People remember Pahari Sanyal in many avatars. Sometimes he stands strong as Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar. Sometimes he is the gentle and wise pillar of Sharmila, Tanuja or Suchitra. Whereas somewhere else he is Colonel Mitter.

It is probably better not to look back at people like Pahari Sanyal from the vantage point of today’s cinema. One might start to see what a colossal talent we are missing.

Silent waters run deep

Pahari Sanyal is the epitome of the saying. His soft and gentle look hid a man who was extremely educated, sophisticated and kept on evolving.

Here are some of the amazing facts of this legendary man.


  • His real name was Nagendranath. He was born in Darjeeling, therefore called Pahari.
  • Pahari Sanyal was excellent in singing and music. In many of the films where he acted, he also sang. Since childhood, he had a strong interest in music. Then he practiced under various established music teachers. Furthermore, he left his engineering course at BHU to train in Indian classical music at the Morris College of Music in Lucknow.
  • He was a linguist. Apart from Bengali he was effortless in Hindi, Urdu, English and French. His pronunciation was perfect when it came to Bengali or any other language. One might think that even French was his mother tongue!
  • His first film was supposed to be Rooplekha. Even after confirmation he could not do in the film. He finally made his debut Debaki Bose’s musical Meerabai . He was the singer and actor there as Chand Bhatta.
  • Pahari Sanyal was equally comfortable in doing Bengali and Hindi films. He also did an English film called The Householder.
  • He played a cameo role in Paras Pathar and as an ornithologist in Kanchenjunga.
  • Pahari Sanyal was married twice. His first wife sadly passed away at childbirth. Then he later married actress Meera Devi. They had a daughter Luku Sanyal. Luku was the first English news reader in Doordarshan from 1970 – 80. She, like her father was excellent in grace, composure and language.

Pahari Sanyal




Image credits: kanandevi.com

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