Nanda would have been 76 had she been alive today (8th Jan 2015). In an era which was populated with legends, Nanda is one of the lesser feted actresses – underrated and not much appreciated – which is a pity. She tends to be associated with weepy, tragedy-queen type of roles. Unfortunately, that was an era where such roles were the norm. Not many people realise that she was actually versatile – just compare her demure sister act in films like Chhoti Bahen and Kala Bazar to the spoilt, pampered, rich girl in Jab Jab Phool Khile, or the sweet girl in Teen Deviyan or the quiet wife in Hum Dono.
I was not very sure whether to do a songs list of Nanda or to review a movie that I have been planning to watch which stars Nanda (Aaj Aur Kal – but the actual reason why I want to watch it is because it also stars Tanuja and Sunil Dutt – actors I am very fond of!)
In the end, time constraints made the decision for me – no movie review for today, just a list!
So, as a tribute to Nanda, here is a list of ten songs picturised on her that I like very much.
1) Kajrey Badarwa (Pati Patni, 1966, Lata Mangeshkar, MD:RDB): One of R.D. Burman’s finest compositions, this is a melodious, romantic ‘rain song’. Nanda plays the woman in love in this number – shy, happy, demure as she goes through her chores waiting for her beloved. This beautiful number, an ode to the romantic monsoons, captures the emotions associated with first love perfectly. Lata Mangeshkar’s voice, the flute and the heady picturisation make it a memorable song.
2) Likha Hai Teri Aankhon Mein (Teen Deviyan, 1965, Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar, MD: SDB): This was probably the first movie I saw Nanda in and this is how I remember her – a sweet, adorable girl next door! Simi Garewal had the glamorous role in this movie and Kalpana played a film star in this movie. Nanda essayed the role of a simple, sweet, adorable girl. This lovely duet is just that – an adorable song as she prances about in corn fields with a charming Dev Anand. The other song picturised on her in this movie, that wonderful seductive Rafi solo, Aise Toh Na Dekho is so very good. But since I had listed in my Rafi list, opted for this one.
3) Na Main Dhan Chahoon (Kala Bazar, 1960, Sudha Malhotra and Geeta Dutt, SDB): Yes, this song is back in my list. This is an all-time favourite bhajan, incidentally picturised on Nanda – who by the way had lip-synched to many bhajans onscreen – guess, it goes with her persona – sweet, simple, gentle and a kind soul. In this movie, Nanda plays Dev Anand’s younger sister (and she is very young here) and in this bhajan, where she appears with her on-screen mother, Leela Chitnis, they pray for strength and the fortitude to resist the evil world and its temptations. An amazing song written by Shailendra composed by Sachin Dev Burman and sung wonderfully by Geeta Dutt and Sudha Malhotra – this one is a classic!
4) Allah Tero Naam (Hum Dono, 1961, Lata Mangeshkar, Jaidev): Okay, another bhajan. Hum Dono had two heroines opposite Dev Anand (who had a double role) – Sadhana and Nanda. Nanda’s role was the smaller one but it was more interesting. If I remember correctly, she played the wife of an army officer (the Dev Anand with a moustache who sang Kabhi Khud Pe Kabhi Halaat pe) who was ill, delicate and a bit indisposed. But the inner strength and moral character that this woman displays when her husband is out at war is remarkable. Both the songs picturised on Nanda in this movie are bhajans – this one and Prabhu Tero Naam. Sahir is the lyricist and the music is by the very talented but underrated Jaidev.
5) Kaise Kahoon (Kaise Kahoon, 1964, Lata Mangeshkar, SDB): This was a tough song to pick. Kaise Kahoon, a not so well-known movie starring Biswajeet and Nanda had a fantastic score by S.D. Burman. Each and every song in this film score is lovely – be it the semi-classical Lata solo Haule Haule Jiya Dole or the exquisite classical Rafi-Suman-SD Batish song Manmohan Man Mein ho tumhi or the wonderful Asha-Rafi duet, Kisi Ki Mohabbat Mein Sab Kuch Bhulake (Is it my imagination or has this tune been used elsewhere? I have a vague recollection of a Tamil song with the same tune… Need to check…).
For this list, here is the lovely title track sung by Lata Mangeshkar. A fairly soppy, sentimental movie, this one had Nanda in love with Biswajeet (who is blissfully unaware of her feelings and falls for another lady) and poor Nanda pines for him. In this sweet song, she is wondering how she can tell him what she feels.
6) Machalti Aarzoo Khadi Baahein Pansaare (Usne Kaha Thha, 1960, Lata Mangeshkar, Salil Choudhary): This movie had Nanda paired opposite one of the finest actors of the sixties, Sunil Dutt. From what I remember of this movie, Sunil Dutt played a bad guy (who dies at the end and hence is redeemed) and Nanda, the sweet Punjabi girl in love with him. It sure had some delightful songs – that amazing Talat -Lata rain duet, Aha rimjhim ke yeh pyaare pyaare geet liye for one. I am very fond of this robust Punjabish Lata solo as well. Nanda is sweet, serene, very pretty as she dances in the fields singing this song. Lovely.
7) Husn Jab Jab Ishq Se Takra Gaya (Neend Hamari Khwab Tumhare, Asha-Rafi, Madan Mohan): The Shashi Kapoor -Nanda pairing was a fairly successful one in the sixties and they did work together in many films such as Juari, Mohabbat Isko Kehte Hain, Jab Jab Phool Khile and this movie. This particular song has Madan Mohan do an O.P. Nayyar! Sung well by Rafi and Asha, this peppy fun song is filmed on snow-peaked mountains and the movie has Nanda in a westernised image (even though I personally prefer her sari clad, simple avatar.)
8) Na Na Karte Pyar Tumhi Se Kar Baithe (Jab Jab Phool Khile, Suman-Rafi, Kalyanji-Anandji): This was an Antakshari favourite back in my school-going days – everyone knew this song! Jab Jab Phool Khile had Nanda play a spoilt, rich modern girl who falls in love with a Shashi Kapoor in Kashmir. The other songs of this movie are also very good. There is the oh-so-romantic Lata solo, the other antakshari favourite (and one of my faves), Yeh Sama Sama Hai Yeh Pyar ka or the tandem song, Pardesiyon Se Na Akhiyan Milana. But the song for my list is this really fun Suman-Rafi duet!
9) Wadiyan Mera Daman (Abhilasha, 1968, Lata Mangeshkar, RDB): Usually when there are two versions to a song (one male and one female), and the male version is sung by Mohd Rafi, I do not like the female version. Rafi’s rendition is usually in my opinion superior. However this song is an exception – I like both the male and female versions! Especially, I love the way the Lata version starts – Nanda remembers Sanjay Khan singing this song for her and she forgets all about the man she is with and dreamily starts singing it herself. Very romantic!
10) Pyar Bhari Yeh Ghatayein (Qaidi No 911, Manna-Lata, Dattaram): Ending this list with a lovely Manna Dey-Lata Mangeshkar duet from this 1959 movie that had Mehmood as the leading man opposite a very sweet and young Nanda. No, he was not Qaidi no 911! The movie’s music is memorable. I could not decide between the sweet Meethi meethi baaton se bachna zara and this one. But chose this song because of its lilting music and Manna Dey!
Yes, this is not a comprehensive list – and as I end it, I am reminded of many other songs which showcased her fine acting abilities, her gentle smile and her good looks! Simple, serene, sweet…that is how I remember Nanda.