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Veteran actress Asha Parekh receives the Dadasaheb Phalke Award from President Droupadi Murmu during the 68th National Film Awards. Image Credit: ANI

Veteran Bollywood actress Asha Parekh was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award on Friday.

India’s President Draupadi Murmu presented the award to the actor at the 68th National Film Awards in New Delhi.

Parekh expressed gratitude for receiving the award and said, “It is a huge honour to have received Dadasaheb Phalke Award. It makes me very grateful that the recognition comes to me just one day before my 80th birthday.”

Born on October 2, 1942, Parekh is one of the most decorated actors in the country. Considered to be one of the most influential actors of all time in Hindi cinema, Parekh began her career as a child artist under the screen name ‘Baby Asha Parekh’.

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Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar with Asha Parekh. Image Credit: ANI

Parekh made her debut in films as the female lead in the film ‘Dil Deke Dekho’ in 1959 alongside Shammi Kapoor. She was only 16 at the time.

She worked in many hit films after that — ‘Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai’ (1961), ‘Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon’ (1963), ‘Teesri Manzil’ (1966), ‘Baharon Ke Sapne’ (1967), ‘Pyar Ka Mausam’ (1969), and ‘Caravan’ (1971) to name a few, only to be called the ‘Hit Girl’ later.

She also acted in a few Gujarati films out of which ‘Akhand Saubhagyavati’ was a huge hit.

She was also the president of the Cine Artistes’ Association between 1994 and 2000. She was also the first female chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification. Her tenure was between 1998 and 2001.

Parekh stopped acting in 1995 and later made a shift to directing and producing television serials. In the year 2002, she received the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award.

She was honoured with the Padma Shri in 1992.