Asha Parekh recalls working with Rajesh Khanna: Never seen stardom like his!

The only other stardom I’ve seen that can be comparable with Rajesh Khanna’s is that of Dev Anand, says yesteryear’s star Asha Parekh

Asha Parekh recalls working with Rajesh Khanna: Never seen stardom like his!

Subhash K Jha

In  her  30-year career as a leading lady, the legendary Asha Parekh says she has never seen  stardom  like Rajesh Khanna’s.

“When we were shooting for Aan  Milo Sajna (which completed  50 years since release in December) and Kati Patang there  were hundreds  of  girls  mobbing him. We had to cancel the shooting. I first  worked with Rajesh Khanna in his  second  film Baharon Ke Sapne. He  was then an unknown shy actor. Everything changed  in two years. By the  time we worked  together he was  a superstar, like none before  him and  none after. The only other stardom I’ve seen that can be comparable with  Rajesh Khanna’s is Dev Anand’s . Deewane tthe fans Dev Saab ke. When we shot Mahal  together we had to  cancel  many times, the crowds were uncontrollable. They wanted  to  touch him, kiss him hug him…just like they wanted with Rajesh Khanna, ”  recalls Ashaji.

Did Ashaji  see any changes  in Rajesh Khanna?

Changes toh hona hi hai. But he was always sweet and polite with me. There  was no change in  his behavior towards me. In fact I remember  we had  a lot of fun shooting for the song Achcha  toh hum chalte hain in Aan  Milo Sajna. We  had to hurry the  shooting as we had to catch the sunset. In haste Rajesh and I got confused  about the lyrics and began to mime each other’s lines. We had a good laugh over that.”

Achcha  toh hum chalte hain  was one of the biggest hit songs of  both  Rajesh  Khanna and  Asha Parekh’s career.

“We knew  it was a big hit. Both Rajesh Khanna  and J Om Prakash, the producer of  Aan Milo Sajna (whose brother-in-law Jagdish Kumar fronted as the film’s producer) had a terrific music sense. Rajesh Khanna  sang such big hits on screen in Aan Milo Sajna, Kati Patang and many other films.  With J Om Prakash I did three films Aaye Din Bahaar Ke, Aaya Saawan Jhoom Ke and  Aan Milo Sajna. All  three had chartbusting music composed  by Laxmikant-Pyarelal,” recalls  Asha fondly.

Throughout her super-successful career producers  kept repeating Asha Parekh in their projects.  3  films with J Om Prakash, 7 films  with Nasir Hussain….

“That’s because I gave the  hits.  Also because I was professional and I worked hard. I didn’t bring any baggage to the sets. When I look back I see how hard I worked and how  careless I was about keeping good health.  Twice I suffered back injuries  when the same hero (Joy Mukherjee) dropped  me while carrying me in his hands, once during the shooting of Ziddi and once during Love In  Tokyo.  Do I  regret anything? Nothing at  all. It  was  all very fulfilling.”

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