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On Dancing Safari: Famous Indian actress Asha Parekh in Nairobi | Coastweek

NAIROBI -- FLASHBACK: Swami Anand Kul Bhushan interviews Famous Indian actress Asha Parekh in Nairobi at the start of her publicity visit to Kenya in 1972. ALL PHOTOS - NATWAR CHUDASAMA


On Dancing Safari: Famous Indian actress Asha Parekh in Nairobi

NEW DELHI India -- "How do we get good publicity for Asha Parekh when she lands in Nairobi?" The promoter who sponsored the trip of the famous Indian actress in 1972 wanted to know from me, writes Swami Anand Kul Bhushan.

Indian stars were coming to Kenya regularly for promoting their movies or on holiday, so a novel idea was needed to make an impact.

Later, I rang him to suggest that Asha Parekh and her dance guru, Gopi Krishna, should evoke Kenya’s famous dancers of the Maasai tribe on arrival.

Greet them with Maasai dancers at Nairobi airport. Not possible.

Then, present Asha with an elaborate Masai necklace and Gopi with a Maasai spear and shield.

This worked brilliantly.

The newspapers splashed their photos and interviews.

Asha’s dance ballets were hugely popular with ‘House Full’ audiences.

Meeting her several times, I found her to be a pleasant and simple person who loved life and her work. Towards the end of her dancing safari, she needed to make news and so I suggested a trip to the Animal Orphanage at the Nairobi National Park.

On Dancing Safari: Famous Indian actress Asha Parekh in Nairobi | Coastweek
NAIROBI -- After Asha was presented with an elaborate Maasai necklace and and her dance guru Gopi Krishna with a Maasai spear, the top draw Bollywood stars visited  the Animal Orphanage at the Nairobi National Park. ALL PHOTOS - NATWAR CHUDASAMA
Thrilled to see and touch young animals, Asha provided scintillating photos for my friend and photographer, Natwar Chudasama.

Lapped by the media, these photos were not only published in the Kenyan press but also in the Indian cinema media.

How do you feel n you are dancing?

"I am lost in dance, I am not there, I do not get tired," she replied.

This reminded me about Osho’s insight:

"This whole existence becomes a sheer dance, a sheer celebration.

"Dancing is not just a movement.

"When a movement becomes ecstatic then it is dance.

"When the movement is so total that there is no ego, then it is a dance."

Osho goes on:

"When you dance, you become a whirlwind and by and by, you are completely lost in your dancing, it happens - something breaks down inside you, the barriers are lost - you become one unity.

"A great orgasm spreads all over your being.

"You are in tune with existence in those moments."

Blooming with energy, Asha was at the peak of her youth and beauty and also her films were box office hits starting with

Dil Deke Dekho (1959) which made her a huge star.

Shammi Kapoor became her favorite hero and friend, and they starred in three more films, the most famous being the murder mystery Teesri Manzil (1966).

Raj Khosla cast her in the tragedienne role in the hit film Do Badan (1966).

She won the Gujarat State Award for Best Actress for her first Gujarati film Akhand Saubhagyavati (1963).

Her leading man Manoj Kumar soon directed and starred opposite her in his blockbuster Upkar (1967), which also won the Filmfare Best Picture Award.

With her non-stop box office hits, Asha earned the title "Jubilee Girl" because of blockbusters like Ziddi (1964), Shikar (1968), Aan Milo Sajna (1970) and Mera Gaon Mera Desh (1971).

One of her most memorable movies was Kati Patang (1970) in which played a young widow dressed in white hiding her emotions until they are unleashed by Rajesh Khanna.

Asha won the coveted Best Actress Filmfare Award for her role and a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002.

She did not marry but in her 2017 memoir "My Memoirs The Hit Girl" (co-written by Khalid Mohamed) she confirmed that her longtime director Nasir Hussain was the "only one and true love of my life".

As the only child of a Hindi father and Muslim mother, she was doted and learnt dancing from an early age making her film debut at the age of ten.

At sixteen, she entered films to start her career.

This year she celebrated her 75th birthday on 2 October along with Mahatma Gandhi.

"Every birthday if mine is a dry day," she told IANS news agency.

"So my friends never get to toast my health with a glass of wine…aah, never mind, I am happy to be alive, well, healthy and not pushed into oblivion, as many of my colleagues are."



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