One of the leading ladies of golden era of 60‘s and 70‘s Nanda passed away on 25th March after suffering from a heart attack. She was 75 years old (born on 8th January 1939) and remained unmarried in her life. Starting her acting career as a child actress named Baby Nanda in 50‘s she was aspired to join army rather than acting in film. She reluctantly acted in her first film Mandit(1948) as her father Vinayak Damodar Karnatki was a successful producer director was making that film. Later she had to work in films to support her family as her father died in 1947.
Legendary filmmaker V. Shantaram was her parental uncle who also gave her first big break in Tofan Aur Deeya which was the story of brother and sister fighting against poverty. She then got stereotype roles of sister or second lead in films like Choti Bahen, Kala Bazaar, Laxmi, Bhabi, Dulhan and Kanoon. She got famous from Choti Bahen (1960) starring Balraj Sahni, Shyama and Rehman. While working in Choti Bahen, Rahman and Nanda’s bond became strong and they tied together as brother and sister. She won her first Filmfare Award as Best Supporting actress for Aanchal(1960). Slowly she graduated to leading lady in successful movies like Hum Dono and Teen Deviyan opposite Dev Anand playing the role of a typical nice girl next door. Her first big success as a solo lead was suspense thriller Gumnaam (1965) opposite Manoj Kumar.
Then came super success of Jab Jab Phool Khile (1965) opposite Shashi Kapoor who was struggling at that time though Nanda was an established star. Shashi Kapoor once said in an interview that he was thankful to Nanda who helped him his acting career. She made successful pair with Shashi Kapoor in Jab Jab Phool Khile, Neend Hamari Khwaab Tumhare and Raja Saab. Later her pairing with Rajesh Khanna became more famous with super hits like The Train, Joru Ka Gulaam and Ittefaq. Rajesh Khanna always admired her as one of the most dignified lady he has ever worked with. She made successful pair with Rajesh Khanna and Jeetendra who were younger than her in real life by almost 3 years.
Nanda was never a big threat for the leading ladies of that era but she delivered great performace whenever given chance. One of the prime example is her brave performance in Ittefaq (1969) where she played a bold character with negative shades which was way ahead in those days. She got her first nomination in Filmfare Awards as Best Actress for Ittefaq.
She took a break from acting in 1974 and made a comeback in 1981 with Ahista Ahista as character actress. She also worked in Ravi Chopra’s Mazdoor (1982) opposite Dilip Kumar for first time in her acting career. In 1982 she gave a powerful performance in Raj Kapoor’s Prem Rog. It was a coincidence that in all three movie Padmini Kolhapure played the role of her daughter. She was nominated for Filmfare Award as Best supporting actress for Ahista Ahista(1981) and Prem Rog (1982). After acting in Prem Rog she took permanent retirement from acting.
In her personal life she got engaged to legendary filmmaker Manmohan Desai but they did not get married as Manmohan Desai died in 1992. Nanda remained unmarried in her life as Waheeda Rehman, Sadhna, Asha Paresh and Helen were her close friends. Ironically a song’ Kabhi kisi ko mukammal jahan nahin milta, kabhi jameen toh kabhi aasman nahin milta’ from her movie Ahista Ahista relates to her life.
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