Nanda (actress)

Nanda Karnataki (8 January 1939 – 25 March 2014)[1] known mononymously as Nanda, was an Indian film actress who appeared in Hindi and Marathi films. Her career spans over 30 years and she is best known for her performances in Chhoti Bahen, Dhool Ka Phool, Bhabhi, Kala Bazar, Kanoon, Hum Dono, Jab Jab Phool Khile, Gumnaam, Ittefaq, The Train and Prem Rog.[2][3]

Nanda at a party in Kenya, 1970
Nanda Karnataki

(1939-01-08)8 January 1939
Died25 March 2014(2014-03-25) (aged 75)
Years active1948–1983
AwardsFilmfare Best Supporting Actress Award for Aanchal (1960)

Early life

Nanda was born in a Maharashtrian show-business family to Vinayak Damodar Karnataki (Master Vinayak), a successful Marathi actor-producer-director. Her father died in 1947, aged 41 when Nanda was eight years old.[4] The family faced hard times. She became a child actress, helping her family by working in films in the early 1950s. She made her debut with Mandir in 1948.

On the silver screen she was first recognized as "Baby Nanda". In films like Mandir, Jaggu, Angaarey, and Jagriti, she was a child actor from 1948 to 1956.[5] As a result of her involvement in movies, her studies suffered, and she was coached at home by renowned school teacher and Bombay Scouts commissioner Gokuldas V. Makhi. By taking up a career in films, she supported and educated her six siblings.[6] One of her brothers is Marathi film director Jaiprakash Karnataki. Actress Jayashree Talpade is her sister-in-law.[7]


Child actress and Supporting roles

Nanda made her debut with Mandir in 1948. On the silver screen she was first recognized as "Baby Nanda". In films like Mandir, Jaggu and Angaarey, She was a child actor from 1948 to 1956.[5] Nanda's paternal uncle, the renowned film producer-director V. Shantaram gave Nanda a big break by casting her in a successful brother-sister saga; Toofan Aur Diya (1956). It was the saga of an orphaned brother and sister that are buffeted by a series of tragic setbacks, including the girl losing her sight. 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.[8] She played supporting roles to stars such as Dev Anand in Kala Bazar,[9] and played second lead in Dhool Ka Phool.

Leading Lady

She played the title role in L.V. Prasad's Chhoti Bahen (1959). The movie was a big hit, making her a star.[10] In this commercially successful 1959 film, Nanda played the blind younger sister looked after by two elder brothers, played by Balraj Sahni and Rehman.[11] She then 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 with no songs, which was then rare.

She won the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award for Aanchal (1960). She was paired with Raj Kapoor in Aashiq (1962) and she worked with Rajendra Kumar in three films – Toofan Aur Diya (1956), Dhool Ka Phool (1961) and Kanoon (1960). In one of her interviews she said she avoided films with Shammi Kapoor because of his "wild" reputation from 1959 to 1972, but later agreed to work with him in Prem Rog in 1982. She had quoted in one of her interviews: "Many of my great performances were in films that failed or did average business, like Usne Kaha Tha, Char Diwari, Nartaki, and Aaj Aur Kal."[12]

Nanda was known to encourage newcomers. She signed eight films with Shashi Kapoor at a time when he was yet to become successful in Hindi Cinema. Their first two 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.[13] Shashi, though he had achieved success in English films in 1963 and in two Hindi films in 1965, had five flops as solo lead hero from his debut in 1961 till 1965 in Hindi films. In Jab Jab Phool Khile (1965), Nanda played a westernised role for the first time and it helped her image.[14] Her favorite song that was famously picturized on her in the film was "Yeh samaa." Shashi would later declare that Nanda was his favorite heroine. Nanda, too, declared Kapoor as her favourite hero. In the period 1965 to 1970, the successful films of the pair Shashi-Nanda include Mohabbat Isko Kahete Hain (1965), Jab Jab Phool Khile (1965), Neend Hamari Khwab Tumhare (1966), Raja Saab (1969) and Rootha Na Karo (1970). In the early 1970s, Nanda suggested Rajendra Kumar, co-producer of The Train, to take Rajesh Khanna as the main lead.[15]

She had another hit film in 1965 with Gumnaam, which helped put her in the top league of heroines.[10] With Dharmendra, she worked in Mera Kasoor Kya Hai and Akashdeep. She played lead heroine roles beginning with Choti Bahen and Kanoon from 1959 to 60 and continued to get roles as the main female lead till 1973. She signed with new leading man Rajesh Khanna in the songless suspense thriller Ittefaq (1969), for which she received a Filmfare nomination as Best Actress and which became successful at the box office. After Khanna became a super-star, he signed two more films with her; the thriller The Train (1970) and the comedy Joroo Ka Ghulam (1972) which became hits. Jeetendra, too, had some hit films with her such as Parivar and Dharti Kahe Pukar Ke, with Sanjay Khan, she had a hit in Beti and Abhilasha The three films Ittefaq, The Train and Joru Ka Ghulam – earned more than her earlier hits opposite Shashi Kapoor, Rajendra Kumar, Dev Anand, Sanjeev Kumar and Jeetendra.[16]

Later career and supporting roles

After a small role in Manoj Kumar's Shor (1972), Nanda did a few more critically acclaimed films such as Chhalia (1973) and Naya Nasha (1974), which flopped. Work offers for Nanda dried up from 1973 as her pairing with other younger actors such as Navin Nischol, Vinod Mehra, Deb Mukherjee and Parikshit Sahni did not work.,[12] 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.[17]

Earnings and ranking

Nanda, who has done some unforgettable work in Bollywood and has given films such as Dhool Ka Phool, Dulhan, Bhabhi, Jab Jab Phool Khile, Gumnaam, Shor, Parineeta, and Prem Rog was one of the highest paid actresses of her time. She was the second highest paid Hindi actress, along with Nutan from 1960 to 1965 and second highest paid Hindi actress in 1966 to 1969 along with Nutan and Waheeda and the third highest paid Hindi actress with Sadhana from 1970 to 1973.[18]

Personal life

In 1965, while filming Jab Jab Phool Khile, director Suraj Prakash recalled that a Maharashtrian lieutenant colonel was smitten by Nanda and had asked him to forward his marriage proposal to her mother. In the end, nothing came of it. Nanda's brothers brought home many suitors for her, but she turned them all down.[19]

In 1992, a middle-aged Nanda became engaged to director Manmohan Desai at the urging of Rehman. But he died after falling from the terrace of his rented flat in Girgaon, just a year after her mother died of cancer. According to reports, the railing he was leaning on collapsed. Nanda remained unmarried.[20]

Nanda lived in her residence in Mumbai, interacting only with family and close friends. Her close friends from the film industry included Waheeda Rehman, Nargis, Asha Parekh, Helen, Saira Banu, Mala Sinha, Sadhana, Shakila and Jabeen Jaleel.[21] After a long time, she made a public appearance with Waheeda Rehman for a screening of the Marathi film Natarang (2010).

She died in Mumbai on 25 March 2014 at her Versova residence, aged 75, following a heart attack.[22]

Selected filmography

Films as actor
1952 JagguChild artist
1954 Angarey
1954 Bandish
1956 Toofan Aur DeeyaNandini
1956 Devghar
1956 Shatranj
1957 BandiShankar's Daughter
1957 BhabhiLata
1957 Agra Road
1957 Laxmi
1957 Sakshi Gopal
1958 DulhanSadhana
1959 BarkhaParvati
1959 Zara Bachke
1959 Qaidi No. 911Gita
1959 Chhoti BahenMeena
1959 Dhool Ka PhoolMalati
1959 Naya Sansar
1959 Pehli Raat
1960 AanchalChanda
1960 Apna Ghar
1960 Chand Mere Aja
1960 Jo Huwa So Bhool Jao
1960 Kala BazarSapna
1960 KanoonMeena Prasad
1960 Usne Kaha ThaKamli
1961 Amar Rahe Yeh PyarRazia Hussain
1961 Char DiwariLakshmi
1961 Hum DonoRuma
1962 AashiqRenu
1962 Mehndi Lagi Mere HaathRajani
1963 NartakeeLakshmi
1963 Aaj Aur KalRajkumari Hemlata / Hema
1964 Kaise Kahoon
1964 Mera Qasoor Kya Hai
1965 Akashdeep
1965 BedaagManju
1965 Jab Jab Phool KhileRita Khanna
1965 Mohabbat Isko Kahete HainRajani
1965 Teen DevianNanda
1965 GumnaamAsha
1966 Neend Hamari Khwab TumhareNishad
1966 Pati PatniGauri
1967 ParivarMeena
1968 AbhilashaRitu
1968 JuaariSaroj
1969 BetiSudha Verma
1969 Dharti Kahe PukarkeRadha
1969 Raja SaabPoonam
1969 IttefaqRekha
1969 Badi DidiBhavna
1970 Rootha Na KaroNeeta
1970 The TrainNeeta / Geeta / Kalavati / Priya
1971 Woh Din Yaad Karo
1971 AdhikarMeera
1971 Ummeed1962 film released in 1971
1972 ShorGeeta
1972 Parineeta
1972 Joroo Ka Ghulam'Kalpana
1973 ChhaliaSuneeta / Neeta
1973 Naya NashaReena
1974 Jurm Aur SazaaRicky
1974 Asliyat
1977 PrayashchitRita/ Ramma
1980 Qatil Kaun
1981 Ahista AhistaSangeeta
1982 Prem RogVirendra's wife
1983 MazdoorRadha

Films as singer and music director

Film as singer
1965 Jab Jab Phool Khile"Ek Tha Gul Aur Ek Thi Bulbul"with Mohammed Rafi
Film as music director
2012 Anbulla DurogiTamil film Director V Palani[23]

Awards and nominations

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1958 Bhabhi Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated
1961 Aanchal [24] Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress Won
1970 Ittefaq Filmfare Award for Best Actress Nominated
1982 Ahista Ahista Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated
1983 Prem Rog [25] Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated


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  2. "Veteran Bollywood Actress Nanda Passes Away -Bollywood, Featured, General News - India News Portal".
  3. "The Top 10 Films of Nanda". Rediff.
  4. Death of Nanda's father; accessed 30 March 2014.
  5. Ambarish Mishra (26 March 2014). "Nanda, an actor who embodied Indian-ness and quiet dignity, dead". The Times of India. Retrieved 30 March 2014.
  6. "Nanda: The Eternal Sister of Bollywood". 19 February 2009.
  7. Notice of Nanda's death,; accessed 30 March 2014.
  8. ,; accessed 29 March 2014.
  9. "Dev's women!",, 25 September 2003.
  10. "". Retrieved 23 July 2012.
  11. "Remembering Nanda: 10 best films".
  12. ,; accessed 29 March 2014.
  13. " - is for sale (Bolly Mood)".
  14. "Nanda Height - Pictures Videos Bollywood Actress".
  15. Profile,; accessed 29 March 2014.
  16. "5 interesting lesser known facts about Bollywood actress Nanda - The Times of India". The Times of India.
  17. "Yesteryear actress Nanda passes away at 75".
  18. "5 interesting lesser known facts about Bollywood actress Nanda". The Times of India. 25 March 2014. Retrieved 27 February 2016.
  19. Profile, The Times of India; accessed 29 March 2014.
  20. Notice of death of Nanda,; accessed 30 March 2014.
  21. Archived from the original on 29 March 2014. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  22. Death of Indian actress Nanda,; accessed 30 March 2014.
  23. "Anbulla Durogi (2012)".
  24. Awards Internet Movie Database.
  25. "First Filmfare Awards 1953" (PDF).
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