Nargis Dutta made her debut in Hindi films with film titled Tamanna in year 1942.
Nargis Dutta is pioneer in many occasions. In 1957, she played the lead in Mehboob Khan's 'Mother India' and the film was the first Indian movie to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. In 1958, Nargis Dutta became the first film actress to be conferred with the Padma Shri and in 1968 she became the inaugural winner of the National Film Award for Best Actress for her performance in 'Raat aur Din'. She was also the first patron of the Spastics Society of India.
Nargis Dutta married actor Sunil Dutt in 1958 and they had three children: actor Sanjay Dutt, Namrata Dutt and former Congress lawmaker Priya Dutt. Nargis was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 1980.
Nargis Dutta died 1981 after suffering from pancreatic cancer.