Ten of my favourite Nanda songs

This wasn’t the post I’d planned for this week on Dusted Off. I’d been thinking, instead, of reviewing a Hollywood film—one which I happened to be watching when I received the news that Nanda had passed away on the morning of March 25. I changed my mind about writing a review; instead, I had to do a tribute to Nanda. Not just because I share my birthday with her, but because I think of her as an actress who deserves to be more highly regarded than she usually is.

Nanda, 1939-2014

Nanda arouses different emotions in different people. I know she does in me. In a weepy family drama like Bhabhi or Chhoti Bahen, she can be far too melodramatic, too easy to dismiss. Few people list her as one of the greatest actresses of the Hindi silver screen. Even fewer think of her as one of the most gorgeous faces, or the best dancers (far from it!) of the 50s and 60s.

What many tend to overlook is Nanda’s versatility, and that is what I like about her. While the more usual image of Nanda is of the sari-draped, demure and very shy young heroine (or, in her early films, the supporting actress) of Qaidi No. 911, Usne Kaha Tha, or Agra Road, she was also the quiet but hopeful wife of a wounded officer in Hum Dono; the sweet neighbour inTeen Deviyaan; the pampered darling of a millionaire father in Jab Jab Phool Khile; and—in one of her most outstanding performances—the mercurial (and intriguing) housewife, alone in her house with an escaped criminal, in Ittefaq.

So, to celebrate Nanda’s life and career—and to wish her farewell—a selection of ten of her songs that I particularly like. These are all from pre-70s films that I’ve seen, and in each song, Nanda’s character does some—if not all—of the singing. In no particular order:

1. Waadiyaan mera daaman (Abhilasha, 1968): While the male version of this song is the more popular one, I also love the female version. Sung by Lata, this rendition isn’t absolutely identical, even as far as music is concerned, to the Rafi rendition. A beautiful, melodious song, and Nanda brings alive the character and her situation. This woman, out on a drive with a male friend (no more than a friend), remembers the song sung to her by her beloved, and begins to sing it too. She’s so lost in her thoughts of him that she even forgets the man she’s with—the dreamy, faraway look in her eyes, the absent-minded way in which she touches the car’s bonnet, or the way she looks out over the hills: all a sign of not singing to herself or to the person she’s with, but to someone far, far away.

Waadiyaan mera daaman, from Abhilasha
2. Likha hai teri aankhon mein (Teen Deviyaan, 1965): In Teen Deviyaan, Nanda played (literally) the girl next door, Dev Anand’s neighbour. Pitted against the glamorous socialite Simi and the popular actress Kalpana, Nanda was the refreshingly playful, down-to-earth girl who thought nothing of going on picnics in the fields, eating bhuttas, chasing after a passing pony (and bagging a lift on it!) This was Nanda at her most adorable and sweet.

Likha hai teri aankhon mein, from Teen Deviyaan
3. Allah tero naam ishwar tero naam (Hum Dono, 1962): One of Nanda’s most famous songs, and one of the very few devotional songs from Hindi cinema that I like. Nanda’s character in Hum Dono was an interesting one: a woman who suffers from a weak heart and who’s had to bid farewell to her husband, an army man. She’s fragile, sheltered, protected—and yet, eventually, not as helpless as one may imagine. And of finer moral fibre than perhaps even her husband realises.

Nanda had a smaller role than the other female star (Sadhana) in Hum Dono, but in this song, with its plea for mercy and peace and brotherhood, Nanda softly shines. The earnestness, the fear in her eyes—yet the perhaps forlorn hope that all will be well—is memorable.

Allah tero naam, from Hum Dono
4. Na main dhan chaahoon (Kaala Bazaar, 1960): And—after having said that I’m not fond of too many bhajans from Hindi cinema—I go on to add another one, also picturised on Nanda (who, interestingly, seems to have had her share of onscreen bhajan-singing; Hum Dono itself had another, lesser-known bhajan, Jo dhyaaye phal paaye; Beti featured Shyaam dhun lagi ).

Here, in Na main dhan chaahoon—my all-time favourite filmi bhajan—Nanda is teamed with Leela Chitnis, in a song that does not weep or beg God for mercy, but merely asks for strength to withstand temptation and the lure of the world. This is a marginally younger Nanda than in Hum Dono, but just as earnest and lovely.

Na Main Dhan Chaahoon, from Kaala Bazaar
5. Pyaar bhari yeh ghataayein (Qaidi No. 911, 1959): This film was an unusual one in several ways: the prisoner for whom it was named was, for one, not the hero of the film. For another, it starred—as a non-comic, fairly run-of-the-mill hero, Mehmood. The good thing, however, was that Qaidi No. 911 had some superb music. I was torn between Meethi-meethi baaton se bachna zara and this one, and finally settled for Pyaar bhari yeh ghataayein, simply because the music is so lovely, lilting and infectious. And Nanda, demure and shy, does seem to fit so well with Mehmood.

Pyaar bhari yeh ghataayein, from Qaidi No 911
6. Jo humpe guzarti hai (Mohabbat Isko Kehte Hain, 1965): Shashi Kapoor started his acting career as an adult in a none-too-heartening way, because no actresses were willing to work opposite this newcomer, even if he was from the illustrious Kapoor clan. Except for Nanda, who agreed to work with him in Mehendi Lagi Mere Haath, and went on to be his co-star in a slew of other films, including Jab Jab Phool Khile, Raja Saab, Neend Hamaari, Khwaab Tumhaare, and Mohabbat Isko Kehte Hain.

Jo humpe guzarti hai is pretty much quintessential Nanda for me: sari-clad, pretty but not glamorous, her hair blown about by the wind, singing of loneliness and sorrow, but also of hope.

Jo humpe guzarti hai, from Mohabbat Isko Kehte Hain
7. Yeh samaa, samaa hai yeh pyaar ka (Jab Jab Phool Khile, 1965): Another film that starred Nanda opposite Shashi Kapoor, but a Nanda poles apart from the one in Mohabbat Isko Kehte Hain. In Jab Jab Phool Khile, Nanda played the very Westernised Rita, spoilt by a wealthy father, and used to having her own way in everything. In this song—pretty much towards the beginning of the film—we see a Nanda very different from the Nanda of many earlier films: a sultry Nanda, in white satin, singing of the beauty of the night, a night made for romance.

Yeh samaa, samaa hai yeh pyaar ka, from Jab Jab Phool Khile
8. Jaan-e-chaman shola badan (Gumnaam, 1965): Like Yeh samaa, samaa hai yeh pyaar ka, Nanda in a markedly different avatar from her Bhabhi and Hum Dono roles: in Gumnaam, she’s quite Westernised (down to the point of a daaru song, with Helen)—and she doesn’t seem at all uncomfortable in this seductive song. I admit I would have far preferred Asha singing playback for Nanda (Sharda isn’t a favourite of mine). And a jungle possibly peopled by spooks and/or murderers doesn’t appeal to me as a venue for a bit of cootchie-cooing. But the song itself, music and lyrics, is deliciously sexy, and the chemistry between Nanda and Manoj Kumar is good.

Jaan-e-chaman shola badan, from Gumnaam
9. Aha rimjhim ke yeh pyaare-pyaare geet liye (Usne Kaha Tha, 1960): Besides Shashi Kapoor, another actor who often starred opposite Nanda was Sunil Dutt, her co-star in films like Aaj aur Kal, Nartaki, and Usne Kaha Tha, all far from frothy films that dealt with various socio-political issues, and human nature with all its frailties and flaws. Usne Kaha Tha was not a peppy film—it was about a doomed love—but Aha rimjhim ke yeh pyaare-pyaare geet liye was a delightful song, light and catchy. And Nanda was perfect as the fresh-faced, innocent Punjabi village girl who falls in love with the local bad boy.

Aha rimjhim ke yeh, from Usne Kaha Tha
10. Tie lagaake maana ban gaye janaab hero (Bhabhi, 1957): Bhabhi was by no means a laugh riot. It was, to be honest, a frightfully depressing and melodramatic film, in which Nanda played a child widow who grows up unaware even that she is a widow or was ever married. Bhabhi, however, had as a saving grace some good songs—and Tie lagaake maana ban gaye janaab hero was Nanda’s chance to show what an unfettered clown she could be. She prances about, making faces, dancing, wheeling Jagdeep along in his chair as she teases him mercilessly.

Tie lagaake maana ban gaye, from Bhabhi
RIP, Nanda. You will be missed. Your sunny smiles and laughing eyes, your dignity, your ability to make your characters so believable—all will be remembered.


82 thoughts on “Ten of my favourite Nanda songs

  1. You managed to pinpoint the usp of Nanda so well. She indeed was so versatile. She was perfect as a lady, a sweet lover-girl, a sister. A lot of my friends don’t like Nanda, but I do. My cousin once had a crush on her, and his cupboard was full of cutouts of Nanda pictures. I am sure he will be sad she is gone. One never forgets one’s movie crush.

    Nanda looked really really lovely in Teen Deviyan. I am also not a fan hers in her sad sack avatars, but what could she have done? Those films were so de rigueur then.

    I am so glad you listed Tie laga ke from Bhabhi here. Granted the movie made you feel horribly maudlin towards the end, but I like the sparkling moments of family togetherness in the film at the start. The two Nanda songs (and the lovely Shyama one) are really good. I love both ‘Challi challi re patang’ and this one. ‘Challi challi ‘ used to be more popular on radio, but ‘tie lagake’ was such a fun song.

    RIP Nanda, you sure gave us a lot of joyous moments.

    I love Nanda in this song as well.



    • ” I am also not a fan hers in her sad sack avatars, but what could she have done? Those films were so de rigueur then.

      Very true. I think it was the same with Nutan in the late 60s – there was this entire bunch of films (Milan, Khaandaan, Meherbaan, Devi etc) which were terribly melodramatic, a far cry from the enjoyable films Nutan worked in during the 50s and early 60s.

      Still, despite those occasional ‘ sad sack avatars’ (good description!) – which I try not to think of – I generally like Nanda, especially in films like Teen Deviyaan. And The Train was fun. Thank you for posting Kis liye maine pyaar kiya, Ava. This was on my shortlist, but got dropped.


      • i watched a movie yesterday called parivaar featuring nanda and jeetandra. nanda ji was looking absolute chic and jeetandar was very handsome too. its main message was to spread the importance of family planning in India and with some comedy tracks like jeetandar running around without clothes. nanda behaving in bossy manner to kick ladka wallas who came to see her and rajendar nath in usaul self. also jeetandar friend’s sister trying to woe him was very funny. i really enjoyed this movie. i watched only one hour and more. i loved it. even jumped fro my seat when jeetandar goes to take cloth in rajendar nath office.


  2. Madhu
    Nanda’s passing away was an absolute surprise. A celebrity in her last days generally comes to media notice. No report of illness – her death just shows how she was treated in her life – underrated and ignored. You have posted a very deserving tribute.

    I thought her Toofan Aur Diya would find a mention. Since you have included duets, my top favourites are the two duets from Mohabbat Isko Kahte Hain:

    1. Thahariye hosh mein aa lun to chale jaaiyega
    2. Humse hoti mohabbat jo tumko



    • Yes, AK. This came as such a shock, a real bolt out of the blue. And she wasn’t even that old.

      I had been dithering between posting Jo humpe guzarti hai and Thahariye hosh mein aa loon, then finally settled for the former, mainly because I’d decided that I’d try to focus on solos. And Jo humpe guzarti hai is such a beautiful song. But I love Thahariye hosh mein aa loon too, so I’m glad you posted that. Humse hoti mohabbat jo tumko is another lovely one, but of the two duets Thahariye hosh mein aa loon wins for me. :-)

      Toofaan aur diya is a film I haven’t seen….


  3. Iam particularly not a fan of Nanda but I liked her in humdono, Tenndevian ( with dev anand)gumnaam, jab jab pool khile .The train and Itefaq (with Rajeshkhanna
    In the song ‘ gulabi ankhe)
    Asha Nanda Sadhana Mala Shaira and waheeda all belongs to the golden era. They hava all enriched the silver screen with individual charm and grace. Never again we witnessed that beauty.
    RIP Nanda


    • ” They hava all enriched the silver screen with individual charm and grace.

      Very well said. There was something about all these ladies that combined beauty with grace, making them – for me – enough reason in themselves to watch any film they starred in. Some duds, of course (and everybody seems to have worked in at least a couple of avoidable films!), but by and large, some fine films too.

      Nanda will be missed.


    • Husn jab-jab ishq se takraa gaya is very fun and peppy, isn’t it? Madan Mohan sounding rather like OP Nayyar there.

      Yes, Usne Kaha Tha isn’t the film you should be watching if you’re looking for a barrel of laughs. It’s a well-made film, sensitive and realistic, but tragic, too.


  4. What sad news! I like Nanda as an actress, she wasn’t a conventional beauty but I think thy she was a versatile actress. My mother especially is a great fan of hers, she’s going to be so sad to find out that she has passed away.

    Another silver screen star from yesteryear gone :-(

    RIP Nanda, she is forever immortalized on screen and may she be remembered fondly for her contribution to Hindi cinema for generations to come.


    • Yes, Nanda’s versatility was her strong point. You see her in Hum Dono, and you see her in Ittefaq – so completely different. And I don’t know how many leading ladies of the day would have taken on a role like the one Nanda played in Ittefaq.


    • Yes, I’ve seen Raja Saab. It reminded me a little of Jab Jab Phool Khile – similar story of rich woman falling for an illiterate country bumpkin and giving him a makeover… I didn’t much care for Jab Jab Phool Khile, but at least some of its songs are better than those of Raja Saab, which were pretty forgettable.


  5. When the news of her death broke out yesterday;I was shocked as there was no news of her ill-health was in the media.An age of simplicity and innocence came to end with her death.She was an humble human being and an actress who never threw tantrums even when she was at the peak of her career.She provided boost to the careers of legends such as Rajesh Khanna and Shashi Kapoor in “TheTrain” and “Jab Jab Phool Khile” respectively when they were struggling for a hit.She even acted opposite the then newbies such as Jeetendra without any superiority complex.I saw her first in “Hum Dono” where she was pitted against my favorite actress Sadhana;but she stood out as a devout and supporting wife.The climax of
    “Hum Dono” when she meets her husband who has lost his leg in action;the scene was quite poignant and touching and she portrayed the emotions brilliantly.I have not seen her earlier films;but in films such as “Jab Jab Phool Khile”,”Ittefaq” and “Parivar” she proved her versatility as an actress.
    Some of my favorite song of featuring Nanda are-
    “Humne Jo Dekhe Sapne” from Parivar

    “Ek pyar ka nagma hai” from Shor

    May her soul rest in peace!
    P.S.-Sorry for the treatise;I just could not contain my emotions :(


    • That wasn’t a treatise, coolone160! You expressed your feelings, and I agree completely with what you say. (In fact, when I was writing about Nanda’s character in Hum Dono, the scene which stood out most vividly in my mind was that last one, when she finally meets her husband. It’s so touching and beautiful, just thinking about it gives me gooseflesh).

      I have to admit I’d forgotten about Humne jo dekhe sapne – possibly because Parivar was a film I couldn’t bear! I would list that as one of those films one mustn’t watch. ;-) The song is nice, though, and those flowering trees are gorgeous…

      Thank you for posting Ek pyaar ka naghma hai! I couldn’t have posted that in my list since it’s from the 70s, but I love the song. I posted it on Facebook when I first heard that Nanda had passed away. Ironic, considering she had just a cameo in Shor, but this is the one song from Shor that really stands out for me.


  6. I can’t say Nanda was one of my favourite heroines, but yes, I liked her a lot in Hum Dono, especially in the song you listed: Allah tero naam. There was a sad sweetness to her in that song that was very, very endearing, and very relatable.

    I didn’t like her much in her ‘westernised’ avatars; she just couldn’t carry off those tight churidars and bouffant hairdos very well. She was very pretty in her earlier films with her hair in a simple braid, in a sari or skirt.

    Yet, I felt indescribably sad when I heard of her death. From all that was written about her, and from interviews with costars over the years, she seemed to have been a gentle soul, kind and cheerful. When good people die, the loss is two-fold. Thank you for writing such a heartfelt tribute to her that celebrates her strengths.


    • “When good people die, the loss is two-fold.

      So true, Anu. I’ll confess I haven’t seen or read much about Nanda, but I can well believe that she was a sweet and kind soul. There certainly seemed something very gentle and genuine about her. Sort of what shines out in Allah tero naam?

      Oh, yes. The Westernised avatar did nothing for Nanda. Wasn’t it you who’d written about Sadhana doing everybody a disservice by popularising the skinny-fit churidar-salwar, because while she had the figure to carry it off, the others didn’t? Waheeda Rehman was another who looked very out of place in Western clothes. Not that she didn’t have the figure for dresses; she just looked uncomfortable in them.


      • Yes, I said that in my Sadhana post. :) Honestly, think of it – Asha Parekh? Saira Banu? Nanda? Even Waheeda. I think the only other heroine who could have carried it off at that time was Sharmila, and Mumtaz in her earliest days. After that, even she couldn’t.

        I think it is because they were all, well, bottom-heavy, for want of a better word. And tight kameezes that hugged your hips really emphasised the backside. And you’re right, Waheeda Rehman did look very uncomfortable in western dresses, especially in her later years. (She seemed fine in Solva Saal.)


        • You’re right about Waheeda looking comfortable in Western clothes in her early films. I don’t remember her in anything but the sari in Solvaan Saal, but she was fine in Ek Phool Chaar Kaante. But in Baazi… oh, dear. She looked like she wished she were back in saris or salwar-kurtas.

          I disagree about Mumtaz being able to carry off churidar-kurtas in her earlier films – quite the contrary. I think in something like Aadmi aur Insaan, if she hadn’t been in dresses most of the time, she’d have been gorgeous in a clingy churidar-kurta, but in Mere Sanam, when she was pretty chubby, she didn’t really look too great in them.


          • When I first read your comment, I said to myself, ‘Waheeda wasn’t in Baazi, was she?’ and then I realised there must have been a later film by the same name. :) There is one song in Solva Saal where she is trying to manao-fy the guy; if my memory serves me right, she is drenched at the end, and changes out of her sari into a nice pair of slacks and a three-quarter sleeved top. (Vague memory, but I remember thinking then that, oh, Waheeda wears western clothes too?)

            About Mumtaz, ah, true dat. :) I must confess to have been thinking of her in Mere Humdum Mere Dost where she quite rocked the look. But even then, she had *hips*!


            • The Waheeda Rehman Baazi was a 1968 one, opposite Dharmendra. It was a suspense thriller, of which I was sadly able to watch only about half, before the electricity went kaput. I’ve always wanted to see the rest of it, because it seemed quite interesting.

              Oh, yes; now that you mention it, Mumtaz certainly rocked the look in Mere Humdum Mere Dost. I also remember her looking very stylish in fitted churidar kurtas in Humraaz.


  7. DO, I think you captured Nanda’s standing in Hindi cinema beautifully. For my part, she was always one of those stars that I did not have a strong opinion about one way or the other. I really disliked the melodrama of her role in films like “ChhoTi bahen” but did not mind her in films like “Hum dono”. But I almost always associated my like or dislike to the characters that she played rather than the actress herself. Which is a good thing. However, she did not really elevate any role that she played either. As I read your tribute, I found you articulating a lot of what I felt but had never cared to to clarify even in my own mind.
    She did have some lovely songs picturized on her like the ones you pointed out. I am particularly fond of “Yeh sama sama hai yeh pyaar ka” – had not seen the picturization for years – huuuuuuge let-down when I did see it.

    One film with lovely music that starred Nanda was a lesser-known one called “Kaise kahooN” with music by S D Burman. Here are a couple of my favorites from it picturized on her. The first one is outstanding. I saw this film once years back and I vaguely recall it as being watchable. DO, if you have not seen it, I would put it on your list (with low expectations :-) )

    The other song that I associate with Nanda – completely bathed in the rona-dhona mode is this one from “Toofan aur diya” – ethereal song sunk by the scene

    Nanda’s had spent a lot of the latter part of her life in relative privacy, particularly after the death of Manmohan Desai, which was a severe blow. Her death is the passing of yet another well-recognized veteran of the film industry. And that is what makes me particularly sad.


    • sangeetbhakt, thank you for the appreciation! And for the recommendation – I haven’t seen Kaise Kahoon, so I’m putting it on my to-watch list. Haule-haule jiya dole is lovely (hadn’t heard it before), and the title song of the film is even lovelier. I’ve read the synopsis of the film below the Youtube video, and it sounds to be a melodramatic one. But I will watch, if only for the songs!

      That’s a very young Nanda in Piya te kahaan aa gayo, isn’t it? I see it was released in 1956, so when it was filmed, she must have been about 16. She does look quite a baby. Beautiful song, but oh, so sad.

      ““Yeh sama sama hai yeh pyaar ka” – had not seen the picturization for years – huuuuuuge let-down when I did see it.

      Hehe! Yes, it does rather fall flat on the picturisation front. That dress really doesn’t suit Nanda, and she can’t manage that slinky slither. ;-)


      • “Kaise kahooN” is well worth watching just for the music. One of my personal favorite songs is a lovely Asha/Rafi duet that is not picturized on Nanda. Guess SDB liked the tune too cause he re-used the exact same tune just with different interludes in Dr. Vidya. This does not happen too frequently. And oh he changed sisters the second time, but kept Rafi. And then that tune was varied a bit and re-used in Tamil too.


          • The Asha/Rafi duet in “Kaise kahooN” is “Kisi ki muhabbat me”.
            The Lata/Rafi duet in “Dr. Vidya” is “Mai kal phir milooNgi”.
            And the S Janaki/SPB duet in Tamil is “Then sindudhe vaanam” from “PoNNukku thanga manasu”.

            All songs are available on youtube. But since this is a thread about Nanda, I am not including them here.


            • Okay, thanks so much. I remember Main kal phir miloongi, but the other two are unfamiliar to me.

              And thank you for the sensitivity to not post the links here. That would not have occurred to most people. I appreciate it a lot.


              • Actually, kissi ki mohabbat mein is picturized on Nanda (and Biswajeet) so you can post a link to the song.:-) I liked Kaise Kahoon and not just for the music. The plot isn’t completely run-of-the-mill and the characterizations are more nuanced than usual. Definitely worth a watch.


                • Thanks for the correction. I had not seen the picturization since I saw the film 20+ years back. And for some reason, I thought it was filmed on Biswajeet and Naaz (not Baby Naaz any more though I couldn’t help feeling like it was just sooooo wrong to see her paired with Biswajeet as the second heroine). One added advantage of your post was that the film version of the song has an extra verse that I had forgotten about – and it would have stayed that way if it had not been for your post above. Here is a link to the song:


  8. I will not deny that I was deeply saddened by Nanda’s sudden death, I have some fond memories of her. I remember my mother telling me how after they were all returning home from the premiere of Gumnaam, Nanda began to teasingly yell out at my father, “Heh murderer!”. Then there was the time we coincidentally happened to be travelling together to Hyderabad. My father was going there for the shooting of Choti Bahu and she along with the Chopra brothers was going to attend the premiere of Itefaq in Hyderabad. We had accompanied my father because my brother and I had our Christmas holidays. I remember my father chatting with her during the flight and congratulating her (the film had already released in Bombay) for her performance in the film. Her happiness at being praised was very childlike, although I was then a child myself, I found her reaction quite appealing. Thinking back I realize that her reaction was that of a humble person.
    Your list as usual is comprehensive, I will just add one more song to it, my childhood favourite


    • Shilpi, those anecdotes are so sweet! Thank you – they do bear out what Anu also mentioned, about Nanda appearing a very gentle and sweet soul. I especially loved the anecdote about her being so pleased with your father’s praise for her performance in Ittefaq. What a heart-warming little story. Bless her.

      Oh, yes, Akashdeep was another film that featured your father and Nanda. My favourite song from the film doesn’t have Nanda’s character singing (it’s this one, Mujhe dard-e-dil ka pata na tha):

      …but Mile toh phir jhuke nahin is another lovely song. It had been on my shortlist for this post.


        • Wow! That is generous indeed.

          You do know about the bit of trivia related to the ending of Jab Jab Phool Khile? It’s the scene where Shashi Kapoor is standing in the doorway of the train, and Nanda is running along on the platform – and he finally grabs her and pulls her in just as the platform ends. The director Suraj Prakash had briefed Shashi Kapoor very carefully on exactly when to pull Nanda in, and Shashi Kapoor followed his instructions precisely. So precisely, that he caught her almost as the platform ended. Suraj Prakash in fact got so terrified that Shashi would not be able to catch her in time and she would fall, that he shut his eyes.That last shot, therefore, got filmed without the director actually watching. :-)


  9. Sweet and thoughtful tribute, Madhu. Your point about there being more to Nanda’s career than the standard-issue Hindi film heroine roles is a fair one – she venture beyond the obvious. Like her contemporaries, she was blessed with some great music in her films. One of my favorites:


    • Yes, she did venture – later in her career – into realms a lot of other lead actresses would have shied away from (Ittefaq is a prime example). It’s interesting, too, that the two major songless films I recall from the 50s and 60s – Kanoon and Ittefaq – both starred Nanda.

      Mile toh phir jhuke nahin is a lovely song. :-) It was on my shortlist.


      • How funny that I mentioned “mile to phir jhuke nahin” right after Shilpi.:-) To recompense, here’s another favorite from a movie where she played a very different role from the norm – that of a drug addict!


  10. Was not online the last couple of days. Only just got to hear of Nanda’s death. I liked Nanda – she had a lovely smile. I agree with you that she wasn’t quite given the recognition she deserved. You’ve listed many of my favourite songs featuring Nanda. Another song i like a lot is “ye waadiyan, ye fizaayen, bula rahi hain tumhen” from Aaj Aur Kal. That smile can be seen in this song. :-)


    • Oh, yes, Raja. That trademark Nanda smile. :-) So sweet, and so adorable. She may not have been a classic beauty like Madhubala, but that smile could project so much shy sweetness, I always got the impression that Nanda was possibly a very nice person in real life too.

      Yeh waadiyaan yeh fizaayein is a favourite of mine, but I couldn’t put it on this list because it’s not a duet, but hey – why not post it here!


  11. A lovely tribute DO with some of her best songs showing her versatility.
    Rest in peace Nanda.

    I liked Nanda a lot. She was gentle, graceful and had the sweetest of smiles. All this remained intact in her later years too from what one saw in some rare pictures.
    Like many of the actresses of her time she too started as a child artiste to support her family. I found this song of a little known film from 1957 called Laxmi. So young and fresh.


  12. This is sad news indeed. Nanda was among my favorite heroines and there was something sweet, quietly beautiful and in a way comforting about her. Gumnaam is one movie I’m never tired of watching. Jab jab phool khile, Ittefaq, Hum Dono, Akashdeep, Teen Deviyan are some of the movies I’ve seen of her as a leading lady. In later roles, I loved her in Prem Rog – particularly in the scene where she confronts Shammi Kapoor about her daughter’s rape. She was one fiery mother in the scene and it gave me goosebumps. She was great also in Mazdoor as the ever supportive wife to Dilip Kumar in a beautifully understated performance.

    I found myself shedding some tears at the news of her death since there was something endearing about Nanda. Her demise meant the demise of the versatility of simplicity and understated beauty. She represented the “girl next door” image so well and one could see in her some aspect of oneself – not everyone in this world is made for or relishes glamour and most women are beautiful in their own simple and unassuming ways. That is what Nanda embodied for many people, I think. Even in her glamorous roles, there was a certain dignity and simplicity about her that an ordinary girl could relate to in some way. For me she will always be a wonderful though under-rated actress who deserved more recognition than she got.


    • Very well said, simplegal. (incidentally, as I read your comment, I thought that your nom de plume – ‘simple gal’ – could well have been a description of Nanda). She had a gentle sweetness and simplicity about her that I find very appealing. I haven’t seen Mazdoor and I don’t remember that scene from Prem Rog (though I do recall her being in that film), but I know what you mean – she was amazingly versatile.


  13. Madhu, very good selection. A few of my favourites are “Prabhu Tero Naam”, “Mujhe Gale Se Laga Lo”, “maut kitni I bhi sangdil”, “jhukti ghata”, “neend ud jaaye teri”, (which to me is a Nanda song-what acting!!)


    • Jhukti ghata is a lovely song, too, no? But since I’d used it in that hawa list only a few days back, I didn’t want to repeat it now. It’s in some ways very similar to Pyaar bhari yeh ghataayein – besides the basic similirity in lyrics and picturisation, there’s a similarity in the frothy, carefree tone of the melody too. I think!

      Neend ud jaaye teri isn’t one of my favourite songs, but you’re right about Nanda’s acting. She is great, you can see her pain in her eyes.


  14. Thanks, Madhu, for a heartfelt tribute to one of my favorite actresses (finally, I have confessed!) even though she came in too many weepy movies for my taste. When I was in the sixth or seventh grade, one of my classmates had written to her and she had sent a very nice thank you note, as well as a signed photo of hers. So, of course, I sent one too, addressed to: Nanda, Farrokh lodge, Perry cross Road, Bombay. (This is amazing even to me, I remembered that address after all these years – 53, no less!) and she was nice enough to send me also a reply! Unfortunately, I have no idea what happened to that reply! But it does show that there was a friendly side to her that responded to a ten year old girl, who probably didn’t even know how to write a decent letter. This is why I have always liked her, even if I didn’t care for all her weepy roles.
    One of my favorite songs starring Nanda is “Jhukti ghata gaati hawa …” from Dhool ka PHool, and I liked her role in that movie. She convinces her husband to bring her son’s best friend home, without knowing that this is her husband’s illegitimate son, over his objections to “a boy from an unknown background”, after her own son dies in an accident.
    Thanks again for the tribute to a gentle and dignified soul!


    • That is such a lovely little anecdote, Lalitha! God bless her soul – to take the time out to personally reply to fans is quite something, especially as 53 years ago, Nanda must have been pretty much at the peak of her career and fairly busy. The more I read what people like you, Anu and Shipli have to say, the more (illogically!) proud I feel that I was born on Nanda’s birthday!

      I watched Dhool ka Phool for the time just a couple of weeks back. Will post a review someday soon. Yes, Nanda’s character was very sweet and surprisingly broad-minded too in that.


  15. Talking of Nanda songs, here’s one that had been on my shortlist but hasn’t been mentioned by anyone yet. Quintessential Nanda-as-good-little-sister, in Bhaiya mere raakhi ke bandhan ko nibhaana, from Chhoti Bahen:


  16. Such a nice tribute to Nanda, Madhu!
    Very nice. Liked reading it, particularly the introduction part.
    I had nearly forgotten jo hum pe guzarti hain. Thanks for the reintro.
    Thank you Nanda!

    Here are the links to my two posts on Nanda and the playlist as to my favourite Nanda songs.

    The fact, that she acted with so many new faces, shows her magnanimity!

    Thanks for the post, Madhu! A deserving tribute!


    • “The fact, that she acted with so many new faces, shows her magnanimity!

      I was thinking just the same thing!

      And thank you for providing the links to your Nanda posts. I hadn’t visited them since you first published them, so it was good to refresh one’s memory. I think most of the songs you’d listed in those two posts have been covered here either in the list or in the comments – except possibly Kabhi kisi ko muqammal jahaan nahin milta. Even though it’s from a later period, it is a lovely song.


  17. Madhuji, thanks for remembering Nanda. Around 1972 I had read an article in ‘Madhuri’ (Hindi film weekly) about new trends in Hindi cinema then. The author (probably Aravind Kumar, or Harish Tiwari, I cannot remember now) had singled out the advent of Jaya Bhaduri as a milestone that made movies like Guddi and Piya Ka Ghar possible. I was just thinking, if Hrishikesh Mukherjee had made Guddi about 15 years earlier who would have been cast in the title role. And right now the only name that comes to mind is Nanda.


  18. nanda ji death anniversary was on 25th march. i saw a post in which i saw rare pics of her. shashi ji always had praise for her. i read tributes on her. even mala sinha ji came to give interview. she was a gentle lady as waheeda ji, aasha ji, saira ji and manoj kumar said. when ever i watch ek pyar ka nagma hai. i feel she is the soul. thank god sharmila ji backed out. i think nanda ji was best for this. my favorite of hers is jab jab phool khiley and itefaq.


      • whenever i watch Ek pyaar ka nagma hai. i get remembered of my mother when i see nanda ji . i feel nanda ji represent common women. and the child when i see i feel i am that child with my mother. i cannot watch that song. it makes me emotional. now i feel any other actress should have been there.


  19. Your posts are beautiful, glad to see someone from our era, writing about memories that are similar.
    I would like to add “Kis liye Maine pyaar kiya”….also “likha Hai Teri ankhon me” is the number one for me :) Completely agree with thandapaani that teen deviyaan was the movie where Nanda looked the most beautiful..


  20. I have not seen any actress who is better than Nanda in emoting the songs in Hindi movies. One must watch her enacting of songs like Haule Haule Jia Doley; Kisliye maine pyar kiya, Kaise kahoon, kaise Kahoon tohse man ki bathiyaan; Ja re kare badhariya; Baghon mein baharon mein itlata aaya koi; Tahiriye hosh mein aa loon; Kajre badarwa re; Na na karte pyar tumhi se kar baithey; Aise to na dekho ke humko nasha; Zindagi ke safar mein akele they hum; Yeh Waadiyaan yeh fizayen; Her acting skills are also remarkable. Nanda’s role and acting performance in very rarely mentioned movie – Amar Rahey Ye Pyaar is exceptional. Her acting in movies like Choti Behen, Aanchal, Badi Behen, Usne Kaha Tha, Kaise Kahoon, Adhikaar, Ittefaq are par excellence.


    • There are a couple of films among those you’ve mentioned that I’ve never seen. Will look out for them – thanks for the recommendations. (By the way, among her good performances, one I especially like, even though she was not convincing as a dancer, is Nartakee).


      • I too was not very convinced with her dancing skills in Nartaki. However, I liked her skills of silently emoting in the song – “Zindagi ke safar mein akele they hum………”. Her dancing skills – especially the abhinaya skills (one must keenly watch her facial expressions – her eye brows, her eyes and eye lids and her lips) – are otherwise quite good and graceful as can be seen in songs like – Chali chali re patang meri chali re; Baghon mein baharon mein (Choti Behen); Jiya Sharmaye Nazar Jhuki Jaaye (Dulhan).

        Another point that I would like to emphasise is about a movie of Nanda that is intriguingly not mentioned anywhere – “Amar Rahe Yeh Pyaar”. The movie is a very good movie with a story bringing to fore the personal sufferings of common people due to the politics of religion – a topic that is quite relevant in these times.


        • “Another point that I would like to emphasise is about a movie of Nanda that is intriguingly not mentioned anywhere – “Amar Rahe Yeh Pyaar”.

          That’s because I’ve not seen it. But after your previous comment, I had found it on Youtube and have bookmarked it.


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