Nargis Dutt lesser-known facts- Her life was tragically cut short at the age of 51 due to pancreatic cancer.
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.
On Nargis Dutt’s birth anniversary today, here are some lesser-known facts about her life-
1 . Nargis made her acting debut at the age of four in a film ‘Talashe Haq’, produced by her mother, Jaddanbai. She was christened Baby Nargis in the film’s credits.
2 . Young Nargis loved playing badminton and cricket. However, her interest in acting began after she participated in school plays.
3 . Nargis was a happy and carefree girl with lots of friends, however, the principal of her school used to reportedly lecture her on the evil influence of films. The principal feared that Nargis would besmirch the name of the school.
4 . Nargis’s films that released between 1952 and 1954 didn’t perform well. In 1952, she had six releases, and only ‘Anhonee’ was a success. Nargis starred in five films in 1953 and 1954, and none of them was a box-office hit. However, her 1953 film ‘Aah’ has gained a cult status over the years.
5 . Nargis was only 28 years old when she played Radha in the Academy Award-nominated ‘Mother India’. Nargis won Filmfare Award for Best Actress in 1958. It was the first Indian film to be nominated for the Academy Awards.
6 . Nargis was in a long-time relationship with Raj Kapoor, who was married with children. She reportedly asked him to divorce his wife which he refused. She then ended their nine-year-old relationship. It is said that an accident on the sets of Mother India and Sunil’s valiant act of saving her was the reason that triggered their relationship. They married on March 11, 1958.
7 . Nargis was reportedly the first patron of the Spastics Society of India who worked for the cause of spastic children. The actress got her recognition as a social worker for doing charitable work for the organization.
8 . Nargis never followed the bandwagon of her contemporaries and was always in sync with global fashion trends. She sported a short haircut when others would go for their long tresses. She ditched jewellery and wore only cotton saris for which she was dubbed as the Lady in White.
9 . On March 31, 2021, the official Instagram page of Drishyam Films revealed that Nargis was credited for her role in the 1964 film, ‘Yaadein’. The page revealed, that the only actor other than Sunil Dutt who was credited for the one-actor film, was Nargis Dutt even though she only appeared as a silhouette at the very end of the film.
10 . Namrata Dutt remembers her mother Nargis as a fun-loving person. She has been quoted as saying in reports that, “She was a great swimmer. As a young girl, she played cricket and football with her brothers. She’d happily eat paani puri from the chaat wallah down the road. While her nieces wore burqas, she’d say, ‘Who wants to suffer in a burqa?'”
11 . Nargis was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and underwent treatment for the disease at Memorial Sloan–Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Upon her return to India, her condition deteriorated, and she was admitted to Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai. She went into a coma on May 2, 1981, and died the next day.
12 . The film ‘Rocky’ was released only a few days after Nargis’s death. It was her son Sanjay Dutt’s debut film. A seat was kept vacant for her at the premiere on May 7, 1981.