Progressive and Unconventional – Nutan

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The sequence in Sujata where the Harijan girl seeks shelter from the rain under Gandhiji’s statue. A college debate in Paying Guest on the contrasting views preferring love over money and vice versa. A sequence in Bandini when Kalyani mixes poison in tea. A hilarious interview sequence from Dilli ka Thug. What a rare combination of beauty and talent Nutan is!!! A rare breed of actress with commitment and sincerity. Effortless and mature, she was equally convincing in breezy and comic roles. Steady, composed and relaxed in every character she played.

Nutan started her career at the age of 14 in the 1950 film Hamari Beti, directed by her mother, actress Shobhna Samarth. She later matured as one of the finest actors of Hindi cinema. She played the whole range of emotions with her fine tuned voice. Unconventional and path breaking roles were her speciality.

She conveyed most of her feelings with her magnificently expressive eyes. She was capable of carrying the audience along with her. From outlining classical Indian saree clad woman to some of bold breaking free roles, Nutan did it with subtlety and undefinable confidence. Her conviction towards acting was visible when she lip synced a song. It was as if she was singing from her heart.


She progressed with her acting skills and cinema. From the pathos driven “Seema” to a romantic comedy “Dilli ka Thug” where she had to match the very unpredictable and multi talented Kishore Kumar. She was seen in a swimming costume for the first time in this film. Not only in acting but she also matched funny song steps with Kishore kumar.

Her pairing with Dev Anand became extremely popular with the audience. They complemented each other very well. Making them one of the most loved romantic pair on screen. Together they amazed every one with the chemistry they shared. Together they have given memorable performances in films like Paying Guest, Tere Ghar ke Saamne, Manzil, Baarish. A lesser known song from Tere Ghar ke Saamne shows their comfort level with each other.

Nutan redefined charm and grace with her natural acting. She got under the skin of the character whether it was glamourised, deglamourised or larger than life. Like Dev Anand, she had a successful pairing with Sunil Dutt, beginning with “Sujata”. Her insightful performance of a sombre, Harijan girl won accolades from every corner.

Similarly she worked alongside Raj Kapoor in films like Chhalia, Dil Hi toh Hai and Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Anari. She lit up the screen giving one crisp performance after the other and never looked back. From the South Indian melodramas to the poignant literary adaptations, Nutan gave exquisite performances, winning hearts film after film. Even after she crossed 40, she was offered interesting roles. She painted strength of character in films like Saudagar, Sajan Bina Suhagan, Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki. Gracefully moving away to the character roles, fascinating every one with her multiple talents, even a vampish role with grey shades in Sajan ki Saheli.

Even towards the end of her career, Nutan was offered pivotal roles like in Meri Jung, Karma. She shared screen space with the thespian Dilip Kumar for the first time in Karma. Nutan again came out with flying colours. She shared a sweet rapport with Dilip Kumar in Karma, giving it a fresh touch with her skills. And all this towards the end of her career.

As she progressed through her cinema age, she had the ability to be unconventional with grace, sweetness and sensitivity. Though soft spoken, she made a strong impact on the audience. During her long stint as an actor, Nutan was conferred upon by various awards. Her striking personality and acting prowess made the audience love her throughout the span. Power packed performances, intriguing looks, makes Nutan one of the most unconventional and progressive actresses of Indian cinema.

Avid music lover and Dev Anand fan

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