The highest-paid female actor of the 60s, Asha Parekh is certainly one of Bollywood’s all-time favourite leading ladies. Recently, in an interview with Verve, the Kati Patang star opened up about her single life and the support she has received from her friends Waheeda Rehman, Shammi, Helen and Saira Banu.
Speaking to the magazine, Asha said, “My friends are why I’ve managed to hold on to my sanity and fight bouts of depression. Shammiji (Nargis Rabadi) was always with me before she passed away last year.”
The 77-year-old has travelled extensively with Waheeda and Helen over the years, and has discovered that she has “an adventurous soul and enjoys the adrenaline rush”.
"“Recently, we went to Turkey and did a Scandinavian cruise. Waheeda and I then went to Alaska and Canada, and just a month ago, we went to Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve.”" - Asha Parekh
“You can never completely confide in your mother or a sibling, but close friends will never judge you,” she adds.
She also holds a special bond with Saira Banu and visits her whenever possible since the latter has to stay at home to take care of her husband Dilip Kumar. “Saira (Banu) and I go years without meeting, but then we make sudden plans and catch up on everything,” Asha says.
The actor also admitted that she understood friendship better than love.
"“There was also the case of my heroes Rajesh Khanna and Vinod Khanna getting an earful from their girlfriends during outstation shoots because they were gallivanting and making merry at night instead of being in bed. I would’ve never been able to take someone dictating terms to me — I was just not cut out for it.”" - Asha Parekh
Asha did come close to getting married a professor in the US, but it turned out that the man already had a girlfriend. Asha said that the guy broke the news to her in a cafe one night.
“He turned to me and nonchalantly said, ‘I have a girlfriend and you’ve come in the way’. It completely caught me off guard. In a way, that was the final straw for me in this whole wedding business.”
In her autobiography The Hit Girl, Asha had admitted to being in love with director Nasir Hussain and how she could never bring herself to break his family.
"“As much as I loved him (Nasir Hussain), I could never consider breaking up his family and traumatising his children. It was far simpler and satisfying to be on my own.”" - Asha Parekh
One of Parekh’s biggest regrets though has been the inability to adopt and raise a child. Once she came really close to taking that path but due to some birth defect in the child, she was denied the adoption.
“They asked me to select another child, but my love for this child I didn’t even know was unrelenting and I was adamant about adopting only him.” Later on, as her mother fell sick, taking care of her became her top priority and the thought of starting a family of her own became a distant dream.
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