Yesteryears’ actress Nimmi passes away at 88

Yesteryears actress Nimmi passed away at her residence in the city on Wednesday evening. She was 88, and had been ailing for a while now. Her last rights will take place on Thursday afternoon.

Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt was among the first to convey condolences. “You may win your hearts desire, but in the end you are cheated of it by death. Goodbye Nimmiji,” Bhatt wrote on Twitter.

Her demise was confirmed by trade analyst Komal Nahta on social media. “Yesteryear actress Nimmi ji passed away. She was 88. May her soul rest in peace,” tweeted Nahta.

Nimmi, whose name was Nawab Banoo, made her Bollywood debut in Raj Kapoor’s 1949 release, “Barsaat”, which was Kapoor’s first major hit. The film co-starred Nargis.

In fact, the screen name Nimmi was reportedly given to her by Kapoor.

Through the fifties and the sixties, the actress worked in films with most top actors, notably the Bollywood Triumvirate of the era — Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand. One of her earliest releases was Fali Mistry’s “Sazaa” starring Dev Anand in 1951. The same year, she worked with Dilip Kumar and Ashok Kumar in Nitin Bose’s “Deedar”.

She would go on to work with Dilip Kumar again in films like Mehboob Khan’s ambitious “Aan” and Amiya Chakravarty’s “Daag” the next year. By the time she reunited with Dev Anand in Chetan Anand’s 1952 release “Aandhiyan”, Nimmi was already a popular Bollywood name.

Her other notable films include “Uran Khatola (1955) with Dilip Kumar, the Ashok Kumar-Kishore Kumar starrer “Bhai-Bhai (1956), Sohrab Modi’s “Kundan” (1955), the Rajendra Kumar-starrer “Mere Mehboob” (1963) and “Akashdeep” (1965).

Among her memorable works also are Mehboob Khan’s “Amar” (1954) starring Dilip Kumar and Madhubala, and Raja Nawathe’s “Basant Bahar” (1956) co-starring Bharat Bhushan.

Nimmi’s last release was K. Asif’s much-delayed “Love And God”, a retelling of the Laila-Majnu story. Asif started the project in 1963, and the film released long after his death in 1986, after several changes in the cast and crew. The released film had Sanjeev Kumar and Nimmi in the lead roles.

Nimmi was born in Agra on February 18, 1933, as Nawab Banoo to a Muslim courtesan named Wahidan. Her father was a military contractor, Abdul Hakim. When she was only 11, her mother passed away and Nimmi went to Abbottabad to live with her maternal grandmother. Post Partition in 1947, when Abbotabad went to Pakistan, Nimmi’s grandmother shifted to Mumbai to live in India. That’s where Nimmi’s Bollywood connection came in, because her grandmother’s other daughter, Jyoti, was a onetime actress, and Jyoti’s husband GM Durrani was a renowned playback singer and composer.

In 1965, Nimmi married scriptwriter Ali Raza, who was associated with Mehboob Studios. Reportedly, popular comic actor of the era, Mukri, and Nimmi’s hairdresser had played matchmakers. The couple was married till Raza’s demise in 2007.

Over the recent past, Nimmi was suffering from breathing problems and had been in and out of the hospital.