So, one more star has fallen!
60s decade is known as golden era in Hindi film industry! And those who have worked in that era were really having good luck and they gave us very clean and real entertainment. Nanda was among such artists.
Nanda represents two extreme ends: You remember very peaceful and religious song Allah Tero Naam and face of Nanda comes in mind. If you remember very sensuous song, Nanda in white gown emerges in your memory. So Nanda could represent both faces very well.
Many few artists are there in Hindi film industry who have succeeded after they started career as child artists. Jugal Hansraj, Hansika Motwani, Raju Srestha, Junior Mehmood, Sachin (Pilgaonkar) are such names who didn't succeed much. But Nanda's case was different. She started her career as Baby Nanda. Actually her family was totally film industry related. How?
Her father was well known actor and director - Master Vinayak. Full name Vinayak Damodar Karnataki. He was maternal cousin of well known actor and director V. Shantaram. Master Vinayak is also known for giving break or chance to legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar in his film Pahilee Mangalagaur. Nanda's brother Jayprakash Karnataki is also actor-director. His wife Jayshree T. is famous face of Hindi/Gujarati film industry. So, naturally film was in air of this family.
|Nanda with brother Jayprakash Karnataki|
Nanda started her career as child artist and her first film was Mandir. Break was given by her father Master Vinayak. Then her uncle and legendary actor-dirctor V. Shantaram casted her in Toofan Aur Deeya. Interestingly, Nanda's last film according imdb.com, is 'Diya Aur Toofan'! Nanda witnessed Toofan (storm) in her life and acted as 'Diya' (lamp) for her family.
Her father died when she was eight years old, so Nanda came in film industry and with her earnings she helped her family. She remained unmarried till 1992 but when she found love - legendary producer-director Manmohan Desai, and engaged with him, in just two years Manjee died! She again remained single!
In childhood her father used to relate stories of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Capt. Lakshami, Mahatma Gandhi etc. Her parents were instrumental in imparting high moral and cultural values in all of children. This was the time when the young girl dreamt of becoming another Capt. Lakshami, but her father's death brought her in film industry! (Actually her father has made her acted in his film 'Mandir' and in this film Nanda played role of a boy! But acting was not her first choice, as she said in one of her interviews. While this film was being made, her father died and film was completed by Dinkar Patil. So Nanda decided to continue her film career as child artist.)
First film she did Jaggu(1952) as a child artiste in which Shyama was playing the heroine. In 1954 she did Shankaracharya and Jagad Guru. In the same year she did Angaray directed by K.B. Lal that starred Nargis and Nasir Khan and had a good supporting cast that included Vanmala, Jagirdar, Jeevan among others. Then she did Dinkar Patil's Kuldaivat followed by Shevgacha Shenga produced by Sadashiv Row Kavi and directed by Shantaram Athavle. But her big break was definitely Toofan Aur Deeya.
One interesting incidence of Baby Nanda should be presented here. Raj Kapoor knew Master Vinayak very well through his previous association. Rajji was making Boot Polish. It so happened that he was auditioning a lot of child artistes for the film, among whom besides Baby Naaz and Baby Tabbasum (Phool Khile Hai Gulshan Gulshan show fame), Nanda was also there. After the screen test, he called Nanda over, spoke high about her father Master Vinayak and then lamented, "Sorry, I can't take you in the film because in no way do you look like a beggar."
She was brave enough to refuse give in to the temptation of a regular income which would come with being shackled by a long-term contract to a big studio. Instead, she played sister to stars like Raaj Kumar (Dulhan) or Dev Anand (Kaala Bazaar) and doing small roles in big films like Dhool Ka Phool. She got Bhabhi and Dulhan (1957), Agra Road, Pehli Raat and Chhoti Bahen(1959) and Kala Bazar (1960).
|Nanda in Chhoti Bahen|
After Chhoti Bahen was super hit, Nanda started getting good offers. Now Nanda became heroine in true sense. Nanda played sister of Dev Anand in Kala Bazar and then acted as his heroine in Hum Dono! She played the second lead in B R Chopra's production Dhool Ka Phool (1959), but now she was the heroine of his next release, Kanoon (1960)!
She acted in Char Diwari (with Shashi Kapoor in 1961), Aaj aur Kal and Usne Kaha Tha (both with Sunil Dutt in 1963). Soon big banners started approaching her with good offers. "I excelled in doing emotional roles. It was said in filmy circles that it was first Meena Kumari and then me who excelled in doing emotional type of roles," Nanda said in one interview. It should be noted that both Meena Kumari and Nanda acted together in Abhilasha.
|Nanda in Jab Jab Phool Khile|
|Nanda in Ittefaq|
But she returned back to work as mother roles. Thus she did Prem Rog, Ahista Ahista and Mazdoor. In all three films, she acted as mother of Marathi actress Padmini Kolhapure. It is interesting incident how Nanda got Prem Rog film of Raj Kapoor.
|Nanda In Prem Rog|
For Nanda, as I said above, life was full mix of emotions. Tragedy was big part of it. She didn't get love when she really needed most. When she got, it lasted very short. She engaged with produce-director Manmohan Desai. Interesting thing is that both never worked together!
Her affair with Manmohan Desai was shortlived as within two years after their engagement on June 18, 1992, Desai expired. But though she found this phase sweetest phase of her life. In this period she came to know what love is and she got the reason to live. They had plan to get married. That was the time when Nanda's mother contracted Cancer and she being deeply attached to her mother was constantly besides her.
Manji said he would not marry her now as if he did, Nanda's love would get divided between her mother and Manji. Nanda got two bad and shocking news in very short period. First her mother mother expired in 1993 while in the following year she lost Manji.
|Rare picture of yesteryear's beautiful actresses together|
(From left) Nanda, Waheeda, Helan and Sadhana.
We will miss you when ever we see Bhaiya Mere Rakhi Ke Bandhan Ko Nibhana or Ye Sama Sama Hai Ye Pyar Ka or Ek Pyar Ka Nagma Hai!