Early Life of Nanda
Nanda was born on 8th January 1939 to a Maharashtrian show-business family. Her father Vinayak Damodar Karnataki was a renowned actor, director and producer in Marathi film industry. She lost her father at a young age after which her family encountered much financial crisis. To help out her family, she began working in films as a child artist. She acted in 1950s film Jaggu and was recognized as Baby Nanda then. However her involvement with the silver screen hampered her studies and subsequently she was home coached by a noted school teacher and Bombay Scouts commissioner, Gokuldas V. Makhi. Nanda's brother is also a Marathi film director.
Career of Nanda
Nanda got her first major break through her paternal uncle V. Shantaram who offered her a role in 1956 film Toofan Aur Diya, based on a brother-sister saga. In 1957 she got her first nomination in Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress for the film Bhabhi. Subsequently she played supporting roles in films like Kala Bazar and Dhool Ka Phool. Nanda attained stardom with the 1959 film Chhoti Bahen in which she essayed the title role. The movie was a huge success rendering the actress recognition in the celluloid. Success followed Nanda afterwards as she portrayed lead role in hit movies including Hum Dono opposite Dev Anand, Kanoon and Teen Deviyan. Her performance in the 1960s film Anchal got her the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award.
In her career, Nanda had always lent her full support and encouragement to the newcomers. As an instance, she signed 8 movies with the then novice actor Shashi Kapoor. Their first two films could not earn commercial success, although one of them titled Char Diwari (1961) was applauded critically, the rest went on to become successful at the box office. Nanda changed her on screen image with the movie Jab Jab Phool Khile in which she was featured in a westernized role. Nanda had also recommended Rajesh Khanna to Rajendra Kumar, co-producer of the film The Train, to consider the former for the lead role. Nanda reached pinnacle of success with the 1965 film Gumnaam standing out amongst the leading actresses of Bollywood throughout the 1960s. She got a Filmfare nomination as Best Actress for the suspense thriller Ittefaq opposite Rajesh Khanna. Other hit films featuring Nanda were The Train, Joroo Ka Ghulam, Dharti Kahe Pukar Ke, Parivar, Abhilasha and Beti. In 1972 she portrayed a small role in Manoj Kumar's Shor, a critically acclaimed film. In 1982 she starred in three successful films namely Prem Rog, Mazdoor and Ahista Ahista following which she retired from the acting career permanently.
Personal Life of Nanda
Nanda got engaged to director Manmohan Desai in the year 1992. However, soon after, he died after falling from the terrace of his rented flat. Following this Nanda remained unmarried for the whole life.
Nanda died in a heart attack on 25th March 2014 at her Versova Residence in Mumbai.