Florence Ezekiel Nadira (5 December 1932 – 9 February 2006), commonly known as Nadira, was an actress in Indian cinema. She is best remembered for her performance in films in the 1950s and 1960s such as Shree 420 (1955), Pakeezah (1972) and Julie (1975), which won her Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award.[1]

Early life

Nadira was born to a Baghdadi Jewish family. She is survived by two brothers, one of whom lives in the United States and another in Israel.[1] Nadira was introduced to the film industry by Sardar Begum, wife of film director Mehboob Khan, in the film Aan.


Nadira rose to cinematic prominence with the 1952 film Aan with her role as a Rajput princess. She did a bold scene in the movie.[2] In 1955, she played a rich socialite named Maya in Shree 420. She played lead roles in a number of films such as Dil Apna Prit Parayee, Hanste Zakhm, Amar Akbar Anthony and Pakeezah. She was often cast as a temptress or vamp, and played opposite the chaste heroines then favored by the Bollywood film industry.

Nadira won a Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress, her role as Julie's mother Margaret, 'Maggie', in the 1975 film Julie. During the 1980s and 1990s, she entered a new phase of her career, playing elderly women as a supporting actress. Her last role was in the film Josh (2000). In her longtime career, because of her western attire, her character in most of her memorable movies was Christian or Anglo-Indian. One notable exception can be found in the movie Aan, opposite Dilip Kumar, where she played a Rajput princess. Also, in Shree 420 there was no religious affiliation shown explicitly: her character was named Maya, which is not necessarily a Christian name. In fact, Maya is a quite common name in India, coming from the Sanskrit word for illusion.

She was well paid for her efforts and was one of the first Indian actresses to own a Rolls-Royce.

Personal life

Nadira was married twice: she first married an Urdu-language poet and filmmaker named Naqshab, then she married a man whom she publicly called a gold-digger. This marriage lasted only a week.

For the last part of her life, she lived alone in Mumbai, as many of her relatives had moved to Israel, staying for the last three years in her condominium with only a housekeeper.

On 9 February 2006, Nadira died at the age of 73 at the Bhatia Hospital in Tardeo, Mumbai, India, following a prolonged illness.[3]


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


  1. ^ awards IMDB
  2. ^ "The Week". Week.manoramaonline.com. Retrieved 2012-07-10. 
  3. ^ "Front Page : Actress Nadira passes away". The Hindu. 2006-02-10. Retrieved 2012-07-10.