India News

Yesteryear Bollywood star Nimmi passes away

Mumbai, Mar 26: Nimmi, the doe-eyed star of 1950s and ’60s Hindi movies such as “Aan”, “Barsaat” and “Deedar”, has died after prolonged illness. She was 88.

The actor was brought to a suburban Juhu hospital on Wednesday after she complained of breathlessness. She died in the evening, family sources told PTI.

“She was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday afternoon after she complained of breathlessness. She passed away this evening. She had been unwell for quite sometime. She had been in and out of hospital this year,” the source added.

Nimmi will be buried at a cemetery in Reay Road in Mumbai on Thursday afternoon.

The actor, born as Nawab Banoo, came to be known by her screen name ‘Nimmi’, which was given to her by filmmaker Raj Kapoor, who first spotted her as a shy teen on the sets of his film “Andaz”.

Raj Kapoor cast her as the second lead in “Barsaat” in 1949. The film had three popular songs — ‘Barsaat me hamse mile tum’, ‘Hawa me udta jaye’ and ‘Meri Patli qamar hai’ — picturised on her.

After the success of “Barsaat”, there was no turning back for Nimmi.

Though the actor often played the second fiddle to the popular heroines of her era, she established herself in the roles of ill-fated lover or the feisty village belle.

Such was her popularity that an extended dream sequence was added in “Aan” as distributors felt her character dies too early in the film.

Inspired from William Shakespeare’s play “Taming of the Shrew”, the film had Nadia and Dilip Kumar in lead roles but Nimmi as village belle Mangala left a lasting impression on viewers mind.

The film released with the title ‘Savage Princess’ in England and in France as “Mangla, fille des Indes” (Mangla, the daughter of India).

The actor had created headlined at the London premiere of the film by refusing to let actor Errol Flynn kiss her hand. According to reports, Nimmi told Flynn, ‘You cannot do that, I’m an Indian girl”, which led to headlines like ‘unkissed girl of India’ in the British papers.

Nimmi worked with top actors of her era, including Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand and Ashok Kumar in films “Sazaa”, “Aan”, “Uran Khatola”, “Bhai-Bhai”, “Kundan”, “Mere Mehboob”, “Pooja Ke Phool”, “Akashdeep”, “Love and God”, which was her last film.

She left movies to get married to writer-director S Ali Raza, who passed away in 2007.

Mourning her death, Saira Banu said it was a personal loss to her and Dilip Kumar, who worked with Nimmi in five movies.

“Dilip sahab and I are feeling a deep sense of personal loss at the passing away of our beloved Nimmi ji. She was my elder. She had always maintained close contacts with sahab and I through her beautiful, loving prolific, hand-written personal letters in Urdu.

“Nimmi ji spent good time with my mother Naseem Banu and through my mother and my husband, I built a bond with her. Such stalwarts are rare. Nimmiji will be missed. May Allah bless her with Jannat,” Banu tweeted.

Actor Rishi Kapoor wrote, “RIP. Thank you Nimmi aunty for all the blessings and love for Bobby on its premiere release. You were part of the RK family. Barsaat was your first film. Allha aapko Jannat naseeb kare. Ameen.”

Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt said, “You may win your hearts desire, but in the end you are cheated of it by death. Goodbye Nimmiji”.

“A beautiful and extremely talented actress and a beautiful and humble human being passes on. #RIP #Nimmi ji,” tweeted Jaaved Jaaferi.

PTI

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