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Bollywood loses its first glam girl
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February 09, 2006 15:38 IST

NadiraVeteran Bollywood actress Nadira, who passed away in the early hours of Thursday, was Hindi cinema's first sophisticated vamp.

She made her foray into Bollywood in the 1950s -- when women were expected to look demure and do only 'positive' roles -- and gave new meaning and depth to the character of the 'bad girl', playing the confident, often sensuous young woman who was not afraid to get what she wanted.

Her arched eyebrows, as she wooed Raj Kapoor in the song Mud mud ke na dekh in the classic Shree 420 (1955), will remain etched in the memories of movie lovers for a long time.

Nadira: Ahead of her time 

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Nadira's career spanned over five decades, during which she acted in over 60 films.

She was part of some of Hindi filmdom's most well known movies, starting off with Aan (1952) -- the movie directed by Mehboob Khan in which Nadira played the fiery Princess Rajashree -- and featuring in classics like Waris (1954), Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai (1960), Kamal Amrohi's Pakeezah (1971), Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), and Saagar (1985).

Nadira won the 1975 Best Supporting Actress Filmfare Award for her portrayal of the protagonist's mother in the film Julie.

The Shah Rukh Khan [Images] starrer Josh (2000) was her last Bollywood film.

She also featured in Ismail Merchant's English film Cotton Mary (1999) and Pooja Bhatt's [Images] Tamanna (1997).

Born in Israel as Florence Ezekiel, Nadira was a spinster and has no immediate family in India. She is survived by two brothers, one in the United States and one in Israel.

In her final years, Nadira had turned into a recluse, meeting no one and staying confined to her house. Even during her stay at the hospital, no one except her domestic staff was present at her bedside.

Nadira was admitted to the intensive care unit of Bhatia Hospital in central Mumbai on December 31 after she suffered a paralytic stroke coupled with a heart attack.

"She was a very special person. There are a very few people like her. I loved her very dearly. She was a very talented actor," said actress Dipti Naval, one of the few people in the industry with whom Nadira kept in touch till her last days.

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