From evergreen Dev Anand to superstar Rajesh Khanna, Asha Parekh has worked with most leading stars of Indian cinema except Dilip Kumar and the 71-year-old veteran actress confesses that she is still waiting to work with the thespian.
She got great opportunities to work with Shammi Kapoor in hits Dil Deke Dekho and Teesri Manzil, Dev Anand in Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai and Rajesh Khanna in Aan Milo Sajna and Kati Patang, but never got a chance to share the screen with Kumar.
Sharing her experience, the star of the 1960s and 1970s said in an interview: “I really want to work with Yousuf saab [Kumar]. It’s still a wish and I am still waiting to work with him.”
Although Kumar, 90, retired from acting after Qila in 1998, Parekh is still hopeful.
“If I get an opportunity, I would just run and do that project. This is one thing I am looking forward to,” said the Padma Shri winner.
There were reports that Kumar and Parekh never came together on the screen because of the animosity between them, but the actress rubbishes it as a figment of a journalist’s imagination.
She said: “There was no animosity. It was a mistake by the journalist who just cooked up the story. I was very angry with him for cooking up stories and spoiling our relationship. I have a very, very good relationship with Yousuf saab and [his wife] Saira Banu. I was terribly hurt by that report.”
One of the best dancers of her era, Parekh is happy with the changes in Bollywood, but doesn’t appreciate the growing trend of item numbers.
“I don’t like item numbers, but people like it and so I can’t say anything. I would hope the folk dances comes back in our films,” she said.
She agrees that one thing that hasn’t changed is the disparity between the remuneration of a lead actor and actress.
“It is very sad, but it was the same during our time also,” she said.
What also disappoints her is that actresses don’t have enough options in terms of acting as compared to male actors.
She said: “That’s a very sorry state of a film. You can’t do anything about it.”
Enjoying her retirement, Parekh has no plans to make a comeback.
“No plans at all for a comeback. I have worked a lot, I have done stage, films, and serials — everything. I don’t have anything else to do,” said Parekh whose last film was Muthi Bhar Zameen.
Television doesn’t attract the actress either. She had produced successful show Kora Kagaz for the small screen, but said: “These days there is no creativity. These days serials have become very regressive. It is very sad.”
Revealing her daily routine, she said: “I get up early in the morning, I do my pooja. I go for a hospital round. At times we — Waheeda Rehman, Sadhna, and Shammiji — go for lunch or dinner. So these things keep me busy.
“I will feel really good if you ask me what you want to be in your next birth, I would only say I want to be Asha Parekh again.”