Nanda was born in the Maharashtrain family in Kolhapur. Nanda’s father Vinayak Damodar Karnataki (Master Vinayak), was a successful Marathi actor-producer-director Her mother, Meenaxi, was also an actress.
Nanda made her debut in the film Mandir in 1948. She was first recognised as “Baby Nanda”. She worked as a child artist between 1948-56 in films like Mandir, Jaggu, Angaarey, and Jagriti.
Nanda’s paternal uncle V. Shantaram gave her a big break by casting her in a successful brother-sister story Toofan Aur Diya (1956).
She received her first Filmfare Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress for Bhabhi (1957); she claimed that the reason she didn’t win was because of lobbying.
She played the title role in L.V. Prasad’s Chhoti Bahen (1959) which was a big hit.
She won the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award for Anchal (1960).
She was the second highest paid Hindi actress from 1960-69.
She worked in about 70 films.
In 1992, Nanda was engaged to director Manmohan Desai, but before the wedding he died after falling from his terrace in Girgoan (Mumbai). Nanda remained unmarried till her life time.
She was having a good bonding with Waheeda Rehman, Sadhana, Asha Parekh, Shammi, Helen, and Saira Banu almost to her dying day.
On 25th March she died at her residence in Versova due to heart attack.