Nanda was born on 8th January 1939, she is daughter of actor-director of 1930s and 1940s Vinayak Damodar Karnataki. Her father died when Nanda was just a child.
Nanda did work as child artist in films like Jaggu in the early 50’s but it was V. Shantaram who gave Baby Nanda a big break by casting her in a successful brother-sister saga Toofan Aur Diya (1956).
Although Nanda starred in a number of major hits, including the sensational 'Jab Jab Phool Khile', 'Gumnaam', 'Teen Deviyan', 'The Train' and several others, it was as a supporting star that she excelled most often. Her innocent looks, expressive eyes and voice and low-key acting style made her a natural choice for many realistic roles. And her relative lack of oomphy sex appeal gave her a wholesome image that was further cemented by her identification with the title role of 'ChotiBahen', which became her trademark 'petname'. Her ease in front of the camera came from her early foray into acting as Baby Nanda. Whether playing a boy or a bashful babe in films like 'Mandir', 'Angarey' and 'Ram Laxman', she was completely at home on film, and it showed.
Her popularity as a child actress made her transition to major roles easier, and she literally grew up on film sets. With her debut as an adult actor in 'Toofan Aur Diya' (1956), she made an impact as the soft but steely heroine who stands her ground against difficult odds. In 'Bandi', she made her mark in the small but important role of Ashok Kumar's daughter who is married to the villain's son by her uncle, Kishore Kumar. This also happened to be the first film that paired the Ganguly brothers Ashok, Kishore and Anup. Her next landmark was in 'Dhool Ka Phool' where she captured the audience's attention with her understated performance which was rare at a time when other heroines tended to be loud and hysterical. This quality also attracted the attention of serious directors who wanted to bring more realism to Hindi films. Vijay Anand at Navketan chose her for his landmark 'Kala Bazaar' as a supporting actress beside stars Dev Anand and Waheeda Rehman. B. R. Chopra found her perfect for his historic thriller anoon' the first Hindi film made completely without songs and dances. But she also found great acceptance and popularity as a lead heroine. Dev Anand starred opposite her in the superhit classic 'Hum Dono'.
And she reached her peak with starring roles in films such as 1965's 'Gumnaam', 'Teen Deviyan' and Jab Jab Phool Khile', which made Karisma Kapoor a superstar when remade recently as 'Raja Hindustani'. In 1969, she once again starred in a songless thriller, this time the Rajesh Khanna- starrer 'Ittefaq', directed by Yash Chopra. A year later in 1970, she was paired opposite the country's first superstar again in 'The Train', another landmark film. In the early-70s, as age began to catch up with her, her output as a heroine reduced. But unlike most other female stars of her time, who chose to retire as heroines, Nanda continued acting in strong supporting roles, makÂ¬ing her mark in the late-70s and early 80s with films such as 'Prayashchit', 'Ahista Ahista', 'Prem Rog' and 'Mazdoor'. Throughout her career, as a child star, a heroine, a chhoti bahen or even a mother or aunt, she was always an actress as well as a star.
Nanda was nominated for film Fare awards five times for films like Bhabhi (1957),Aanchal (1960),Ittefaq (1969), Ahista Ahista (1981) and Prem Rog (1982) . She won Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award for Aanchal.
Nanda lives in her residence in Mumbai interacting only with close friends and family.