Actress Nanda, who died at home in Mumbai at 75 today, was among Bollywood’s top heroines in the Sixties. Yet, she never belonged to public memory as completely as contemporary actresses like Waheeda Rehman or her Gumnaam co-star Helen.
The songs below prove how erosive time has been to Nanda’s stardom – part of Bollywood’s musical classics, they crop up regularly in modern Antakshari sessions but chances are you won’t remember that they feature the elusive Nanda.
Yeh Sama from Jab Jab Phool Khile (1965): This song is identified as one of Shashi Kapoor’s greatest hits. Nanda has often been named by Mr Kapoor as his favourite co-star. She was instrumental in giving his Bollywood career a boost, signing films with him when he was still best known for theatre work.
Gulabi Aankhen from The Train (1970): Rajesh Khanna was still a struggling actor, on the verge of breaking through with Aradhana, when Nanda persuaded The Train co-producer Rajendra Kumar to cast him.
Na Na Karte from Jab Jab Phool Khile (1965): Nanda’s Sixties chic and Shashi’s floppy-haired charm makes this romp through the flowerbeds as much a treat for the eyes as the ears.
Aha Rim Jhim Key Eh Pyare Pyare from Usne Kaha Tha (1960): A rain-laden breeze and a swing is a recipe for romance between Nanda and Sunil Dutt.
Ek Pyar Ka Nagma Hai from Shor (1972): Nanda had only a small role in this film- as hero Manoj Kumar’s dead first wife – but this unforgettable number made up for the brevity of her appearance.