RESPLENDENT in a bright pink and embellished saree, Asha Parekh looked every bit of the star she was and still is, as she walked in grace and beauty, unruffled by fans and photographers who surrounded her, as she visted the Tagore Theatre for ‘Sureela Safar’, an evening of Hindi songs, mostly chosen from her timeless films. One of the most versatile actors of Hindi cinema, Parekh is known for her powerful roles in films like Teesri Manzil, Mere Sanam, Do Badan, Kati Patang, Ziddi, Dil Deke Dekho, Love in Tokyo.and her dancing prowess, apart from the several hit songs filmed on her. As part of ‘Sureela Safar’, organised by Basant Girija Shree Society, Parekh lend an ear to several songs sung by singers from in and around the city, with school students also performing dance sequences on stage.
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For many in the audience, the evening brought back many memories of the golden era of Hindi film music, as more than 40 participants, with a live orchestra crooned ‘O mere sona re’, Jaiye aap kahan jaayenge, Aaja piya tohe pyaar doon, Na koi umang hai, Suno sajna, Ab aan milon sajna, achcha to hum chalte hain, mere desh ki dharti.A short film on the actor was also screened as part of the evening. “We grew up listening to her songs, and now to see her live is a dream come true. There was so much grace and meaning in the lyrics of the films of the 1960s and 1970s, and that’s why even today they are new and appreciated by today’s generation,” said Raj Kanwar, a retired government school teacher. Kanchan Jai, another fan of Parekh, who also loves to sing, listed her favourite song as ‘Oh mere sona re’ and hummed it out loud in the foyer of Tagore.
For Parekh too, the evening was a walk down the memory lane, as she appreciated the spirit of the programme, which was dedicated to create awareness against drugs and alcohol abuse especially amongst the youth. “Today’s films are technically more superior, but the music, lyrics, dance in the films of yesteryears had more substance. Many musical instruments, dance forms and real forms of art were an integral part of films, but we are seeing less of these at present,” says Parekh, whose career of 50 years has seen her being part of films, classical dance, ding a distribution business and directing and producing television shows, apart from being the chairperson of the Censor Board. As music filled the evening, Parekh picked one of her many favourites, ‘Lo Aa Gayee Unki Yaad’ from the film ‘Do Badan’. Belief in herself and her art gives her strength and motivation to look ahead and be involved in different fields of work, including social work, says Parekh. One project that remains close to her heart is the Asha Parekh Hospital, which serves people from many sections of society, and the actor says that as a child, she wanted to be a doctor, and this is her way of realising the dream.