Nargis

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For the town in France, see Nargis, Loiret; For the 2008 cyclone which devastated the Irrawaddy Delta and the city of Yangon, see Cyclone Nargis, for the flower, see Nargis, for the other actress, see Nargis
Nargis Dutt
Born Fatima Rashid
1 June 1929
Calcutta, Bengal Presidency, India
(now Kolkata, West Bengal, India)
Died 3 May 1981 (aged 51)
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Occupation Actress
Years active 1935, 1942–1967
Spouse(s) Sunil Dutt (1958–1981)
Children Sanjay Dutt
Namrata Dutt
Priya Dutt

Nargis Dutt ( 1 June 1929 – 3 May 1981), born Fatima Rashid but known by her screen name, Nargis,[1] was an Indian film actress. She is widely regarded as one of the greatest actresses in the history of Hindi cinema. She made her screen debut as a child in Talash-E-Haq in 1935, but her acting career began in 1942 with Tamanna. During a career that spanned from the 1940s to the 60s, Nargis appeared in numerous commercially successful as well as critically appreciated films, many of which featured her alongside actor and filmmaker Raj Kapoor.

One of her best-known roles was that of Radha in the Academy Award-nominated Mother India (1957), a performance that won her Best Actress trophy at the Filmfare Awards. In 1958, Nargis married her Mother India co-star, actor Sunil Dutt, and left the film industry. She would appear infrequently in films during the 60s. Some of her films of this period include the drama Raat Aur Din (1967), for which she got the inaugural National Film Award for Best Actress.

Along with her husband, Nargis formed the Ajanta Arts Cultural Troupe, which roped in several leading actors and singers of the time and held stage shows at border areas.[2] In early 1970s, she became the first patron of Spastics Society of India,[3] and her subsequent work with the organisation brought her recognition as a social worker, and later a Rajya Sabha nomination in 1980.[4]

Nargis died in 1981 of pancreatic cancer, a few days before her son Sanjay Dutt made his debut in Hindi films. In 1982, the Nargis Dutt Memorial Cancer Foundation was established in her memory.[5] The award for best feature film on national integration in the annual National Film Awards ceremony is called the Nargis Dutt Award in her honour.[6]

Early life and background[edit]

Nargis was born in Calcutta, Bengal Presidency, India (now Kolkata, West Bengal), India. Her father was Uttamchand Mohanchand alias Mohan Babu, a wealthy Hindu Mohyal from Rawalpindi (now in Pakistan).[7][8][9] Her mother was Jaddanbai, a Muslim immigrant whose family had settled in the Punjab region. Nargis' family had then migrated to Allahabad from West Punjab. Jaddanbai was a Hindustani classical music singer and courtesan in Allahabad.[10] She introduced Nargis into the movie culture unfolding in India at the time. Nargis' maternal half-brother, Anwar Hussain (1928–1988), also became a film actor. He was born to Jaddanbai and a different husband.

Career[edit]

Fatima was recruited to the cinema at an early age. She made her first film appearance in the 1935 Talashe Haq when she was six years old, credited as "Baby Nargis". Nargis, (نرگس [ˈnərɡɪs]) is a Persian word meaning Narcissus, daffodil flower. She was subsequently credited as Nargis in all of her films.

Nargis appeared in numerous movies after her film debut; she won lasting fame for her later, adult, roles, starting with at the age of 14, in Mehboob Khan's Taqdeer in 1943 opposite, Motilal.[4] She starred in many popular Hindi movies of the late 1940s and 1950s such as Barsaat (1949), Andaz (1949), Awaara (1951), Deedar (1951), Shree 420 (1955), and Chori Chori (1956). In most of her films she starred alongside Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar. Raj Kapoor is also known to have had a longtime romantic relationship with the renowned actress Nargis during the 1950s.[citation needed] The couple starred in several films together, including Awaara and Shree 420.

Her most famous role came in Mehboob Khan's Oscar-nominated rural drama Mother India in 1957. She won the Filmfare Best Actress Award for her performance. Baburao Patel of the film magazine Filmindia (December 1957) described Mother India after its release as "the greatest picture produced in India" and wrote that no other actress would have been able to perform the role as well as Nargis.[11] After her marriage to Sunil Dutt in 1958, Nargis gave up her film career after her last few film releases to settle down with her family. She made her last film appearance in the 1967 film Raat Aur Din. The film was well received and Nargis' performance as a woman who suffers from multiple-personality disorder, was critically acclaimed. For this role she won a National Film Award for Best Actress, the first actress to win in this category. She also received a Filmfare Best Actress Award Nomination for this film.

In 2011, Rediff.com listed her as the greatest actress of all time, noting, "An actress with range, style, grace and an incredibly warm screen presence, Nargis is truly a leading lady to celebrate."[12] According to M.L. Dhawan from The Tribune, "In almost all her films Nargis created a woman who could be desired and deified. The charisma of Nargis's screen image lay in that it oscillated between the simple and the chic with equal ease."[13]

She was also nominated to the Rajya Sabha (Upper house of Indian Parliament) from 1980–81.[1][14] but fell ill and died during her tenure.[15]

Personal life[edit]

Nargis dated actor Raj Kapoor, who was her co-star in the films Awara and Shree 420. Raj Kapoor was already married then and had children. After he refused to divorce his wife that Nargis decided to end their years long relationship.[16] Nargis married actor Sunil Dutt (himself a Mohyal from Jhelum, India). Reportedly, Dutt had saved her life from a fire accident on the sets of Mother India.[17] The couple married on 11 March 1958 and had three children together: Sanjay, Namrata, and Priya. Sanjay went on to become a very successful film actor. Namrata married actor Kumar Gaurav, son of veteran actor Rajendra Kumar who had appeared alongside both Nargis and Sunil Dutt in Mother India. Priya became a politician, and since 2005, has been a member of parliament (Lok Sabha).[17]

Along with her husband, Nargis formed the Ajanta Arts Cultural Troupe, which roped in several leading actors and singers of the time, and performed at remote frontiers to entertain the Indian soldiers; it was the first troupe to perform in Dhaka, after the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 and the formation of Bangladesh.[2] Later, Nargis worked for the cause of spastic children. She became the first patron of The Spastics Society of India. Her charitable work for the organisation got her recognition as a social worker.[2]

Death[edit]

Nargis was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and underwent treatment for the disease at Memorial Sloan–Kettering Cancer Center in New York.[17] Upon her return to India, her condition deteriorated, and she was admitted to Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai. She sank into a coma on 2 May 1981 and died the next day.[17] Her absence at the premiere of her son's debut film Rocky on 7 May 1981, where one seat was kept vacant for her, is a nationally famous event.[17]

Nargis is buried at Badakabarastan in Marine Lines, Mumbai. A street in Bandra, Mumbai was renamed Nargis Dutt Road in her memory after her death.

Awards and recognitions[edit]

The National Film Awards honoured Dutt by instituting the Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration upon her achievement in Hindi Cinema.[19]

Filmography[edit]

Further reading[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b 57. Shrimati Nargis Dutt (Artiste) –1980-81 List of Nominated members, Rajya Sabha Official website.
  2. ^ a b c Dauntless Dutt The Tribune, 29 May 2004.
  3. ^ History The Spastics Society of India.
  4. ^ a b c d Dutt, Nargis (1929–1981) The National Resource Centre for Inclusion, The Spastics Society of India.
  5. ^ About us Nargis Dutt Memorial Foundation.
  6. ^ "PM's remarks at the Release of Book "Mr. & Mrs. Dutt" on Late Sunil and Nargis Dutt". Prime Minister of India. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 9 May 2013. 
  7. ^ T. J. S. George (December 1994). The life and times of Nargis. Megatechnics. ISBN 978-81-7223-149-1. Retrieved 8 March 2012. 
  8. ^ Parama Roy (6 September 1998). Indian traffic: identities in question in colonial and postcolonial India. University of California Press. pp. 156–. ISBN 978-0-520-20487-4. Retrieved 8 March 2012. 
  9. ^ Shyam Bhatia (20 October 2003). "Nargis-Sunil Dutt: A real life romance". Rediff. Retrieved 3 June 2012. 
  10. ^ "India's Independent Weekly News Magazine". Tehelka. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  11. ^ Mishra 2002, p. 65.
  12. ^ Sen, Raja (29 June 2011). "Readers Choice: The Greatest Actresses of all time". Rediff.com. Retrieved 19 September 2011. 
  13. ^ Dhawan, M.L. (9 December 2007). "Queens of hearts". The Tribune. Retrieved 22 September 2011. 
  14. ^ Lady In White
  15. ^ Nargis: A daughter remembers Rediff.com, 1 June 2004.
  16. ^ http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?236030
  17. ^ a b c d e Dhawan, M. (27 April 2003). "A paean to Mother India". The Tribune. Retrieved 7 September 2008. 
  18. ^ "Amitabh, Nargis 'best artistes'", The Tribune
  19. ^ The Hindu : New Delhi News : An award in a different genre The Hindu, 1 July 2007
  20. ^ To Mr. and Mrs. Dutt, with love (Literary Review) The Hindu, 7 October 2007.

External links[edit]