Nutan was an Indian actress, who appeared in several successful Hindi movies of the 50s and 60s. Highly regarded for her acting abilities, Nutan was recognised as an accomplished dramatic actress, and her performances often received praises and accolades. She holds the record of winning five Filmfare Best Actress Award, the highest number of awards won by an actress.
Nutan was the daughter of actress Shobhna Samarth and director Kumarsen Samarth. She is related to many of the screen stars of the past fifty years (see Mukherjee-Samarth family (film)) She started her career as 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 Miss India.
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 (with Raj Kapoor) and Bimal Roy's Sujata (with Sunil Dutt). In the 1960s and 1970s she had many more successful films including Chhalia (1960), Bandini (1963), Saraswatichandra (1968), Devi (1970) and Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki (1978). She received her third Best actress Filmfare award in 1964, for Bandini; her fourth Filmfare award for Milan (1967 film)tied her with Meena Kumari.
She starred opposite Amitabh Bachchan in 1973's Saudagar (1973 film), for which she received a sixth Filmfare Best actress nomination. In 1978, she made an astonishing return to the screen as the righteous Sanjukta Chauhan in Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki (1978). For this performance, she received an eight Filmfare career nomination and won her fifth Filmfare best actress award, at the age of 42. She thus holds the record of winning five Filmfare Best Actress Award, the highest number of awards won by an actress.
At age 42, she is also the oldest winner of the award. Nutan was perhaps the only actress of her generation to command leading roles in her 40s, with tremendous success. Following this and a three year hiatus, she starred in Saajan ki Saheli (1981), as an unrelenting , jealous wife to a husband who befriends her abandoned daughter.
In the remaining 1980s she played roles in blockbuster films such as Meri Jung (1985), Naam (1986) and Karma (1986). Karma was notable for being the first time she was paired with actor Dilip Kumar. For Mere Jung she won a Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress. Her last film released while she was alive was Kanoon Apna Apna in 1989. She died in 1991 of cancer. Two of her films Naseebwala (1992) and Insaniyat (1994) were released after her death.
Nutan was the eldest child of actress Shobhana Samarth. She had three other siblings, 2 younger sisters and a younger brother. Her younger sister Tanuja is also an actress, and Chatura, who did not work in Bollywood. Her parents separated when she was still a child. Kajol is Tanuja's daughter and Nutan's niece and is also a successful actress.
On 11 October 1959, she married naval Lieutenant-Commander Rajnish Behl. Their son, Mohnish Behl, born in 1963, later entered films as well.
Nutan died in February 1991, of cancer, at the age of 54.
Nutan's narrative as a human being is depicted in a book Nutan Asen Mi Nasen Mi written by famous marathi author Lalita Tamhane. The book can be summarized as one describing Nutan's life experiences, interactions with co-actors / family / friends etc. as told by her to Lalita Tamhane.