The industry used to laugh at the skinny Nutan, she was compared to an incense stick! She gave a befitting reply like this

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale - Senior Editor
10 Min Read


A career of four decades, more than 80 films, the only actress in the Hindi film industry who won five Filmfare Awards for Best Actress. That too at that stage of age, when the career of actresses was considered to be on the verge of ending, she was still flying high in the Hindi film industry. Such a successful career, such a high flight, even then Nutan had to go through the pain given by the society, had to listen to taunts. What is called 'body shaming' in today's time, she also had to bear this taunt. It is said that people used to make fun of her and say that if you want to play Nutan's character, then draw a line! She was compared to an incense stick!! But she silenced these people with her brilliant work and career. Today on her birth anniversary and in our weekly segment 'Tuesday Tadka', let us know some interesting stories about the brilliant actress Nutan. Kajol's mother, her younger sister Tanuja is also an actress. When she was a child, her parents got separated. When asked about living without her father, she said, 'My parents separated and I saw my father very rarely. A few months before his death, when he was ill, I was very close to him. I wish I had spent more time with him. It is a regret and guilt I can never forget. Not only because I could not be the daughter I wanted to be, but also because I feel a huge loss for not being able to spend more years of my life with such a warm, caring and talented person. He could have enriched my life so much.'

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Nutan was closer to her mother than her father

She was very close to her mother. She said, 'I was not proud but happy to be recognised as Shobhana Samarth's daughter. Once during a school show, a teacher who was preparing me suddenly said, 'You look like Shobhana Samarth. Are you related to her?' I stammered, 'Wh…Wh…She is my mother.' Years later, my mother met someone in Europe who asked her if she was related to an Indian actress named Nutan!

Started career at the age of 14, was mocked for being skinny

Nutan started her career at the age of 14 with the film 'Hamari Beti' and by the age of 17, she had become a well-known name in the industry. But after doing a few films, she went to study in Switzerland. However, when she returned from there, she was getting film offers. She told, 'I was very thin and there was a joke in the industry that if you want to play Nutan's character, just draw a straight line. My mother was also afraid that I might get TB. So at the age of 17, despite the fact that I had a lot of film offers, my mother sent me to a school in Switzerland.'

Nutan worked hard on herself in Switzerland

Nutan said, 'The one year I spent in Switzerland was the happiest year of my life. I could play, study, be free and do all the things I couldn't do in my teens. I took a secretarial course, which proved to be multifold beneficial. I did typing, accounts, tax work, everything necessary to keep my financial affairs in order. I learned French, which I can still speak and write. When I returned to India, I was 40 pounds overweight and then a wonderful phase began.'

She returned to India and then made a spectacular comeback

After returning to India, Nutan returned to films and never looked back. She still holds the record for winning the most Filmfare Awards for Best Actress. 30 years later, in 2011, her niece Kajol equalled her by winning 5 awards in this category. She is the second most awarded female actress after Jaya Bachchan, who has won 6 awards for acting. She was awarded the Padma Shri in 1974.

Nutan attributed her success to luck

But, despite everything, she never let it get to her head. She had said, 'I got a lot of things in life very early. I think I got everything at the right time, but I have managed to hold on to it for a little longer than many people. In case of actresses, it fades in 15 years or moves to another category. I have been a lead actress for over 30 years and my transition has been gradual and smooth. Yes, I feel a sense of achievement, but the credit for it does not go entirely to me. Luck has played a huge role in it. However, I must admit that it has been easy for me.'

When Nutan slapped Sanjeev Kumar

Nutan slap sanjeev kumar

Nutan slapped Sanjeev Kumar

But her life as an actress has not been untouched by controversies. She once slapped actor Sanjeev Kumar because he was making a statement about their alleged affair. Talking about the incident, she had said, 'Slapping Sanjeev Kumar became a much talked about incident. He had made a very careless, irresponsible statement that they had an affair and that made me very angry. My name has never been associated with any scandal and when he said what he said, I was very angry. I had to put him in his place. When I had said what I had to, I calmed down and said, 'Let's finish the love scene,' and we did that.'

Married to Naval officer Rajnish Bahl

New husband and son

Nutan's husband and son

On 11 October 1959, Nutan married Rajnish Bahl, a lieutenant commander in the Navy. In 1961, the couple had a son, Mohnish Bahl. Though she had announced that she would not return to films after marriage, she returned at her husband's insistence. She said, 'I thought 'Sujata' would be my last film, because I was going to get married and naturally I thought home and family would take priority. But Rajnish said, 'If you were a painter or a writer, I would not ask you to stop your work and I won't do it even if you are an actress. By all means continue, but do fewer films, choose your roles.' Being the wife of a naval officer was a different experience. I rarely socialised with people or went to film parties. Before marriage we just lived off work and home. But now, we had the naval ship, parties and so on. Our interactions increased. Almost every night we were out.'

Breast cancer took her life at the age of 54

cause of death of nutan

In 1991, Nutan was diagnosed with breast cancer. Nutan returned her signing amount for films and asked the producers of Garjna to complete her part of the songs quickly. By 21 February 1991, her cancer had spread to her lungs and she breathed her last at the age of 54.

Nutan's family members' association with films

Nutan was from a film background. Her father Kumarsen Samarth was a director and mother Shobhana Samarth was an actress. But other members of her family were also associated with films. Apart from Nutan, Kumarsen and Shobhana Samarth have three more children. Son Jaideep Samarth, Chatur Samarth and Tanuja. Jaideep is a producer. Chatur is also an actor, but both have not worked in films. Tanuja is a famous actress. Tanuja married director-writer Shomu Mukherjee. Their two daughters Kajol and Tanisha are also in films. Kajol married Ajay Devgan, who is also an actor. On the other hand, Nutan's son Mohnish and his wife Ekta Soni are also actors. They have two daughters Pranutan and Krisha. Pranutan has also entered Bollywood.

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