Nagma's family secret

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT in Mumbai
  • Published 21.04.06
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Mumbai, April 21: If things had been a bit different, Nandita Morarji could be running a textile business today.

Instead, she ended up in films, shuttling between Hindi and southern movies before becoming a poster girl for Bhojpuri cinema.

Actress Nagma today let out a family secret: her father is late textile magnate Arvind Morarji. The filmstar is widely believed to be the daughter of Chander Sadanah, whom her mother Seema married after her divorce from Morarji.

For Nagma, the knowledge of who her real father is didn’t follow the Bollywood lost-and-found formula ? she had always known it and been extremely close to Morarji till his death this January.

“Yes, I am his daughter. I was by his side when he passed away in Pune. But it is too personal a subject to discuss,” a somewhat agitated Nagma said over the phone.

The actor was born Nandita Morarji after her mother Seema, a Muslim, married Morarji in 1972 at the Radio Club. They separated a few years later and remarried.

While Seema married Chander Sadanah and gave birth to another daughter, Jyotika, Morarji married Sapna and fathered Dhanraj and Yuvraj.

Nagma kept in close touch with her father. Although she switched to her screen name, she was mentioned by her original name, Nandita, in the obituary notice published by the Morarji family.

“I share a very cordial relationship with my father’s side of the family. People meet, live together and go their own way,” she said.

From films, Nagma found her way into politics. She joined the Congress and campaigned for the party in the Andhra Pradesh polls. She was sucked into the underworld-gutka nexus controversy when Dawood henchman Jamiruddin told police he had delivered Rs 10 lakh in cash to Nagma under Anees Ibrahim’s orders.

Nagma denied links with the underworld, claiming this was a political conspiracy.