producers or directors from casting her in their films. Immediately after being shown the door by director Vijay Bhatt, S Mukherjee and Nasir Hussain cast her in the film Dil Deke Dekho opposite Shammi Kapoor also in 1959. This film was a roaring success and started a long association with Nasir Hussain, while Shammi Kapoor became Asha’s favorite hero and a good friend. Asha and Shammi went on to act in three more films together but their biggest hit was Teesri Manzil in 1966.
Asha was always considered as a glamorous actress but the hit of 1966, Do Badan, a Raj Khosla film changed that perception forever. Many directors were already aware of Asha’s acting talent. They knew she could hold her own against legends like Ashok Kumar or compensate for bad acting from likes of Joy Mukherjee and Biswajit.
With success came controversies. Many of her female co-stars accused Asha of cutting theirs roles in the film. Simi Garewal said that for Do Badan, for which she won the Filmfare award for the Best Supporting Actress. Padma Chayya claimed this for the 1971 film Mera Gaon Mera Des and Aruna Irani claimed this for Caravan, another box office hit.
Asha won the Filmfare Award for the Best Actress for her role in Kati Patang as a widow clad in a white sari. As Asha grew older, she had competition from other younger actresses like Hema Malini and Zeenat Aman. She started concentrating on charity work and continued with her first love – dancing. She directed a highly popular television serial in the 90s which convinced her to give up acting completely and concentrate on this. Asha Parekh never married and continued to stay with her parents till they both passed away.