As Nimmi quietly left this world at a Santa Cruz hospital in Mumbai; Uttar Pradesh, especially Taj City, Agra lost its daughter who brought the city name and fame and a place to cherish in the cinematic map of the world. At 87, Nimmi had been facing hard times with failing motor movement, leading her to take to the wheelchair.
Cremated on March 26, she had attained the epoch of stardom in the 50s and early 60s. Making her debut in ‘Barsaat’ winning the hearts of people, films like ‘Amar’, ‘Daag’, ‘Didar’, ‘Basant Bahar’, ‘Mere Mehboob’, ‘Kundan’ gave her much critical acclaim for her performances.
Having her roots in the Hindi heartland, Nimmi’s father hailed from Meerut, Uttar Pradesh and was born in Agra. Nimmi’s mother was associated with a studio. Raj Kapoor saw Nimmi for the first time in Mehboob Studio itself. Seeing her beauty, Raj Kapoor asked her to work in his film ‘Barsaat’. But for this, he sought approval from director Mehboob. Nimmi did not know anything about acting but her mentor became Raj Kapoor, who taught Nimmi the nuances of acting.
Her success was often attributed to the timely spotting of her talent by the Showman Raj Kapoor himself. Originally, Nawab Bano she changed her name to Nimmi.
She was best known for her roles in ‘Udan Khatola’, ‘Aan’, ‘Bhai-Bhai’, ‘Mere Mehboob’ and ‘Pooja Phool’. Married to S Ali Raja, who died in 2007, she had adopted her sister’s son.
An actress with mass appeal, Nimmi featured alongside big actors like Dilip Kumar to Raj Kapoor, Ashok Kumar, Dharmendra among others. Nimmi made a film with Dilip Sahab. Which was India’s first Technicolor film.
From ‘Jia Bekarar Hai’, ‘Humse Mile Tum’ and ‘Tirchhi Nazar Hai Patli Qamar Hai’ ‘Nimmi’ had all shades covered in songs. Born in Agra, she became a Bollywood star.
In the Black and White era, every big actor was desperate to act with her. Showman Raj Kapoor gave her the first break in ‘Barsaat’.
The popularity of Nimmi’s performance can be gauged from the fact that poets used to write poems on her beauty. Famous actor Prithviraj Kapoor praised her when famous poet Kaka Hathrasi once recited a poem on Nimmi at a poet conference in Mumbai.
At that time it was common knowledge in Mumbai that Nimmi was an actress who worked in films on her own terms. No director could get Nimmi to film bold scenes. Perhaps for this reason, she did not get an opportunity to work in more films in Bollywood. Nimmi did just 39 films in her film career. She was counted among the star actresses in the 50s and 60s.