Surendra (actor)

Surendra (actor)

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Category: Cinema

Surendra (actor) Profile

  • Name:
  • Surendra (actor)
  • Born:
  • November 11, 1910
  • Father:
  • Ralia Ram Sharma
  • Spouse:
  • Satya Rishi

Surendra (actor) Biography

Surendra was a leading singer-actor of the first generation of Hindi talkies. Often referred to as "immediate precursor" to Dilip Kumar, Surendra enjoyed immense popularity in the era of 1940s. He stayed as a star in the eras of 1940s and 1950s, and his last film in a lead role was Ram Bhakt Vibhishan, a devotional film released in 1958. Surendra acted in about 74 films during the period 1936-1977 and ace film maker Mehmood Khan played a significant role in grooming his career. Surendra played lead roles in 9 movies of Mehmood Khan including the blockbuster Anmol Ghadi, Aurat - original version of Mother India, where he played the elder son and many more. Surendra was also known as "Bombay's Saigal”, or "the other Saigal". His duets with Bibbo were quite popular and they formed an amazing pair onscreen also.


As a singer, the duet, "Awaaz De, Kahan Hai" was sung by Surendra and Noor Jehan, a precious gem from Hindi oldies. The song belongs to Mehmood Khan’s Anmol Ghadi where Surendra and Noor Jehan played the lead roles and music was composed by Naushad. Film was a blockbuster, and it inspired many movies later – including Jeena Sirf Mere Liye. Jawaan Hai Mohabbat Haseen Hai Zamana and Mere Bachpan Ke Saathi Mujhe Bhool Na Jaana are the other popular tracks belonging to this film. Surendra, as a singer has worked with leading music composers of his time - Anil Biswas, Khemchand Prakash, Ram Ganguly and Naushad.


His full name is Surendranath and he was called ‘Surendra’ by Mehmood Khan. He was born on November 11, 1910 in Batala, Gurdaspur District, Punjab. Since young he wanted to become a singer. He completed his LLB studies to pursue a career in law. However he came to Mumbai to become a singer, recommended by a few friends. He was spotted by Mehmood Khan at Sagar Movietone who suggested him to join the film line as a singer-actor, as an alternative of K. L. Saighal, the leading singer then. Thus Deccan Queen (1936) directed by Mehboob Khan marked his film career.


It was not an easy task to convince his parents. However they allowed him to join the film only after Mehmood Khan agreed that he would show "Surendra Nath B.A.,LL.B" on the credit roll of the film. The song from the movie, "Birha Ki Aag Lagi More Man Mein" became an instant hit and Surendra received more film offers. He worked with many leading directors of the industry and enjoyed stardom in the 1940s. With late 1950s he switched on to character roles and became successful too. He was later seen in the movies - Roopmati, Mughal-E-Azam (where he again played Tansen), Hariyali Aur Raasta, Waqt, Boond Jo Ban Gayee Moti, Milan, Saraswatichandra etc and was also seen in TV ads of Colgate and Liril during his last years.


Surendra was married to Satya Rishi, the sister of author Tilak Rishi and the couple had four children. His younger son Kailash Surendranath is an ad and filmmaker, best known as the producer of ‘Mile Sur Mera Tumhara’ song for Doordarshan. Surendra died in 1987 at the age of 78 years.

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Updated: March 20, 2016

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