February 20, 2010: Nanda along with best friend Waheeda Rehman made a rare appearance on Tuesday for a screening of Ravi Jadhav's highly-acclaimed Marathi film Natarang at the Ketnav theatre in Pali Hill.
But on condition that no press or photographers were to be present. Apparently, the reclusive actress is now unrecognizable, having put on a lot of weight.

Vidya Balan who was present at the screening can't believe her luck!

"Nanda ji was with Waheeda ji...can you imagine they've been friends for 45 years? When I went over to greet Waheeda ji she introduced me to Nanda ji. I just gawked. When Nanda ji spoke it was that same melodious voice we used to hear in her films. She told me she was a Capricorn just like me. I was completely stunned by her graciousness. Later I came to know Waheeda ji, Nanda ji, Shammi Aunty and Asha Parekh ji are a close circle of friends. Only Asha ji was missing at the screening that day."

This was Nanda's first public appearance since she went into voluntary exile after the sudden and shocking death of her fiance filmmaker Manmohan Desai in 1994.

She has been so much out of the public eye that it took Natarang's leading man Atul Kulkarni some time to recognize the still-lovely actress.

Recalling the historic moment Atul said, "This beautiful lady came up to me after the screening and started talking to me in fluent Marathi. It was Nanda ji. It was such a pleasant surprise to see her. She had come with Waheeda ji whom I had invited and urged to bring along Nanda ji also."

Atul came close to Waheeda Rahman during the shooting of Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's Rang De Basanti and Delhi 6. Also present at the screening of Natarang on Tuesday were veteran actresses Helen and Shammi, along with Urmila Matondkar and Vidya Balan.

Says Atul, "It was a special evening with these very special ladies. But then Natarang is a special film about music and dance and perhaps that's what attracted Waheeda ji and her friends."

-Subhash K Jha

(Posted on 20 February 2010, 1680163189 34O239O173O144)