Asha Parekh speaks to Subhash K Jha about her new fans in Iraq.
What do you have to say about Dulaimiís willingness to talk peace with you?
It took me by surprise. A friend of mine says itís because I do so much social work. I didnít know I had fans in such unlikely places. I donít mind appealing to them if it helps releasing the hostages. (Also read: I'm ready to help hostages: Amitabh Bachchan)
Isnít it flattering?
Yes, itís rather unexpected. At first I thought it was a joke by the media. Why me, of all people? When Waheedaji (Rehman) called to tell I was all over the news I laughed out loud. It wouldíve made sense if they had said Hema Malini or Sridevi. `Main kahan`? Suddenly when I read the headlines ĎDulaimi Ransom Asha Parekhí in Outlook I got scared. When I read Dulaimiís interview I realized that he was serious. The BBC wants to know if I'd go to Iraq to mediate. Itís so funny. But in spite of all this talk our government hasnít approached me to help in any way.
Youíve had more hits in your career than both Hema and Sridevi put together.
(Evasive) `Arrey nahin. Chalta hai`. God was kind. I had the good fortune of getting good setups, directors and fabulous music. That was another era. I canít keep living in the past now. But the most stupid question Iíve been asked came from a journalist who wanted to know, ďAapke videsh mein bhi fans hai?ĒÖ.
As though I had just been born yesterday. `Arrey`, our films go all over the world. I remember during my heydays in the 1960s an Iraqi singer Sabiha was a huge fan of mine. Her adulation for me was unbelievable. She came specially to Mumbai from Iraq to meet me.
You do have a lot of fans in the Gulf.
A whole lot! But I was still taken aback by the developments in the past two days. Itís so insensitive to have todayís media undermining you. They now behave as though this Dulaimi is the first fan Iíve ever had (bursts out laughing). Itís a sad world out there. But I feel nice when Iím considered for a any peace plan. If I can help get the hostages back Iíd be so grateful.
Howís your career going?
Iím just wrapping up my soap Kuch Pal Saath Tumhara on Sahara. Iíd be doing one more soap for the same channel. Iím also going to direct a Gujarati serial. Iíve to keep working. I donít think Iíll direct a feature. Where are the scriptwriters and producers? And besides all the male producers are wary of working with female directors.
If only I were lucky like Farah Khan who has such a fab bonding with Shah Rukh Khan. Iíll never allow myself to become a vegetable sitting at home staring at my golden and silver jubilee trophies. I canít understand how my colleagues can be happy without work. I envy them.
Whatís your message for the terrorists?
Please let the Indians go. Their families are waiting anxiously. One of the hostagesí mother is in the ICU. Why subject Indians to such torture. We'd be highly obliged to have our men back.