Nutan was born in a Marathi family on June 4, 1936 as the eldest of four children to director-poet Kumarsen Samarth and his actress wife Shobhna. She grew up with complexes as some considered her “skinny” and “ugly” in her childhood. She had two sisters: actress Tanuja and Chatura and a brother Jaideep.
Her parents separated before Jaideep’s birth. Nutan was educated in St. Joseph’s Convent School Panchganj before heading to Switzerland for further studies in 1953. Nutan started her career as an actress as a fourteen-year-old in Hamari Beti (1950). This film was produced by her mother, Shobhana. In 1952 she was the winner of the Miss India pageant. She was sent there at the behest of her mother after her films failed to perform well. She described the one year spent there as the “happiest in my life”.
Her first big break was Seema for which she won her first Filmfare Best Actress Award. She followed her success with a romantic comedy, Paying Guest, in which she co-starred with Dev Anand. In 1959 she starred in two hit films, Anari, Sujata, Chhalia, Saraswatichandra, Devi, Mai tulsi tere aangan ki, Meri Jung, Naam, Karma etc.
She also gave a stellar performance as Kaliganj ki Bahu in the TV serial Mujrim Hazir, her only role on the small screen.
Nutan married Lieutenant-Commander Rajnish Bahl of the Indian Navy on 11 October 1959. Nutan, once slapped Sanjeev Kumar in public in public because in the early stages of his career he was allegedly spreading rumours about “romantic feelings she had for him that he could not reciprocate”. Nutan, who was married at the time, felt that Sanjeev Kumar was intentionally defaming her to advance his career and that this fabrication was harming her married life.
Nutan was diagnosed and treated for Breast Cancer in 1990. At the time, she was filming Garjana and Insaniyat. She died at 12:07 p.m. on 21 February.
Her few hit songs are –
Choddh de saari duniya kisi k leye… (Movie : Saraswatichandra)
Zindgi har kadam ek nayi jung hai…. (Movie : Meri jung)
Tumhi mere mandir…. (Movie : Khandaan)