A picture of grace and dignity.
A persona of pleasing compassion with the warmest smile straight from the heart.
An impish beauty who could readily play pranks.
An indignant, deprived girl who fights it out with society on her own.
A quiet, loving, affectionate woman who has the courage to brave the worst for others and craves for only love and respect.
A lonely heart – with all her pain kept well-covered and never shared.
Which song of Nutan do I pick? An amazing repertoire with the widest variety of roles – she institutionalized the deglamorised role in a way no other contemporary actress could.
Shorn of the regular layers of pancake, she still looked the most pleasing and comforting picture of compassion. The distributors did not like the idea of the heroine in plain khadi clothes in Bandini but can you imagine the quiet, courageous Kalyani in chiffon running to be with her ailing love? Nutan never gave these regular razzmatazz of Hindi films more importance than her role deserved. And that made her rise above the ordinary.
Well, on Nutan’s birth anniversary, I am taking the liberty of deviating from the regular song intro to write a short note on an actress who amazed me with every role she did – she lived the character, spontaneous, natural, unaffected. So you watch Kalyani and Sujata and Aarti Sohanlal (Anari) not Nutan.
Sharing here this classical gem from Shankar Jaikishan in Seema,1955, which I am told is based on Raag Jayjaywanti. Lip synching even the most complex melodies came naturally to her and watch the way she strums the tanpura, and closes her eyes just at the right moments, moves her neck in perfect harmony with the notes.
The cinematographer can well afford extreme closeups here – the lip synch and movements are as true to the song as can be and mind you, it’s one complex melody with tons of murkis peppered in. With Nutan there is no danger of fingers playing something the music doesn’t portray.
What an aalap and what a performance at the end – I have to remind myself its Lata Mangeshkar and not who I see on screen! A large credit for this goes to her own knowledge and passion for music – I had read somewhere she had a music room and collected instruments.
Enjoy this evergreen beauty – a Shankar Jaikishan-Shailendra-Lata Mangeshkar team work of excellence!
(Originally written: 4 June, 2017)