"It is shocking as she did not have any history of illness," a relative of hers said on condition of anonymity.

Waheeda Rehman, who was a very good friend of Nanda, rushed to her residence as soon as she got the news, said a source close to the actress.

Born to Marathi film actor-director Vinayak Damodar Karnataki, Nanda began her silver screen career early as a child artist with 'Jaggu' in the 50s.

Her popularity as a child actress made her transition to major roles easier, and she literally grew up on film sets.

But it was paternal uncle-filmmaker V Shantaram who gave Baby Nanda a big break by casting her in 1956 hit 'Toofan Aur Diya' in 1956.

With the success of 'Toofan Aur Diya', Nanda did not look back and went on to establish herself in the Hindi film industry with hits like 'Jab Jab Phool Khile', 'Gumnaam', 'Teen Deviyan', 'The Train', 'Mandir', 'Angarey', 'Ram Laxman', 'Bandi', 'Ittefaq', 'Hum Dono', 'Prayashchit', 'Ahista Ahista', 'Prem Rog' and 'Mazdoor' among several others.

She excelled most often as a supporting star but also found great acceptance and popularity as a lead heroine in later years.

Her identification with the title role of 'Choti Bahen' which stuck in real life. She shared screen space with noted actors like Ashok Kumar, Kishore Kumar, Dev Anand, Waheeda Rehman, Rajesh Khanna and Shashi Kapoor with whom she starred in eight films.

Their pairing in 'Jab Jab Phool Khile' was a huge success and inspired 'Raja Hindustani'. It was for the first time that the actress played a westernised role.

Nanda was nominated for Filmfare Award five times for her performance in Bhabhi (1957), Aanchal (1960), Ittefaq (1969), Ahista Ahista (1981) and Prem Rog (1982).  She won Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award for 'Aanchal'.

After a small role in Manoj Kumar's 1972 film 'Shor', Nanda reduced her work in films. Her other films such as 'Chhalia' and 'Naya Nasha' did not work.

She made a brief return to acting in 1982 as a character actress where she played the onscreen mothe of Padmin Kolhapure in 'Ahista Ahista', 'Mazdoor' and 'Prem Rog'. After that she retired from acting.

Nanda  got engaged to Manmohan Desai in 1992, who died after falling from the terrace of his apartment in 1994.

Nanda's last rites will be performed at 4 pm at the Oshiwari crematorium.


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