Nawab Bano, better known by her screen name Nimmi, had some great roles from the late 1940s to the early 1960s. Musically, the interesting thing was though her films also starred actresses like Nargis, Madhubala and Nadira, she had some big hits filmed on her.
Most of Nimmi’s major songs were sung by Lata Mangeshkar. To mark her 89th birth anniversary on February 18, we choose 10 classics featuring the combination. The list is chronological.
1 Jiya Beqaraar Hai – Barsaat (1949)
Lata had huge hits with Barsaat, which also gave Shankar-Jaikishen a big break. This song was filmed on Nimmi, and Hasrat Jaipuri wrote the lines, “Jiya beqaraar hai, chaayi bahaar hai, aaja morey balama, tera intezaar hai”. The Lata song ‘Barsaat Mein Humse Mile Tum’, penned by Shailendra, was also picturised on Nimmi though other Lata hits in the film featured Nargis.
2 Tum Na Jaane – Sazaa (1951)
Composed by S.D. Burman, this song was written by Sahir Ludhianvi. The opening lines were, “Tum na jaane kis jahaan mein kho gaye, hum bhari duniya mein tanha ho gaye”. Lata’s voice suited Nimmi perfectly. The film also starred Dev Anand. Sazaa was the first successful collaboration between Burman Da and Lata.
3 Le Ja Meri Duwayein – Deedaar (1951)
Sung against the backdrop of natural outdoor surroundings, this song was composed by Naushad. Shakeel Badayuni wrote, “Le ja meri duwayein le ja, pardes jaane wale, le ja meri duwayein, ja kar bhula na dena, dil se meri wafayein, le ja meri duwayein”. A highlight of the song was its use of bansuri.
4 Ae Mere Dil Kahin Aur Chal – Daag (1952)
Though this song was known more for the Talat Mahmood rendition featuring Dilip Kumar, Lata also sang a touching sad version for Nimmi. Shankar-Jaikishen gave the music and Shailendra wrote, “Ae mere dil kahin aur chal, gham ki duniya se dil bhar gaya, dhoondle ab koi ghar naya”.
5 Aaj Mere Man Sakhi – Aan (1952)
India’s first technicolour film, Aan was directed by Mehboob Khan. The song was filmed on Nimmi and a group of girls in a farm field scenario, with Dilip Kumar making a brief appearance. The combination of Lata, Naushad and Shakeel was at work again. The composition was in raag Bhimpalasi.
6 Na Milta Gham – Amar (1954)
Shakeel wrote the classic ghazal lines, “Na milta gham toh barbaadi ke afsaane kahaan jaate, agar duniya chaman hoti toh veerane kahaan jaate”. Lata excelled on this song composed by Naushad. This had great lines like “Agar sab hote apne to begaane kahaan jaate”. Though the film also starred Madhubala, Nimmi appeared on six songs, including the Lata beauty ‘Khamosh Hai Khewanhaar’.
7 Hamare Dil Se Na Jaana – Udan Khatola (1955)
This was one of the most memorable tunes created by Naushad for Lata. Shakeel wrote, “Hamaare dil se na jaana, dhoka na khaana, duniya badi beimaan, o piya duniya badi beimaan”. The song was composed in raag Bihag. Dilip appeared on screen too. The film also had the hits ‘Mohabbat Ki Raahon Mein’, ‘O Door Ke Musafir’ and ‘Mera Salaam Le Ja’.
8 Shikayat Kya Karoon – Kundan (1955)
This was another beauty by Shakeel, who wrote, “Shikayat kya karoon, donon taraf gham ka fasaana hai; mere aage mohabbat hai, tere aage zamaana hai”. Ghulam Mohammed gave the music, with Lata singing another gem. Besides Nimmi, the film starred Sohrab Modi and Sunil Dutt.
9 Kadar Jaani Na – Bhai Bhai (1956)
Though music director Madan Mohan’s biggest hit in this film was Geeta Dutt’s ‘Ae Dil Mujhe Bata De’, he did many songs with Lata, including ‘Qadar Jaani Na’. Kishore Kumar also appeared on screen. Written by Rajendra Krishan, it had the words, “Kadar jaani na, kadar jaani na, mora baalam bedardi mora baalam, kadar jaani na, kadar jaani na”.
10 Main Piya Teri – Basant Bahar (1956)
The film, starring Bharat Bhushan and Nimmi, reflected the classical genius of Shankar-Jaikishen. Lata sang this beautifully in Bhairavi, with Pannalal Ghosh playing flute. Hasrat Jaipuri wrote the lines which began, “Main piya teri, tu maane ya na maane, duniya jaane tu jaane ya na jaane, kaahe ko bajaaye tu meethi meethi taane”. Lata also sang ‘Nain Mile Chain Kahaan’ with Manna De, featuring Nimmi and Bharat Bhushan.
Besides these Lata songs, Nimmi had a few hits with others. The 1961 film Shama had Suraiya singing ‘Dhadakte Dil Ki Tamanna’, filmed on both herself and Nimmi. In the same film, Suman Kalyanpur sang ‘Dil Gham Se Jal Raha Hai’. Music was by Ghulam Mohammed. These great songs went perfectly with Nimmi’s screen persona.