indian cinema heritage foundation

Chhaya Devi

  • Born: 3 June, 1914 (Bhagalpur)
  • Died: 2001 (Kolkata)
  • Primary Cinema: Bengali
  • Parents: Haradhan Gangopadhyay
  • Spouse: Buddhadeb Chattopadhyay

An acclaimed character artiste, who enjoyed a nearly six decade long career in Bengali cinema, Chhaya Devi was one of the most respected names in the industry. Born in Bhagalpur on 3 June, 1914, she studied at Mokhshada Girls School. When her father Haradhan Gangopadhyay was transferred to Delhi, she enrolled in Indraprastha Girls School but she returned to Kolkata leaving her course unfinished. She got married to a teacher named Buddhadeb Chattopadhyay when she was only eleven, but this did not last long. She was also reportedly related to Ashok Kumar's wife Shobha Ganguly.  

She made her acting debut in Jyotish Banerjee's Pather Sheshe (1936). But her breakthrough came in the role of Rani Lakshmi in Vidyapati (1937). Some of the memorable roles played by her include Kalyani in Sonar Sansar (1936), Uttam Kumar's mother in Deya Neya (1963), Sejdi in Nirjan Saikate (1963), Anandamoyi in Apanjan (1968) and Podi Pishi in the children's film Podi Pishir Bormi Baksho (1972). Towards the later part of her career she played some meorable mother characters, both positive and negative. Her performance in Nirjan Saikate was particularly appreciated. Other than acting she has also lent her voice as a playback singer in some films. She acted in over 200 films in her career, including Hindi films like Aalap (1977) and Rang Birangi (1983). She was felicitated by the Calcutta Film Institute when she completed 50 years in the industry. Her last film was Tomar Rokte Amar Sohag (1993). 

The revered actress passed away in 2001.