Nargis Dutt Birth Anniversary: Lesser-known facts about the 'Mother India' actress

Nargis died of pancreatic cancer on May 3, 1981.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Tuesday, May 31, 2022, 04:46 PM IST
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Nargis was undoubtedly one of the most talented actors the Indian screen has ever had. With her work, on and off-screen, Nargis has sealed her place in the annals of Indian history and the hearts and minds of millions of Indians.

Many would have known her as a woman of substance for the never back down attitude, being a rebel, and yet balancing the societal norms of motherhood and work life.

Nargis died on May 3, 1981, of pancreatic cancer, only three days before her son Sanjay Dutt made his debut in Hindi films with the film 'Rocky'.

On her birth anniversary today, here are some lesser-known facts about her life:

- 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.

- 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.

- 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.

- 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 organisation.

- 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.

- 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?'"

- 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.

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