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Actress Nanda 001.jpg Actress Nanda 001.jpg
Nanda at a party in Kenya, 1970
BornNanda Karnataki
(1939-01-08)8 January 1939
Kolhapur, Kolhapur State, British India
(now in Maharashtra, India)
💀Died25 March 2014(2014-03-25) (aged 75)
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India25 March 2014(2014-03-25) (aged 75)
💼 Occupation
📆 Years active  1948–1983
🏅 AwardsFilmfare Best Supporting Actress Award for Aanchal (1960)

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]

Early life[edit]

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[edit]

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. Earlier in her career she acted in many Marathi films. These include Kuldaivat, Shevgyachyaa Shenga directed by Shantaram Athavale, Deoghar directed by Raja Paranjpe, Zalegele visrun jaa directed by Yashwant Patekar, and Aai wina baal with Hansa Wadkar. Nanda was honored by prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru for her sister's role in Shevgyachyaa shenga.

Leading Lady[edit]

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). 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][not in citation given] 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[edit]

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[edit]

Nanda in 2010

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[edit]

Nanda (first from left) with Waheeda Rehman, Helen, and Sadhana in 2010

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[edit]

Films as actor
Year Film Role Notes
1952 Jaggu Child artist
1954 Angarey
1954 Bandish
1956 Toofan Aur Deeya Nandini
1956 Devghar
1956 Shatranj
1957 Bandi Shankar's Daughter
1957 Bhabhi Lata
1957 Agra Road
1957 Laxmi
1957 Sakshi Gopal
1958 Dulhan Sadhana
1959 Barkha Parvati
1959 Zara Bachke
1959 Qaidi No. 911 Gita
1959 Chhoti Bahen Meena
1959 Dhool Ka Phool Malati
1959 Naya Sansar
1959 Pehli Raat
1960 Aanchal Chanda
1960 Apna Ghar
1960 Chand Mere Aja
1960 Jo Huwa So Bhool Jao
1960 Kala Bazar Sapna
1960 Kanoon Meena Prasad
1960 Usne Kaha Tha Kamli
1961 Amar Rahe Yeh Pyar Razia Hussain
1961 Char Diwari Lakshmi
1961 Hum Dono Ruma
1962 Aashiq Renu
1962 Mehndi Lagi Mere Haath Rajani
1963 Nartakee Lakshmi
1963 Aaj Aur Kal Rajkumari Hemlata / Hema
1964 Kaise Kahoon
1964 Mera Qasoor Kya Hai
1965 Akashdeep
1965 Bedaag Manju
1965 Jab Jab Phool Khile Rita Khanna
1965 Mohabbat Isko Kahete Hain Rajani
1965 Teen Devian Nanda
1965 Gumnaam Asha
1966 Neend Hamari Khwab Tumhare Nishad
1966 Pati Patni Gauri
1967 Parivar Meena
1968 Abhilasha Ritu
1968 Juaari Saroj
1969 Beti Sudha Verma
1969 Dharti Kahe Pukarke Radha
1969 Raja Saab Poonam
1969 Ittefaq Rekha
1969 Badi Didi Bhavna
1970 Rootha Na Karo Neeta
1970 The Train Neeta / Geeta / Kalavati / Priya
1971 Woh Din Yaad Karo
1971 Adhikar Meera
1971 Ummeed 1962 film released in 1971
1972 Shor Geeta
1972 Parineeta
1972 Joroo Ka Ghulam' Kalpana
1973 Chhalia Suneeta / Neeta
1973 Naya Nasha Reena
1974 Jurm Aur Sazaa Ricky
1974 Asliyat
1977 Prayashchit Rita/ Ramma
1980 Qatil Kaun
1981 Ahista Ahista Sangeeta
1982 Prem Rog Virendra's wife
1983 Mazdoor Radha

Films as singer and music director[edit]

Film as singer
Year Film Song Notes
1965 Jab Jab Phool Khile "Ek Tha Gul Aur Ek Thi Bulbul" with Mohammed Rafi
Film as music director
Year Film Language Notes Ref
2012 Anbulla Durogi Tamil film Director V Palani [23]

Awards and nominations[edit]

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


  1. "Birthday special: 7 lesser known facts about veteran actress Nanda". 7 January 2016. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  2. "Veteran Bollywood Actress Nanda Passes Away -Bollywood, Featured, General News - India News Portal". Archived from the original on 8 September 2017. Retrieved 31 March 2014. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  3. "The Top 10 Films of Nanda". Rediff.
  4. Death of Nanda's father Archived 29 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine; accessed 30 March 2014.
  5. 5.0 5.1 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 Archived 31 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine,; accessed 30 March 2014.
  8. [1],; accessed 29 March 2014.
  9. "Dev's women!",, 25 September 2003.
  10. 10.0 10.1 "". Retrieved 23 July 2012.
  11. "Remembering Nanda: 10 best films".
  12. 12.0 12.1 [2],; 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. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help); 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).

External links[edit]