Sunday, May 4, 2014


Kanan Devi was the pioneer of all Bengali actresses and the first actress who got stardom in that language. She was  also the first  singing star and sang numerous songs in films .She appeared in lead roles of several Hindi films also.She was born   on 22 April 1916 in Howrah,Bengal.
She started her acting career at the age of ten in slent films and debut film was 'Jaidev' in 1926 followed by 'Sankaracharya' in 1927.She was called as 'Kanan Bala' at that period.
In 1931 she acted in the lead role of 'Jore Barat' which was a successful film and she became a star which continued for next three decades.
She got music training initially from Alla Rakha and further training from Bhishmadev Chatterjee.She learnt Rabindra Sangeet from another Guru.She worked with HMV,Columbia and Megaphone Gramaphone company.She acted with popular stars of that period such as 'K.L.Saigal,Pramathesh Barua,Pahadi Sanyal,Chhabi Biswas,Pradeep Kumar and Ashok Kumar.
She worked with Madan Pictures,Radha films,New Theatres,M.P.Productions and later set up her production house 'Shrimati Pictures' during 1949-65.
In 1933 Char Darvesh was released which was an Urdu Film directed by Prafulla Ghosh.In 1937 Barua's 'Mukti' was released in which her performance was the finest in her career.
The film 'Street Singer' (1938) was produced in Hindi and Bengali in which K.L.Saigal and Kanan Devi were the lead pair as street singer characters 'Bhulwa and Manju' who were friends from childhood.
In 1939 'Sapera' a Hindi film was released in which Pahadi Sanyal acted opposite to her.Director was Debaki Bose.
'Jawani Ki Reet' was a noted film of 1939 directed by Hemachandra Chunder in which Kanan Devi was well appreciated for her performance.
Kanan Devi acted opposite Pahadi Sanyal in 'Haar Jeet' in 1940 and opposite K.L.Saigal in 'Legan' which was released in 1941.
P.C.Barua's 'Jawab' was produced in Hindi and Bengali in 1942 and it is considered as one of her best performances in her career.
Chabi Biswas was the hero of 'Rajalakshmi'(45) in which Talat Mahmood,Purnima etc also acted.Director was Premendra Mitra.
She played the role of 'Radha' in the film 'Krishna Leela' which was directed by Debaki Bose in 46.
Talat Mahmood and Kanan Devi were the main pair of 1946 film 'Tum Aur Mein'.
Arabian Nights was a Hindi Film directed by Niren Lahin in 1946.
Her last Hindi film was "Chandrasekhar'(48) in which Ashok Kumar and Chabi Biswas acted.Chabi Biswas acted in the title role as 'Chandrasekhar' and Kanan Devi acted as 'Dalni Begum'.
She married Ashok Maitra in 1940 but had to divorce and married Haridas Bhattacharjee in 1949.
She received Padma Shri in 1968 and Dada Saheb Phalke Award in 1976.
A Postage stamp was issued in her honour in 2011.
She died on 17 July 1992 at Kolkata,West Bengal at the age of 76.
Selected Filmography

Char Darvesh
Krishna Sudama
Khooni Kaun
Street Singer
Jawani Ki Reet
Haar Jeet
Ban Phool
Tum Aur Mein
Krishna Leela
Arabian Nights
Naba Bidhan

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