Published On: Fri, Aug 14th, 2015

Kanhaiyalal, One Of The Finest Natural Actors Of Hindi Cinema.


Today is the 33th death anniversary of Kanhaiyalal, one of the finest natural actors of Hindi cinema.

In the narrative of Hindi cinema’s history, Kanhaiyalal’s portrayal of the evil incarnate Sukhilala in ‘Mother India’ (1957) ranks amongst the most contemptible yet memorable characters of villainy.

A native of Varanasi, his full name was Kanhaiya Lal Chaturvedi. He was fond of plays and came to Mumbai to find a space on stage. He had written many plays. He staged his own play ‘Pandrah August’ in Mumbai, later he tried his luck in films.

In 1940 he got the role of a moneylender Sukkhilala in Mehboob Khans film Aurat. After that he acted in many films as a character artist. When Mehboob Khan directed his immortal film Mother India (1957) he again picked Kanhaiya Lal to act as Sukkhilala, a character that came alive with his natural acting.

In Gunga Jumna (1961) he excelled as a ‘munim’. He also shone in Mahesh Kaul’s ‘Sautela Bhai’ (1962) but the film tanked at the box office. Gemini’s ‘Grahasti,’ (1962) in which he played a station master gave him immense satisfaction and he said, “In my opinion, it’s the first picture from the South to achieve that much versatility.” The trouble monger continued his winning streak with Upkar, Ram aur Shyam (both 1967), Jeevan Mrityu (1970), Apna Desh (1972), Karmayogi (1978), Hum Paanch (1980) and Hathkadi (1982).

After completing a century of roles in Bollywood, Kanhaiyalal passed away on 14 August 1982, at the age of 72.

About the Author

Syed Ammar Alavi

- is Lahore (Pakistan) based journalist & writer with 25-year experience in print, wire and broadcast forms of journalism. His major fields of interest are politics, film,tv,sports, climate change and technology