Although Madhubala was the main lead in Amar, Nimmi had the better role and songs. In her debut film Raj Kapoor’s Barsaat, Nargis sang the majority of Lataji and Shankar-Jaikishan’s memorabilia. But the biggest hit of them all, Jiya Beqaraar was filmed on Nimmi.
In the musical hit Uran Khatola, Nimmi had eight of the eleven songs to herself, all sung by Lataji including the all-time hits Mera Salaam Leja, Hamare Dil Se Na Jana and Mere Saiyaji Utrenge Paar Re. In half the film Nimmi was masquerading as a man.
In Deedar (1951) Nargis sang a majority of Lataji’s Naushad compositions. But it was Nimmi who lip-synced two of the finest solos by Lataji: Duniya Ne Teri Duniyawale and Le Ja Meri Duwayen Le Jaa.
Basant Bahar in 1956 gave Nimmi the best opportunity to prove herself as a lead actress. Shankar-Jaikishan’s music in the film is to this day regarded as among the milestone musicals of Hindi cinema. Nimmi danced heart away lip-syncing Lataji’s Main Piya Teri Tu Maana Ya Na Mane.
What better end to Nimmi’s musical journey than Lataji’s Dil Ka Diya Jalake Gaya Yeh Kaun Meri Tanhai Mein? It is one of most beautiful love ballads to light up the 1960s. It sums up Nimmi’s journey, her quietly effective flicker-in-the-dark presence. Brief but memorable.