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Nutan’s 5 Finest Films

Nutan’s 5 Finest Films
Written by Subhash K . Jha

Subhash K Jha Picks Nutan’s 5 Finest

Many of her fans consider Nutan to be the finest dramatic actress  of Hindi cinema. The films below prove   her weight in  gold.

1.  Seema(1955):  Nutan played  a juvenile delinquent Gauri who is passed on from one custodian  to another  after  her parents’ death. The character evolves from pointless rebellion to a  sorted   social animal. Nutan, in the infancy  of  her  career  took on  the  complex  character imbuing its  inexpressible  rage  with  dignity and  social relevance. The   actor  par excellence won  the first  of her  5  Filmfare awards  for  best actress. The song Mann mohana  bade jhoothe  that  Nutan sang  in  Lata Mangeshkar’s voice impressed  Lataji  so much that she  declared Nutan as  the actress who conveys  the  nuances in Lataji’s singing  the  best.Amiya Chakravarty who directed Seema worked only once with Nutan.He died soon after  completing Seema.

2.  Sujata(1959): Nutan’s  portrayal  of  the Harijan woman is   so  filled with  an unexpressed angst your heart breaks just watching Nutan’s  vulnerable  face, yearning to be  loved  by the family that has  adopted  her  but not her identity.  The  performance  to this day is  a marvel  of  smothered emotions.Kamal Bose brilliant black-and-white photography captures  the unspoken pain in Nutan’s eyes. The performance  got Nutan her second Filmfare award.  Nutan had two other hit releases the same year  Anari and Kanhaiya both with Raj Kapoor as her co-star.She was  the hero of Sujata.

3.  Bandini(1964):  She can do anything for love.Even kill her beloved’s nagging wife and go to jail.And when a chance to rebuild her life offers itself to Kalyani she shuns it and runs back to the same man who unintentionally ruined her life. Love has never been blinder and the on-screen heroine never more resolute and passionate. Nutan’s dilemma as Sachin Dev Burman sings Mere saajan hain uss paar endures to this day for every woman who is in love.This  was  Bimal Roy’s second and  last film with Nutan.  When  Bimalda offered  the role to Nutan she  refused as she  had just gotten married  and  intended to retire. Apparently  her husband persuaded her to  return where she  belonged.Some faces are made  for the camera  and  then there is  that rare face  for which the camera seems to be invented. Nutan’s  is  that face.

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4.   Saraswatichandra(1968):   Govinda  Saraiya’s convoluted adaptation  of the  Govardhanram Madhavram Tripathi novel was  redeemed by Nutan’s performance and Kalyanji-Anandji’s music.  Nutan played  Kumud, a  progressive educated  girl from a privileged  family who marries  the wrong man  and fights  off all feelings  for  the man she  loves  until  the tragic end. The theme   of  Love Vs Duty cuts through the  lengthy  film nursing  its  wounds but not quite healing the  end-product. Nutan  puts  up a fabulous show  obfuscating her deadpan co-star’s  non-acting with  stinging swipes at societal  subterfuge  and some  of  the loveliest melodies  any heroine has ever  conveyed  on screen Chandan sa badan, Chhod de saari duniya kisike liye….Interesting trivia: Nutan  had  4  uninterrupted  releases  co-starring Sunil Dutt between  1967-69(Milan, Meherban,  Gauri, Bhai Bahen) broken only by Saraswatichandra.

5.     Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki(1978):  The  first 15 minutes of this  lengthy  rambling  but successful melodrama contains Nutan at her  best. She  is  a woman openly jealous of her husband’s  mistress Asha Parekh .Later when  the  Other Woman  dies  , Nutan  brings  up her husband’s illegitimate child as her  own.Standing tall, much taller than the  film, Nutan delivered  a rousing  performance.Asha  Parekh who played  the  Other Woman recalls,  “I was  a big fan of Nutanji. Very scared  to  face the camera with her. She  has such  a powerful presence. But she  never let me feel the weight  of her presence. She  was so  gentle, so  soft.”  Nutan won  her  fifth Filmfare award  for this  performance, a record matched  only by her niece  Kajol.

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