The era of 60s turned out to be the Golden period of Hindi films with maximum music based films. And, popular actress happened to be part of this Golden era. Actually, born in Maharashtrian well to do family to Vinayak Karnataki alias master Vinayak, a successful Marathi actor- producer- director, as a child, she had to pass through hard times, when she was just nine years old. Her father passed away at the age of 41. Soon to support her family, she became a child actress with the name of ‘Baby Nanda’, making her debut through the film ‘Mandir’ in 1948.
As experience teaches you everything, later Nanda found a big break through producer director V.Shantaram’s film ‘Toofan aur Diya’ and thereafter, there was no stopping for her. For her very next film ‘Bhabhi’ she received filmfare award nomination for best supporting actress. She played the title role in L.V. Prasad’s Chhoti Bahen (1959). The movie was a big hit, making her a star. She also played second lead in Dhool Ka Phool. Not many people are aware that she played small supporting role in Dev Anand’s film ‘Kala bazaar’ in 1960.
Nanda played lead roles in B R Chopra’s Kanoon (1960), a film with no songs, and then Dev Anand’s heroines in Hum Dono (1961) followed by Teen Deviyan( 1965). Both these films turned out to be ‘hits’ with good music. Nanda was known to encourage newcomers and one of them was Shashi Kapoor. She had signed 8 films with Shashi Kapoor at a time when he was yet to become successful actor in Hindi . Their first 2 films flopped, but the rest were all successful and one of them was super hit film ‘Jab Jab Phool Khile’ (1965). Directed by Suraj Prakash the film celebrated Golden Jubilee. Kalyanji Anandji’s music was another highlight of this film, besides good screenplay and performances by Nanda and Shashi Kapoor. Later, Nanda signed a film in lead with another new hero Rajesh Khanna in the songless suspense thriller Ittefaq (1969) for which she received a Filmfare nomination as Best Actress. This film too became successful at the box office. With the success of this film, she signed two more films with Rajesh Khanna , a suspense thriller The Train (1970) and a comedy Joroo Ka Ghulam (1972). Her last hit film was Manoj Kumar’s ‘Shor’.
After witnessing few flops in 1973 , she took a break and in early 80s she made a comeback, coincidentally playing Padmini Kolhapure’s mother in all the three films Ahista Ahista, Mazdoor and Raj Kapoor’s Prem Rog. It may be recalled that She was among the highest paid actresses during the period 1960 to 1973.
Nanda will be always remembered for her variety of roles in Hindi films, be it ’Aanchal’ , ‘Ashiq’, ‘Dhool Ka Phool’, ‘Jab Jab Phool Khile,’ or ‘Gumnam’,'Abhilasha’, ‘Dharti Kahe Pukar Ke’, ‘Joru Ka Gulam’ or ‘The Train’, she was always at her best. But, her notable performance in B.R.Chopra’s songless suspense filled film ‘Ittefaq’ shall always remain in our memory.