Nutan, who is hailed as one of the most talented actresses of Hindi cinema, began working as a teenager in films. Her mother, Shobhana Samarth, was a popular actor who introduced both her daughters in the film Hamari Beti (1950) which she directed herself. The actor, who died on February 21, 1991, from breast cancer, had a strong bond with Shobhana throughout her life, while they were briefly estranged for a while. Nutan recalled how a family friend had disparaged her looks to Shobhana and how her mother, in turn, had comforted her with encouraging words for the future. (Also read: Mohnish Bahl remembers mother Nutan on her 85th birth anniversary, shares vintage pic. See here)
The actor would go on to win five Filmfare Awards for Best Actress. Her notable films included Seema (1955), Sujata (1959), Anari (1959), Bandini (1963), Tere Ghar Ke Saamne (1963), Milan (1967), Saraswatichandra (1968) and Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki (1978). Nutan’s younger sister Tanuja also became an actor and debuted in Hamari Beti with her.
In an old 1956 interview with Nutan, she recalled a moment from her childhood that had always stayed with her. She had said, “I remember when I was four years old a friend of my mother remarked after taking a long and disapproving look at me, ‘Honestly, Shobhana what an ugly child you have!’ I did not quite understand what had been said, but I knew instinctively that it concerned me – and not too favorably. When I asked my mother later what her friend had said and she told me, I was very hurt.”
Nutan went on to say, “But Mummy comforted me and said, ‘You should take that as a compliment. An ugly duckling grows into a beautiful swan.’ That satisfied me, and whenever anyone remarked on my looks, I would say to them, ‘Just you wait and see. When I grow up I shall be as pretty as Mummy.’ I meant it, because I believed what my mother had told me.”
She married Rajnish Bahl in 1959. Her son Mohnish Bahl also joined films like his mother and grandmother. His daughter Pranutan Bahl made her acting debut with Notebook in 2019 opposite Zaheer Iqbal. The romantic drama was produced by Salman Khan, who has worked with Mohnish in a number of films.
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(With Inputs from hindustantimes)