, Maharashtra, India
Asha Parekh is a Bollywood actress, director and producer. She was one of the top stars in Hindi films from 1959 to 1973 and is said to have starred in more hit films than any other actress.
Parekh started her career as a child artist under the screen name Baby Asha Parekh in the film `Aasmaan` (1952). Famed film director Bimal Roy saw her dance at a stage function and cast her at the tender age of twelve in `Baap Beti` (1954). The film's failure disappointed her and even though she did a couple of more child roles, she quit to resume her schooling. At sixteen, she decided to try acting again and make her debut as a heroine. Film producer, Subodh Mukherjee, and writer-director, Nasir Hussain, cast her as the heroine in `Dil Deke Dekho` (1959) alongside Shammi Kapoor, making her an instant star. The film also led to a long and fruitful association with Hussain. He went on to cast her as the heroine in six more of his films: `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). She also did a cameo role for his film `Manzil Manzil` (1984). He got her involved in the distribution of films for 21 years, starting with `Baharon Ke Sapne` (1967).
She was primarily known as a glamour girl/excellent dancer/tomboy in most of her films, until director Raj Khosla gave her a serious image by casting her in tragedienne roles in three of her favorite films: `Do Badan` (1966), `Chirag` (1969), and `Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki` (1978). Director Shakti Samanta gave her more dramatic roles in her other favorite films, `Pagla Kahin Ka` (1970) and `Kati Patang` (1970), the latter earned her the Filmfare Best Actress Award. Many important directors repeated her several times in their films, such as Vijay Anand, Mohan Segal and J.P. Dutta.
Asha Parekh was born into a middle-class Gujarati household on 2nd October, 1942 in Maharashtra, India to a Jain father and Muslim mother. Her religious upbringing involved worshipping Sai Baba. Her mother enrolled her in Indian classical dance classes at an early age.