The Top 10 Films of Nanda
Here's looking at actress Nanda's legacy.
It’s the feeling not just the face that explains the magic of Nanda.
Her innocent demeanour and supple emotionality made the yesteryear actress a perfect fit for roles that tug the heartstring.
Whether she essayed his ladylove, baby sister or sister-in-law, her vulnerability triggered every hero’s protective instinct producing profound warmth on screen.
And when she tenderly comforted a child or loved one in pain, she exuded a benevolence that surpassed the confines of make-believe.
Nanda, daughter of 1930s actor/filmmaker Master Vinayak, began working as child actor to provide for her family after his demise. But her talent and charisma ensured a successful shift from supporting roles to leading lady.
What’s also commendable is how she supported upcoming talent like Shashi Kapoor and Rajesh Khanna, playing a crucial hand in their ascent, when most top heroines declined.
Though she wasn’t drawn to the arc lights for too long after a brief comeback in maternal roles, Nanda’s legacy is far from forgotten.
The 75-year-old actress passed away today following a massive heart attack.
We pay a tribute to the memory of this sparkling star of the 1960s with a compilation of 10 of her best works.
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Image: Nanda in Ittefaq
In this 1957 family melodrama plagued by misunderstandings, troublemakers and narrow-minded conditioning, Nanda graduates from a playful imp to a grief-stricken Cinderella after discovering she’s a child widow.
Even in a generic weepie like this one, Nanda breathes fresh air through her spontaneous candour and understated conviction.
Image: Nanda in Bhabhi
Chhoti Bahen (1959)
Nanda and Balraj Sahni’s restraint and dignity in soapy family dramas served them well in both Bhabhi and later Chhoti Bahen, wherein she plays his and Rehman’s kid sister who loses her eyesight in an accident.
Chhoti Bahen, featuring the popular Bhaiya Mere Rakhi Ke Bandhan Ko Nibhana, contributed heavily in cementing Nanda’s Miss Goody Two-Shoes image.
Image: Nanda and Balraj Sahni in Chhoti Bahen
B R Chopra’s courtroom classic Kanoon is a significant film in Nanda’s career paving her path for leading lady roles.
Though the story is mostly concerned in examining the workings of the judiciary, its emotional facets offer Nanda the opportunity to convey the moral dilemma of a woman caught between her father and beau.
Image: Nanda in Kanoon
Hum Dono (1962)
The actress is a picture of divine grace rendering, Allah Tero Naam in yet another one of Hum Dono’s many unforgettable moments.
Nanda delivers a fine knock as Dev Anand’s ailing wife, mistaking his lookalike to be her significant other, in the eternally engaging Hum Dono, be it in black and white or rangeen.
Image: Nanda and Dev Anand in Hum Dono
Aaj Aur Kal (1963)
Filmmakers found Nanda’s fragile simplicity just right to play characters that evoke sympathy.
This attribute is deftly validated in her turn as a wheelchair bound princess in Vasant Joglekar’s Aaj Aur Kal where she’s pitted against her disciplinarian father (Ashok Kumar) and unorthodox physician (Sunil Dutt).
Image: Tanuja and Nanda in Aaj Aur Kal
Jab Jab Phool Khile (1965)
Always considered too girl-next-door to pull off an 'It girl', Nanda responds to such misapprehensions with a glamorous makeover in one of her biggest hits, Jab Jab Phool Khile.
As the stuck-up city girl vacationing in Kashmir, Nanda appears visibly chuffed in the musical romance co-starring Shashi Kapoor, later remade as Raja Hindustani with Aamir Khan and Karisma Kapoor.
Image: Shashi Kapoor and Nanda in Jab Jab Phool Khile
In this box office smash inspired by Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, Nanda plays one of the seven people deserted on a murderous island.
Nanda displays a gamut of emotions from shock, fear, anxiety to flirting with Manoj Kumar and getting sloshed with Helen contributing to whodunit’s repeat value even after so many years.
Image: Nanda and Manoj Kumar in Gumnaam
Just when you thought, Nanda is only about her golden heart, she takes the viewers by surprise with her sly turn in Yash Chopra’s taut suspense drama.
Given the film relies on her and Rajesh Khanna’s presence to keep the momentum going, Nanda easily delivers her career-best lending her actions complexity, nuance and edge than mentioned on paper. The upshot is a climax that’s both shocking yet credible.
Image: Nanda in Ittefaq
The Train (1969)
Besides featuring in its super hit RD Burman creations -- Gulabi Aankhen and Kisliye Maine Pyaar Kiya, Bollywood’s go-to girl for murder mysteries; Nanda does her bit yet again with a charming Rajesh Khanna in tow.
Its Hitchcockian tone, well-executed thrills and lead actors’ breezy chemistry collaborates to make The Train a far more entertaining joy ride than it set out to be.
Image: Rajesh Khanna and Nanda in The Train
Prem Rog (1982)
In the latter part of her career, Nanda returned briefly to play supporting roles, most memorable being her poignant turn as a young widow’s mother in Raj Kapoor’s social drama, Prem Rog.
Once again her compassionate personality provides a soothing balm to Padmini Kolhapure’s suffering character as well as offsets the script’s over-the-top villainy with innate kindness.
Image: Nanda in Prem Rog