Pahari Sanyal’s actual name is Narendranath Sanyal. He was given the nickname Pahari because he was born in hill-station. He finished his schooling from Lucknow and then to pursue Engineering, he enrolled at the Benaras Hindu University. Soon, he dropped out of college as he was not finding any interest in it and started learning Classical Hindustani Music from Morris College in Lucknow. He was trained under the guidance of famous music gurus like Chote Munna Khan, Ahmad Khan, Nasir Khan and Ustad Mohammed Hussain. He developed an interest in music instruments and thus learnt Tabla.
He got his first break in the film industry with the film Meerabai in 1933. He was paid a handsome amount of Rs. 150 to perform in the film. In addition to acting in the film, he also sang some of the songs and registered his name among the initial singing actors of the industry. His performance in the Bengali film “Protishurti” earned him widest acclaims and also the Bengal Journalist Association Award. He was well-known for playing character roles. His most memorable roles include Shilpi, Harano Sur and Bhanu Goyenda Jahar Assistant to name a few.
He became a sought after actor in Bengali film industry and to further his career, he relocated to Mumbai, to act in Hindi cinemas. As a Hindi film actor, he is famous for his films like Aradhana, Rajkumari, Devdas, Jaagte Raho and Haar Jeet.
In his illustrious career, he has worked with legendary director Satyajit Ray in his films Aranyer Din Ratri and Kanchenjungha.