Born as Fatima Rashid on June 1, 1929, legendary actress Nargis is widely regarded as one of the greatest of the Hindi film industry. In an active Bollywood career that spanned for nearly two decades, Nargis delivered some of the most iconic characters of the Indian film industry. Her performance was not only loved by the fans, but it also received critical acclaim.
After marriage with Sunil Dutt in 1958, Nargis slowly started distancing herself from films to focus on her family and her three children- Namrata, Priya and Sanjay Dutt. Sadly, her life was tragically cut short at the age of 51 due to pancreatic cancer. Nargis left behind a legacy that is cherished by Bollywood fans even now. On her birth anniversary today, we look back at her illustrated career and list some of her most iconic performances.
In Mehboob Khan’s Oscar-Nominated Mother India, Nargis essayed the role of a poor village woman named Radha, who struggles to single-handedly raise her sons and survive against a cunning moneylender. Interestingly, the actress was just 28 years old while playing the character of this elderly woman. Nargis’ future husband Sunil Dutt played the character of her son.
Directed by Raj Kapur, Awaara stars Nargis opposite the showman himself. The film revolves around the intertwining lives of poor Raj (Kapoor) and privileged Rita (Nargis).
Raat Aur Din
Director Satyen Bose’s Raat Aur Din earned Nargis her first-ever National Film Awards for Best Actress. She played the character of Varuna, a married woman who has dissociative identity disorder. By day, she is a homemaker, while at night she calls herself Peggy and walks the streets of Calcutta.
The iconic on-screen pair of Raj Kapoor and Nargis was seen once again in 1955’s highest-grossing film, Shree 420. In the film, Nargis plays the character of Vidya, a poor but virtuous city girl who has a soft corner for country boy Raj. However, Raj is soon seduced by an unscrupulous lifestyle and ends up becoming a conman.
Director Mehboob Khan’s Andaz featured three of the most iconic film stars of that era. The film centred around the love triangle of Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapur and Nargis. She played the character of Neena.