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 stardom I’ve seen seem that’d 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 hum…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 Patangand 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.”