Born on: June 4, 1936
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