'She was an extremely sensitive person, very thoughtful and caring.'
'She was a very loyal friend. She rarely stepped out of the house but she'd regularly visit me and my husband in Bangalore.'
Veteran actress Waheeda Rehman remembers Nanda, her friend of 55 years who passed away on March 25.
Nanda and I had lunch on Saturday (March 22) and were together till 5 pm. She was not in the least unwell.
If she had felt even a little uneasy, she wouldn't have stepped out of the house.
Asha Parekh and Helen spoke to her on Monday night and she was gone on Tuesday.
We had been friends for 55 years, ever since we worked together in Vijay Anand's Kala Bazaar.
Girl friends tend to drift away after marriage due to certain responsibilities but Nanda and I remained close friends even after I got married.
We were part of a close-knit group that included Asha Parekh, Helen, Sadhna and Jabeen and Shakila who settled abroad after they got married.
I delivered the unfortunate news of Nanda's death to Jabeen and Shakila.
Nanda and I were very different individuals, quite the study in contrasts. But we were very close friends. Or maybe we were close friends because we were so different. I've remained somewhat active in the public sphere with various things, including the occasional film.
She gave it all up a long time ago. The last films she did were Mazdoor, Ahista Ahista and Prem Rog. She never looked back at that life again. It hurts to talk about her in the past tense.
She was an extremely sensitive person, very thoughtful and caring. And she was a very loyal friend. She rarely stepped out of the house but she'd regularly visit me and my husband in Bangalore.
Although very shy in male company except her brothers, she was very comfortable with my husband. We went on picnics together in and around Bangalore. Both Nanda and I were fond of cooking.
Whenever she visited me she'd be in the kitchen cooking up a fun meal and asking me to cook up something. She was like my soul-sister.
People wonder how two heroines could be so friendly. But there was not an iota of professional insecurity between us. Both of us believed in destiny and that whatever work was meant to come our way would come.
We were both very secure about our careers. And we were both firm believers in God and destiny.
There were many instances in the past when producers who first came to me with roles went to Nanda eventually because we counldn't agree on certain issues.
Nanda and I never discussed work. Our work never came in the way of our friendship. We were both down-to-earth and very Indian. Both of us attempted glamorous roles but soon realised that it's better to play characters that were close to our personalities.
For example, I'd look completely out of place if I played Zeenat Aman's role in Manoranjan.
Luckily for me, I could be a little more adventurous than Nanda because I could dance. But Nanda was as sweet and innocent in person as she was on the screen. She was very introverted and a loner.
She was nervous of crowds. I am a little more outgoing. But, like I said, we were like-minded people. We shared the same values. She went away so suddenly.
But at least she got the kind of death that she wanted.
Waheeda Rehman photograph: Abhijit Mhamunkar. Inset: Nanda