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The endearing Chhoti Behen

Arnab Banerjee profiles Nanda, the iconic and reclusive star of yesteryears, on her birthday.

entertainment Updated: Jan 10, 2006 18:48 IST

Nanda, the star of yesteryears will remain forever etched in memory as the sweet girl, be it whether she played the lead role or was cast as the endearing sister. She made her debut in Toofan Aur Diya in the year 1957 but the film was not a commercial success and its lead actress Nanda couldn’t make a mark though she did have some half a dozen films lined up for release.

What followed were also films which didn’t really make her a dependable actress - one who could be guaranteed to set the cash registers ringing. It was tough anyway to be able to create a space among great actresses like Meena Kumari,Nargis, Nutan, Madhubala, Vyjayantimala who ruled the film industry. But Nanda stuck on and continued doing films- some lead roles, others second lead and some important but small roles in many films thereafter. Shatranj, Devghar, Bandi, Bhabhi, Qaidi No 11, Dulhan, Pehli Raat, Naya Sansar were some of the films which were released but didn’t do great business at the box office. It was the year 1959 that changed the course of her career.

Nanda stole the hearts of millions as the ChhotiBehen in the film by the same name. The film's superhit rakhsha bandhan song, Bhaiya mere rakhee ke bandhanko nibhana, made her a celebrity and she became a household name.

She was the little girl who stole hearts as the

Chhoti Behen

and was nicknamed

'Chhoti Behen’

for good. That was the year 1959 and Nanda had finally arrived. Or so she thought. She would have remained the ‘little sister’ for the rest of her life had she not accepted other film offers that helped her come out of the 'sister' image and prove her acting potential. The title role of LV Prasad's

Chhoti Behen

and its superhit

rakhsha bandhan

song

Bhaiya mere rakhee ke bandhan

ko nibhana

made her a true blue celebrity, though not the top rung star. The audience wept along with her, as they followed the tearjerker and she became a household name.