Veteran Hindi film actress Nanda passed away in Mumbai on Tuesday morning. She was 75. She breathed her last at about 9.15 a.m., said reports.
Nanda was born in a Maharashtrian show-business family to Vinayak Damodar Karnataki (Master Vinayak), a successful Marathi actor-director.
Her father died when Nanda was a child. The family faced hard times. She became a child artiste and helped them by working in films like JAGGU in the early 1950s.
Nanda’s paternal uncle V. Shantaram gave Nanda a big break by casting her in a successful brother-sister saga TOOFAN AUR DIYA (1956).
She received her first Filmfare Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress for BHABHI (1957); she claims that the reason she didn’t win was because there was lobbying involved.
She then played supporting roles to stars like Dev Anand in KALA BAZAR, and did small roles in big films like DHOOL KA PHOOL.
She played the title role in L.V. Prasad’s CHHOTI BAHEN (1959). The movie was a big hit, making her a star.
She also played lead roles, such as one of Dev Anand’s heroines in HUM DONO (1961) and TEEN DEVIYAN. Both films were acclaimed as ‘hits’.
She was the heroine in B R Chopra’s KANOON (1960), a film that was very unusual back then, because it had no songs. She won the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award for ANCHAL (1960).
Nanda was known to encourage newcomers. She signed 8 films with Shashi Kapoor at a time when he was yet to become successful in Hindi Cinema.
Their first 2 films as a pair – the critically acclaimed romantic film CHAR DIWARI (1961) and MEHNDI LAGI MERE HAATH (1962) – did not work but the rest were successful at the box office. Her favorite song that was famously picturized on her in the film was “Yeh Samaa.”
In early seventies, it was Nanda who suggested Rajendra Kumar, co-producer of THE TRAIN, to take Rajesh Khanna as the main lead.
She had another hit film in 1965 with Manoj Kumar, GUMNAAM, which helped put her in the top league of heroines.
After a small role in Manoj Kumar’s SHOR (1972), Nanda did few more films such as CHHALIA (1973), NAYA NASHA (1974), which flopped and she then stopped acting.
In 1982, she came back with three successful films, all coincidentally having her play Padmini Kolhapure’s mother in AHISTA AHISTA, MAZDOOR and Raj Kapoor’s PREM ROG. Then she permanently retired from acting career.
In 1992, a middle-age Nanda became engaged to director Manmohan Desai. But he died after falling from the terrace of his rented flat in Girgaon, just a year after her mother died of cancer. Nanda then remained unmarried.