Nadira (actress)

Florence Ezekiel (5 December 1932 – 9 February 2006), known professionally as Nadira, was an Iraqi Indian actress who worked in the Hindi film industry. She appeared in films from the 1950s and 1960s, including Aan (1952), Shree 420 (1955), Pakeezah (1972), and Julie (1975), which won her the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award.[1][2]

Nadira in Shree 420 (1955).png
Nadira in Shree 420 (1955)
Florence Ezekiel

(1932-12-05)5 December 1932
Died9 February 2006(2006-02-09) (aged 73)
Years active1952–2001
AwardsFilmfare Award in 1976

Early lifeEdit

Nadira was born on 5 December 1932 in Baghdad, Iraq, into a Baghdadi Jewish family.[1] When she was an infant, her family migrated from Baghdad to Bombay in search of business opportunities.[3] She had two brothers, one of whom lives in the United States and another in Israel.[4]


Nadira's first appearance in cinema was in the 1943 Hindi-language film Mauj when she was 10 or 11 years of age.[3]

Her breakthrough came from Sardar Akhtar, wife of film director Mehboob Khan who cast her in the film Aan (1952). Her role as a Rajput princess in the film marked her rise to cinematic prominence.[2][5][1] In 1955, she played a rich socialite named Maya in Shree 420.[1][2] She played pivotal roles in a number of films such as Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai (1960), Pakeezah (1972), Hanste Zakhm (1973), and Amar Akbar Anthony (1977). She was often cast as a temptress or vamp, roles which were used as a foil to the chaste leading lady characters that were favoured at the time by the Hindi film industry.[2]

Nadira won a Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress, for her role in the 1975 film Julie.[2] During the 1980s and 1990s, she mostly played supporting characters. Due to her image as a Westernized woman, she often played roles of Christian or Anglo-Indian ladies. Her last role was in the film Josh (2000).

She was among the highest-paid actresses during her career, and was one of the first Indian actresses to own a Rolls-Royce.[2]

Personal lifeEdit

In her later years, Nadira lived alone in Mumbai, India, as many of her relatives had moved to Israel. In the last three years before her death, she had been residing in her condominium with only a housekeeper. On 24 January 2006, she suffered a cardiac arrest and was admitted to a hospital in a semi-comatose state. She had multiple existing health problems, including tubercular meningitis, alcoholic liver disorder, and paralysis.[2][5]

She died on 9 February 2006, at the age of 73, at the Bhatia Hospital in Tardeo, Mumbai, following a prolonged illness.[1][2] She was survived by her two brothers.[5]


Year Title Role Notes
2001 Zohra Mahal Zohra Mahal
2000 Josh[5] Lady D'Costa
1999 Cotton Mary[2] Mattie
1997 Tamanna[2][5] Nazneen Begum
1992 Godfather
1992 Mehbooba
1991 Jhoothi Shaan Ranimaa
1991 Hassan Da Chor
1991 Laila
1988 Maula Baksh
1985 Saagar[2][5] Miss Joseph
1984 Kim (TV serial) Widow of Kulu
1982 Raaste Pyar Ke
1982 Ashanti School principal
1981 Dahshat Mrs. Vishal
1981 Aas Paas
1980 Chaal Baaz[2]
1980 Swayamvar Durgadevi Bhargav
1979 Duniya Meri Jeb Mein
1979 Bin Phere Hum Tere
1979 Magroor Mrs. Disa
1978 Naukri Lily
1977 Aap Ki Khatir
1977 Aashiq Hoon Baharon Ka Heera (Jamundas' wife)
1977 Amar Akbar Anthony uncredited cameo
1977 Darling Darling
1977 Paapi Old lady hit by Vikram's car
1976 Bhanwar Sharda Devi
1975 Dharmatma
1975 Julie[2][5] Margaret 'Maggie' (Julie's Mom) Won Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1976
1975 Kahte Hain Mujhko Raja
1975 Mere Sartaj
1974 Faslah
1974 Ishq Ishq Ishq
1974 Woh Main Nahin
1973 Ek Nari Do Roop
1973 Hanste Zakhm
1973 Pyaar Ka Rishta
1972 Ek Nazar Aminabai
1972 Raja Jani
1971 Kahin Aar Kahin Paar
1972 Anokha Daan
1972 Pakeezah[2][5] Madame Gauhar Jaan
1970 Bombay Talkie Anjana Devi
1970 Chetna Nirmala
1970 Ishq Par Zor Nahin Mrs. Doraiswamy
1970 Safar Mrs. Kapoor (Shekhar's mother)
1969 The Guru Courtesan
1969 Insaaf Ka Mandir
1969 Jahan Pyar Mile
1969 Talash Flirtatious lady in red sari
1968 Kahin Din Kahin Raat Mrs.Indrani
1968 Sapnon Ka Saudagar Ranjana's mother
1963 Meri Surat Teri Ankhen
1965 Chhoti Chhoti Baatein Shanta
1965 Accident
1960 Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai[2] Mrs. Kusum Sushil Verma
1960 Kala Bazar Herself
1958 Police
1956 Geliebte Corinna
1956 Pocket Maar
1956 Samundari Daku
1956 Sipahsalar
1956 Shree 420[1][2][5] Maya
1955 Jalan
1955 Raftar
1954 Dak Babu
1954 Waris Kanta
1953 Nagma
1952 Aan[1][5] Princess Rajshree
1943 Mauj uncredited child
Year Title Role
1997 Margarita Nacha
1995 Ek Tha Rusty (Season 1) Ms. Mackenzie


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Nadira, Who Played the Vamp in Bollywood, Is Dead". The New York Times. Agence France-Presse. 10 February 2006. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Veteran actress Nadira passes away". MidDay,com website. 31 January 2006. Archived from the original on 20 February 2006. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
  3. ^ a b Singh, Kuldip (2 April 2009). "Nadira". The Independent. Archived from the original on 18 June 2022. Retrieved 9 May 2021.
  4. ^ "Jewish Stars of Bollywood" Haaretz (newspaper), Published 14 April 2013. Retrieved 8 January 2021
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Priyanka Jain (16 January 2006). "Nadira: A woman ahead of her time". Retrieved 9 January 2021.

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