Born in: Bombay (now Mumbai), Maharashtra
Death: February 21, 1991
Nutan was one of the finest actresses known to Bollywood ever. The lady who dominated the Indian silver screen in the 1950s and 1960s, was an actress without par. Her enigmatic screen presence and eyes that betrayed every single emotion took her to the height of cinematic success. It is said that Nutan was a thinking actresses, who could convey the worth of several words through a look or fleeting glance. She never required expansive dialogues or loud histrionics to express emotions. Till date, Nutan remains the actress who has won the maximum number of Filmfare awards.
Childhood and Early Life
Nutan was born as ‘Nutan Samarth’ on 4th June 1936, in Bombay, Maharashtra. She was born in the Samarth family, to Kumarsen Samarth, a director, and Shobhana Samarth, one of the most popular Bollywood actresses of the 1940s. Her sibling, Tanuja also became an actress and married Shomu Mukherjee. Her aunt Nalini Jaywant (Shobhana’s maternal cousin) was also a renowned actress. As a child, Nutan was often taunted as an ugly duckling, who was skinny and not at all beautiful.
Entry in Films
Nutan entered the Hindi film industry in 1950, with the film ‘Humari Beti’, which was directed by her mother Shobhana. Soon after, her mother enrolled her in La Chatelaine, a finishing school in Switzerland. After coming back from there, she was seen in films like ‘Hum Log’ (1951) and ‘Nagina’ (1951). During this time, she was also crowned the first ever ‘Miss India’. Though the earlier films of Nutan became popular and she was even recognized by the audience, it was only in 1955 that she reached the first heights of her career.
‘Seema’, the 1955 film in which she played the role of a delinquent in a reform home, served as the first major boost of her career. Apart from being applauded by the critics and public, Nutan also won her first Filmfare Award for Best Actress. In 1957 came ‘Paying Guest’ (1957), followed by ‘Dilli Ka Thug’ (1958), in which she became one of the few actresses to wear a bikini on-screen. Her uninhibited role in ‘Dilli Ka Thug’ was in start contrast to her intense role in Bimal Roy’s ‘Sujata’ (1959).
Nutan took a brief sabbatical from her movies after the birth of her son Mohnish. In 1963, she came back on silver screen, this time with a refreshing romantic comedy ‘Tere Ghar ke Saamne’ (1963). The same year, she was also seen in Bimal Roy’s ‘Bandini’ (1963). The latter one is touted be her greatest ever performance. Through the rest of the 1970s, Nutan attained the pinnacle of success, with films like ‘Rishte Naate’ (1965), ‘Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya’ (1966) ‘Milan’ (1967) and ‘Saraswatichandra’ (1968).
The decade of 1970s also saw Nutan delivering some of her best performances, especially in films like ‘Saudagar’ (1973), ‘Sajan Bina Suhagan’ (1978), ‘Kasturi’ (1978) and ‘Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki’ (1978). With time, she moved into character roles and was seen in impressive movies, such as ‘Meri Jung’ (1985) and ‘Karma’ (1986). In 1991, after doing ‘Naseebwala’ and ‘Insaniyat’, she left for the holy abode. The movies were released after her death. With her death, Bollywood lost one of its greatest as well as most talented performers.
Personal Life and Death
Nutan was born to parents who were involved in the Indian film industry. However, she witnessed tragedy at a very young age, when her parents got separated. She had three siblings – two younger sisters and a younger brother. Of them, one was Tanuja who also became an actress and is now the proud mother of two daughters – Kajol and Tanisha. In 1959, Nutan got married to Rajnish Bahl, a naval Lieutenant Commander, who was chosen for her by her parents. The coupe had a son, Mohnish Behl, in 1963. She left for the holy abode in February 1991, after suffering from cancer.
- 1956 – Filmfare Best Actress Award, for Seema
- 1959 – Filmfare Best Actress Award, for Sujata
- 1963 – Filmfare Best Actress Award and BFJA Best Actress, for Bandini
- 1967 – Filmfare Best Actress Award and BFJA Best Actress, for Milan
- 1978 – Filmfare Best Actress Award, for Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki
- 1985 – Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award, for Meri Jung
- 1950 – Hamari Beti
- 1951 – Hum Log, Nagina
- 1952 – Shisham
- 1953 – Laila Majnu
- 1954 – Shabab
- 1955 – Seema
- 1956 – Heer
- 1957 – Baarish Chanda, Paying Guest
- 1958 – Chandan, Dilli Ka Thug, Kabhi Andhera Kabhi Ujala, Sone Ki Chidiya
- 1959 – Anari, Kanhaiya, Sujata
- 1960 – Basant, Chhabili, Chhalia, Manzil
- 1962 – Soorat Aur Seerat
- 1963 – Bandini, Dil Hi To Hai, Tere Ghar Ke Samne
- 1964 – Chandi Ki Deewar
- 1965 – Khandaan, Rishte Naate
- 1966 – Chhota Bhai, Chilaka, Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya, Kalapi
- 1967 – Dulhan Ek Raat Ki, Laat Saheb, Milan
- 1968 – Gauri, Saraswatichandra
- 1969 – Bhai Bahen
- 1970 – Maa Aur Mamta, Devi, Maharaja, Yaadgaar
- 1972 – Anuraag, Grahan
- 1973 – Saudagar
- 1975 – Jogidas Khuman
- 1978 – Ek Baap Chhe Bete, Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki, Saajan Bina Suhagan
- 1981 – Kranti, Saajan Ki Saheli
- 1985 – Yudh, Paisa Yeh Paisa, Meri Jung
- 1986 – Sajna Sath Nibhana, Karma
- 1988 – Main Tere Liye
- 1989 – Kanoon Apna Apna, Mujrim
- 1992 – Naseebwala
- 1994 – Insaniyat