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Kanhaiyalal Chaturvedi


Kanhaiyalal (1910 – 14 August 1982) was an Indian actor who acted in 105 films in his career, primarily in Hindi films produced in Bollywood, the Mumbai-based film industry.


Kanhaiyalal was born in 1910 in Varanasi. His father Pandit Bhairodutt Choube, popularly known as Choubeji, was the proprietor of the Sanatan Dharm Natak Samaj in Varanasi. With his father not in agreement with him taking up any form of stage work, he eventually wore out his father's opposition and did odd jobs in the troupe. At 16, he started writing and then moved on to small roles. When his father died, the brothers tried for some time to run the drama company. Proving to be unsuccessful, they downed shutters and Kanhaiyalal decided to seek a film career in Bombay. His elder brother Sankata Prasad Chaturvedi had already set a precedent and established himself as an actor in silent films, but Kanhaiyalal came to films without the intention of acting, wanting to write and direct instead. Eventually capitulating, he began by working as an extra in Sagar Movietone's Sagar Ka Sher. He would have remained a background extra but for a fated twist.


He was fond of plays and came to Mumbai to find a space on stage. He staged his own written play Pandrah August in Mumbai, and later he tried his luck in films. He also had written many plays. In the 1939 film Ek Hi Raasta as Banke, he got a break in Hindi films, and in 1940 he got the role of the moneylender (Sahukar) in Mehboob Khan's film Aurat as Sukkhi Lala. After that, he later acted in many films as a character artist. When Mehboob Khan directed his film Mother India which was a remake of his earlier film 'Aurat', he again picked Kanhaiyalal to act as Sukkhi Lala, a character that came alive with his natural acting. Some of the performances of Kanhaiyalal which were appreciated by the audience for his versatility include his characters in the films Bhookh (1947), Ganga Jamuna, Gopi, Upkar, Apna Desh, Janta Hawaldar, Dushman, Bandhan, Bharosa, Dharti Kahe Pukar Ke, Hum Paanch, Upkar, Gaon Hamara Desh Tumhara, Dadi Maa, Gruhasti, Hatyara, Palkon Ki Chhaon Mein, Heera, Teen Bahuraniyan, Dost etc. His memorable roles include those as villainous scheming moneylenders in the films Mother India , Ganga Jamuna, Gopi, and Upkaar.