Veteran actress Asha Parekh says Union Minister Nitin Gadkari’s remark that she “chased” him for the Padma Bhushan was hurtful.
The Minister for Road Transport and Highways had last year said Parekh approached him seeking recommendation for the prestigious award.
The 74-year-old actress says Gadkari’s comment wasn’t right.
“It did hurt me. It was not the right thing for him to do. But I took it with a pinch of salt. It didn’t matter to me… Controversies are a part of the film industry,” Parekh told PTI.
The Padma Bhushan is the third highest civilian award after the Bharat Ratna and the Padma Vibhushan.
Gadkari claimed that Parekh had told him that she was entitled for the Padma Bhushan due to her massive contribution to the Indian film industry.
Parekh was honoured with Padma Shri in 1992 and with a Lifetime Achievement award in 2014. She was one of the top stars in Hindi films from 1959 to 1973 and had worked with all top heroes of her time including Shammi Kapoor, Rajendra Kumar, Rajesh Khanna.
Parekh is awaiting the release of her autobiography, “The Hit Girl”, penned by film critic Khalid Mohamed.
“I want people to read the book. I also want to focus on my hospital, so I am a little stressed about that. I am more concerned about the hospital,” she says.
Parekh was one of the top stars in the industry from 1959 to 1973. She worked with all the top heroes of her time including Shammi Kapoor, Dev Anand, Rajendra Kumar, Rajesh Khanna and others.
It wasn’t the highs and lows of the film business that unsettled the 74-year-old actress but the death of her parents, which pushed her into a dark zone.
“It was a very bad phase for me. I lost my parents. I was totally alone and I had to manage everything all alone. It did put me in depression. I was feeling miserable and had these (suicidal) thoughts. Then I got out of it. It is a struggle, I had to take aid of the doctors to get out of it,” Parekh told PTI in an interview.
She says sometimes an actor may have all the love of fans but still feel lonely.
“It is lonesome. On the top you are always lonely. I was very lucky I had lovely parents with me. My mother was the backbone of my career, my life. So after losing her, I got into depression. It’s a huge relief that the phase is over.”
Parekh started her career as a child artist in the 1952 “Aasmaan” and went on to act in Bimal Roy’s “Baap Beti” two years later.
At the age of sixteen, Parekh came close to bagging a film but was rejected for the role which ultimately was played by Asmeeta.
Things took a turn when producer Subodh Mukherjee and writer-director Nasir Hussain cast her as the heroine opposite Shammi Kapoor in “Dil Deke Dekho”.
“That phase (60s) was not difficult because my parents kept me rooted. I never realised there were so many hits coming one after another. I was very happy that all my films did well.
I realised I was a ‘star’ when my first film ‘Dil Deke Dekho’ was released after being rejected before. It was a very big thing for me,” she says.
The actress then went on to star in the biggest hits like “Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai”, “Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon” “Teesri Manzil”, “Baharon Ke Sapne”, “Pyar Ka Mausam”, “Kati Patang” and “Caravan”.
Parekh is currently awaiting the release of her autobiography, “The Hit Girl”, co-written by film critic Khalid Mohamed..