Harindranath Chattopadhyay

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Harindranath Chattopadhyay juggled many roles in his lifetime. He was a renowned poet, dramatist, singer, songwriter, painter, Member of the Parliament and actor. Movie lovers will remember Chattopadhyay from his roles in Seemabaddha and Bawarchi. The actor who appeared in brief comic roles in the movies had a serious career in literature.

Born on April 2, 1898, in Hyderabad, Chattopadhyay belonged to an illustrious family. His father was a scientist. His mother was a singer. His elder sister, Sarojini Naidu, would go on to become one of the major leaders of the Indian independence movement.

Harindranath Chattopadhyay is best remembered for his role as Shiv Nath Sharma, the patriarch of the ironically named Shanti Niwas in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Bawarchi (1972). In Bawarchi, he also gave vocals to the song “Bhor Aayi Gaya Aandhiyara”.
Two of the popular songs written by him for Hindi films are “My Heart Is Beating” from Julie (1975) and “Rail Gaadi Rail Gaadi Chhuk Chuuk ” from Aashirwad (1968). The entire songs of the film ‘Aashirwad’ was wriiten by him.

Harindranath Chattopadhyay often recited his poem “Rail Gaadi” on All India Radio. The song was originally sung by Ashok Kumar in the film Aashirwad.

He himself wrote the lyrics, composed the music and sang a few songs, notable among which were “Surya Ast Ho Gaya” and “Tarun Arun Se Ranjit Dharani”. He also penned a number of poems for children in Hindi. His poems were appreciated even by the Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore.

His cameo in two Satyajit Ray films, ‘Goopi Gyne Bagha Byne’ and ‘Sonar Kella’ has etched him in permanence.

He received the Padma Bhushan in 1973. He was married to Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay, a socialist women’s leader.

Harindranath Chattopadhyay passed away on June 23, 1990.

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