Mumbai, Feb 20 (IANS) Reclusive yesteryears heroine Nanda made a rare public appearance along with close friend Waheeda Rehman at the screening of Ravi Jadhav's highly acclaimed Marathi film 'Natrang' here.
She came to the Ketnav theatre in Pali Hill earlier this week on the condition that no media or photographers would be present.
Apparently, the reclusive actress is now unrecognisable, having put on a lot of weight.
Vidya Balan who was present at the screening can't believe her luck! She said: 'Nandaji was with Waheedaji...can you imagine they've been friends for 45 years? When I went over to greet Waheedaji, she introduced me to Nandaji. I just gawked.'
Also present at the screening were veteran actresses Helen and Shammi, besides Urmila Matondkar and Vidya.
'When Nandaji 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 Waheedaji, Nandaji, Shammi Aunty and Asha Parekhji are a close circle of friends. Only Ashaji 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 'Natrang's' leading man Atul Kulkarni sometime to recognise 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 Nandaji. It was such a pleasant surprise to see her. She had come with Waheedaji whom I had invited and urged to bring along Nandaji also.'
Atul came close to Waheeda during the shooting of Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's 'Rang De Basanti' and 'Delhi 6'.
Says Atul, 'It was a special evening with these very special ladies. But then 'Natrang' is a special film about music and dance and perhaps that's what attracted Waheedaji and her friends.'