Nimmi bigraphy, stories - Indian actor

Nimmi : biography

18 February 1933 -

Nimmi (born 18 February 1933) is a popular Indian screen actress who achieved stardom in the 1950s and early 1960s in Hindi films. She gained popularity playing spirited village belle type characters, but has appeared in diverse genres such as fantasy and social films.

Later career

In the late 1950s, Nimmi worked with renowned directors Chetan Anand (Anjali ), K. A. Abbas (Char Dil Char Raahen) and Vijay Bhatt (Angulimala). Prepared to take risks, Nimmi took on controversial characterizations, such as the prostitute of Char Dil Char Raahen (1959). It was during this phase that Nimmi became very selective as she strove for better quality projects and roles. However her judgment was sometimes questionable when she rejected films like B. R. Chopra's Sadhna (1958), and Woh Kaun Thi? (1963), both of which went on to be big successes for Vyjayanthimala and Sadhana, respectively.

She erred most with the film Mere Mehboob (1963). Nimmi was first offered the coveted female lead in the film which was tipped for big box-office success. It was to be shot in colour and on a very big budget. Nimmi would be part of a large star cast which included prominent actors such as Ashok Kumar, Rajendra Kumar, Ameeta, Pran, and comedian Johnny Walker. Nimmi recalled in an interview with Movie magazine : "Initially I was offered Sadhana's role and Bina Rai was to do my role. However I opted for the role of the sister as I felt it was the back bone of the story and had scope for acting. Though it didn't turn out the way I had visualised it." In rejecting the female lead, opposite a hugely popular leading man, Rajendra Kumar, for what was ostensibly a character role, Nimmi lost a valuable chance at making the successful transition into the new phase of films that were then evolving. The role Nimmi rejected was played by Sadhana and was instrumental in placing her among the most successful heroines of the 1960s. Nimmi did receive a Filmfare award nomination for best supporting actress for her performance and Mere Mehboob went on to be one of the biggest hits of 1963 at the box-office.

These detrimental choices were not helped when in the 1960s, a new breed of Mod actresses like Sadhana, Nanda, Asha Parekh, Mala Sinha and Saira Banu changed the concept of the Hindi film heroine. Although she retained her star status and continued to be credited above the title, junior actresses like Nanda and Mala Sinha were cast as the romantic leads, while Nimmi's roles alongside these actresses were more unconventional parts such the blind girl in Pooja Ke Phool (1964) and Ashok Kumar's mute wife in Akashdeep (1965). With the younger generation of actresses emerging to dominate the industry, although Nimmi's popularity as a star began to fade, her performances had matured considerably and critical reviews in this final phase of her career were largely positive.

At this point Nimmi opted for early retirement and marriage, but not before investing her best efforts into one last film production. Director K. Asif had started his version of the Laila-Majnu love legend, Love & God even before completing his magnum opus Mughal-e-Azam (1960). Nimmi believed that Love & God would be a fitting swan song to her career and her claim to eternal fame just as Mughal-e-Azam had immortalised its leading lady, Madhubala. K. Asif had problems casting the male lead before finally selecting Guru Dutt as Nimmi's co-star. However Guru Dutt's sudden and premature death put a halt to the film's shooting. Sanjeev Kumar was cast as his replacement but the film was shelved altogether when the director K. Asif died.

Nimmi had retired from films for over two decades by the time K. Asif's widow Akhtar Asif released Love & God on 6 June 1986 in incomplete form. The film suffers badly from compromised editing in an attempt to cover the fact that several key scenes and a clear climax were not filmed before Asif died. But the footage that Nimmi completed before the film was shelved showed she had delivered a subtle and sensitive portrayal and looked beautiful in Technicolor and the period costumes.

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