Veteran Hindi film actor Nanda passed away of a heart attack at age 75 yesterday, 25th March 2014. A highly successful actor during the 60’s, she actually started her career as a child artiste in the late 1940’s when her family fell on hard times after her father passed away. Though she was briefly engaged to director Manmohan Desai, her finance died before the couple could tie the knot and Nanda remained unmarried.
Her on screen pairing with actor Shashi Kapoor was very successful and her sweet face lent itself automatically to roles where she played the ‘good girl’, the sister, the bhabhi (sister-in-law) and so on. Some of Nanda’s best known films include Jab Jab Phool Khile, Hum Dono, Gumnaam, Chhoti Behen, Ittefaq, Beti, Bhaabhi, Dhool ka Phool and many others. I would like to pay a tribute to Bollywood’s favourite good girl in the best way I know how – by creating a list of some of some of Nanda’s best and most memorable songs.
Allah Tero Naam from the Dev Anand, Nanda and Sadhana starrer Hum Dono is one of Hindi cinema’s most beautiful bhajans ever. Not only do the lyrics give a message of peace and national integration, Jaidev’s music has ensured that this is one of the most memorable songs ever picturised on Nanda.
This track from Jab Jab Phool Khilen showed Nanda in a westernized avatar for the first time – quite a departure from her usual Bhartiya nani portrayals. The film was one of the several hits starring the popular pair of Shashi Kapoor and Nanda. This song is one of the unforgettable melodies composed by the hugely successful Kalyanji Anandji combine.
Bhaiyya mere rakhi ke is the quintessential raksha bandhan song and still gets a lot of air play each year when the brother-sister festival rolls around. This was Nanda playing the sweet and innocent sister in the film Chhoti Behen as she did several times in her career.
In the film Teen Deviyaan, Dev Anand could not decide between the three women that he loved – he does however have to choose one from among Nanda, Simi Grewal and Kalpana’s characters. This playful duet is picturised on one of those three devis from among whom the protagonist must choose.
The film Gumnaan film had an unusual theme for its time – that of 8 people abandoned by a plane together on an island. The film starred Nanda, Manoj Kumar, Pran, Helen, Mehmood, Madan Puri. This super hit film of its time was based on the Agatha Christie novel And Then There Were None. It is also noteworthy for Shankar Jaikishan’s memorable music.
Yeh Wadiyan, Yeh Fizayen is another memorable melody picturised on Nanda, this time with a young and dashing looking Sunil Dutt. This is a song from the 1963 film Aaj Aur Kal
Apart from her pairing with Shashi Kapoor, Nanda’s other successful pairing was with superstar Rajesh Khanna. From the movie The Train, this is a song composed by R D Burman.
The song from Kabhi Tera Daaman na Chhodenge Hum from the movie Neend Hamari Khwab Tumhare is the song I think of as the quintessential Chhaya Geet song. The song is a typical 60’s song – the dancing in the garden variety of song featuring Nanda and Shashi Kapoor looking his most charming.
Aaha Rimjhim Ke Yeh Pyaare Pyaare Geet from the 1060 film Usne Kaya Tha is a delightful composition by Salil Choudhary and the visuals feature the innocent young love of the characters played by Sunil Dutt and Nanda.
Ek Pyaar Ka Naghma hai from the film Shor features a more mature looking Nanda is another classic by Laxmikant Pyarelal.
By – Reena Daruwalla