Nadira, 73; Had Long Career as Femme Fatale in Indian Cinema
Nadira, 73, who played a series of femme fatale roles in more than 60 Indian films from the 1950s to the 1970s, died Feb. 9 in New Delhi after a long illness.
Born Florence Ezekiel into a Jewish family in Baghdad in 1931, she immigrated as an infant to the port city of Bombay. At 12, she adopted the screen name Nadira and made her film debut in 1943. But her career didn’t take off for another nine years, after she played the princess Rajshree opposite Dilip Kumar in the box office hit “Aan” (Pride).
Her performance as Maya in the film “Shree 420" in 1955 gave her a new avenue of expression, as a villain. From then on she was generally typecast as the vicious schemer.
In 1975, however, she was awarded the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award for her portrayal of a poor Anglo-Indian housewife trying to keep her family together in the face of crisis in the film “Julie.”
Her cinema career declined after the 1970s, and she became reclusive after experiencing financial difficulties.
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