We all have our problems and by god’s grace manage to face them, but what would you do if your problem was a brown eyes innocent-looking young girl of nineteen?

What would you do if this young girl happens to be a film star, star of many silver jubilee hits?

And to top it all how is one to face the problem when it happens to be one’s only daughter?

If you think that the Asha I am talking about is anything like the harmless-looking, mature young lady you see in photographs, you are sadly mistaken.

  • asha with gramophone

Asha is different from other girls of her age. How I wish I faced the usual problems set by teenage daughters!

For example, a young girl wanting to stay late for a party, or longing to use heavy makeup, or wanting to mix with the wrong crowd, or asking for a “hard to get” gift.

But, no Ashi is so different from the modern Miss you come across. she has never been extra fond of fine saries or perfumes.

One has to remind her now and again that there are many brand new saries in her wardrobe that have not seen the light of the day.

When we are going out, it is Ashi who insists on doing my hair, choosing a sari for me, taking out a nice suit for her father.

  • asha portait

This done, she casually powders her face, and after a daub of lipstick she is ready to leave without so much as looking in the mirror but say,” Oh am i not going out with a well-dressed couple?”

My heart aches to comb that mass of brown hair but for the last four years, she has been working without a break.

So her hairdresser manages her hair, doing different styles for different roles.

As the car turns out of the studio gates, Ashi loosens her hair pours oil over it, makes a tight plait and is ready to retire for the night!

But I was very happy one-day last year when Ashi told me to deck her up as I liked for the silver jubilee function of her film “Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai”.

Usha Khanna her best friend who had come to spend the day was accompanying her.

A Sight To Behold

I decorated their hands with mehndi and gave them soft colored saris to wear. I don’t think I have seen Asha look more beautiful than on that evening! but my joy was short-lived.

The party was held in the gardens of the Filmalaya Studio and when everyone was enjoying themselves there was a sudden downpour of rain, the first shower of the monsoon.

Asha was excited for she loves the rain. The guests scurried for shelter into the studio. In the confusion, I had lost track of Asha and her friends.

Looking round, I saw all the other girls were dry, their saries intact, I thought Asha would be all right. Just then I heard a burst of giggling. I looked in that direction.

Asha, Usha, and a couple of their friends entered the room. The girls looked happy being drenched in the June shower was great fun for them.

But all my labour had come to nought. Asha looked a sight, her hair was wet, the kumkum was streaking down her face and had mixed with the lipstick. The sari was ruined.

She has never asked us for a present. She is pleased with whatever gifts we give her but there is no charm in it. It is as uninteresting as buying an article without haggling over the price.

oh yes, I am forgetting. only a few days ago Asha came up to me looking very sweet. She said coaxingly, “You know Mummy, I would like you to give me a fabulous present. Will you give it?”

“What is it?” I asked. “A new pet (she adores pets, dogs especially), a new house, a car?” “no mummy. I would love to have a plane of our own. I would learn to pilot it!

  • asha with her dog

Just imagine me piloting the Parekh high up in the air. See what I mean?” Asha has always loved the unusual. Even as a child, Asha was never fond of dolls or ribbons or the toys children love.

Tiptoeing into the nursery to kiss her “goodnight,” I used to find her fast asleep, a catapult clutched in her hands and the ends of her pillowcase bulging with marbles of all colors and sizes.

She was fond of animal stories, there must be at least a pet in the story, preferably a dog. She would frown at the fairy tale princess because the princess had no pets.

Today Asha is too simple too frank. She is also very loyal to her friends, When sometimes she is critical of anyone, I check her, but I have no answer when she turns round and says, ” I am not talking ill of my friends. Cant, I be critical of those I dislike?”

At times when she sees a young couple taking a stroll after dark, she teases them with a whistle. I only hope this impishness does not land her in any embarrassing situation.

A couple of weeks ago we had been invited to dinner at a friend’s place in Juhu. While we were returning Asha spotted a couple in a car.

Asha’s cousins defied her to worry them. It is a mistake to dare her to do anything. As our car came closer she called out,” Excise me, what is the time?” The couple turned to look as the headlights of our car fell on them.

“Oh, God!” Asha murmured as we sped down the road. “What will they think of me?” She was upset because we knew the occupants of the car.

One has to literally drag her to formal functions. She hates to eat in public, especially in crowded restaurants. I dread to force her for at times she is graceful and charming but when you least expect it she starts acting the clown just to be rid of the boredom.

I feel she is slightly nervous on such occasions and reacts to them in an unpredictable manner. At a party not long ago she mimicked a drunken woman.

She and her friends were in splits of laughter but when they saw the shocked looks on the faces of some of the women they stopped.

A few days later Ashi sobbed bitterly when she heard of the ugly things that were said about her behavior which she meant to be only fun. “You asked for it,” I told her.

Just because I say all this of my daughter I don’t mean she is irresponsible. She is very tender-hearted and takes her career very seriously. A believer in hard work, she gets lost for hours in her dance rehearsals.

But I do miss the typical young girl’s talk you hear in other houses. Ashi never discusses diet, allergies, or saris. I also wish she was not so impulsive!

Recently she has to do a scene with an elephant from the circus for Ziddi. During the lunch break, she got into a jeep and drove off a slope, and as if from nowhere the elephant appeared just ahead. I closed my eyes.

  • asha with elephant

The jeep almost bumped against the elephant but came to a stop. Ashi afterward hugged me her eyes moist with tears. She knew I had gone through hell in those anxious moments.

“I am sorry, Mummy,” she said but please smile. It’s all over now.” You cannot get annoyed with this girl try as you might for in spite of her pranks she is loveable, loving, and obedient.

Though she says it is all over, I know it is not. She is always up to something. “She will change,” says her father. “Wait and see”.

He is too optimistic. A friend suggested a remedy, passing on this adorable problem to an eligible young man. I am giving it serious thought.

Let readers be puzzled by these candid opinions or misunderstand me, I would like to add that if I have to choose a daughter from millions I would choose my Ashi all over again. – Filmfare 1963

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *