From a very young age, Nutan Samarth Bahl showed a keen interest in dance and music. She learned Kathak and even gave public performances. Nutan started her film career in 1950 while she was still in school with a movie titled Hamari Beti. Though the film Hamari Beti was not a big hit, Nutan was noticed and offers started pouring in. She reached her peak in the early 50s with her first hits, Hum Log and then Nagina. Nutan also won the Miss India title in 1952 when she was just 16.
Her first big hit film after winning the title was Amiya Chakravarty’s film Seema in the year 1955. She was cast opposite veteran actor Balraj Sahni in this film and after which, she became one of the most sought-after actresses in Bollywood. She acted with almost all the superstar actors of that time like Sujata with Sunil Dutt, Paying Guest with Dev Anand and Anari with Raj Kapoor among others. She starred opposite legendary Amitabh Bachchan in the film called Saudagar in the year 1973.
In the decade of the 1970s, Nutan regularly picked up awards for different roles in films like Milan, Saraswati Chandra, Saudagar and Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki. She acted opposite Superstar Dilip Kumar for the first time in Subhash Ghai’s movie Karma in 1986. She gave an overwhelming performance in the movie, where she literally overshone the legendary actor Dilip Kumar. She was arguably one of the most respected actresses in Hindi Cinema.
Even legendary actresses like Smita Patil and Sadhana considered Nutan as their role model such was her legacy. She was listed by the noted website Rediff.com as the third-greatest actress Bollywood has ever produced.