Recollecting Lesser-Known Facts About Nargis On Her 91st Birth Anniversary

Bhubaneswar: Nargis Dutt was one of the most iconic actresses of the black-and-white era of Bollywood, equally famous for her talent and glamour. On her 91st birth anniversary (born July 1, 1929), Odisha Bytes goes down memory here to recount some lesser-known facts about the late diva:

  • Nargis Dutt whose real name was Fatima Rashid had actually adopted “Nargis” as her stage name. She made her first acting debut as a child actress in ‘Talash-E-Haq’ in 1935. During her acting career from the 1940s to 1960s, she mostly acted alongside actor and filmmaker Raj Kapoor.

  • She received the best actress award at Filmfare Awards for her role of Radha in the globally acclaimed film ‘Mother India’ (1957). The movie was also nominated for the Academy Awards. 

mother india

  • In 1958, she married her co-star from ‘Mother India’, Sunil Dutt. Shortly after she left the film industry. But the passion for acting never left her as she appeared on and off in movies, such as ‘Raat Aur Din’ (1967). This movie also fetched her the inaugural National Film Award for best actress.

  • The award for best feature film on national integration at the National Film Awards is called the Nargis Dutt Award in her honour.  In fact, a postal stamp of face value 100 paise was issued by India Post in her  honour on December 30, 1993. 

post of nargis

  • Not many know that Nargis was jointly involved with her spouse in his production venture, Ajanta Arts Cultural Troupe.

  • Nargis died in 1981 of pancreatic cancer and the Nargis Dutt Memorial Cancer Foundation was established in her memory in 1982. Also, she died just three days before her son Sanjay Dutt’s debut film ‘Rocky’ was released.

  • In 2011, listed her as the greatest actress of all time, stating, “An actress with range, style, grace and an incredibly warm screen presence, Nargis is truly a leading lady to celebrate.

  • She became the first patron of Spastics Society of India wherein her work helped gain recognition to the cause and portrayed the star as a social worker. This later helped her win a Rajya Sabha nomination in 1982. She however passed away to cancer during her tenure.

  •  She was also the first film actress to be conferred with the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award, by in 1958.

  • In sync with global trends, Nargis sported a short crop, unlike her contemporaries who reveled in long tresses. She was called the ‘Lady In White’ given her fondness for white sarees. In an interview to the Times of India, her daughter Namrata revealed: “She wore only cotton and organza with little embroidery. She never wore jewellery, maybe just small studs or pearls and two gold bangles. Later, she began wearing a rudraksh mala. She’d chant on the same mala.”

Nargis short crop 1           

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