She debuted in Raj Kapoor’s Barsaat (1949) which incidentally happened to be the first hit by the Showman of Hindi cinema. In fact, the screen name Nimmi was reportedly given to her by Kapoor. Over the next two decades, she acted with almost all the big names of the film industry including Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand and Ashok Kumar. One of her earliest movies was Fali Mistry’s Sazaa (1951) with Dev Anand and then Nitin Bose’s Deedar with Dilip Kumar and Ashok Kumar the same year.
Nawab Banoo or Nimmi as we all knew her, the famous yesteryear heroine who was called the Unkissed Girl of India, passed away at her Mumbai residence yesterday. The 88-year-old actress, who had been ailing for a few months, was given the tag of the Unkissed Girl of India when famous Hollywood actor Errol Flynn tried to kiss her hand during a London tour of the 1953 film Aan. Reportedly, she had pulled back, saying, “I’m an Indian girl, you cannot do that.” The Indian media went into raptures back then and gave her this name.
She worked with Dilip Kumar in Mehboob Khan’s Aan and Amiya Chakravarty’s Daag and reunited with Dev Anand in Chetan Anand’s Aandhiyan. Her other notable films include Uran Khatola with Dilip Kumar, the Ashok Kumar-Kishore Kumar starrer Bhai-Bhai, Sohrab Modi’s Kundan, Rajendra Kumar-starrer Mere Mehboob and Akashdeep, Mehboob Khan’s Amar starring Dilip Kumar and Madhubala, and Raja Nawathe’s Basant Bahar co-starring Bharat Bhushan. Her last release was K Asif’s Love And God.
Nimmi was born to Muslim courtesan, Wahidan in Agra on February 18, 1933, as Nawab Banoo. Her father was a military contractor, Abdul Hakim. Her mother passed away when Nimmi was 11 and she went to Abbottabad to live with her maternal grandmother. When Abbotabad went to Pakistan post-Partition, Nimmi’s grandmother shifted to Bombay (now Mumbai). Her grandmother’s other daughter, Jyoti, was a onetime actress, and Jyoti’s husband GM Durrani was a renowned playback singer and composer. This was to be her Bollywood connection. Nimmi married scriptwriter Ali Raza in 1965.