Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay(15 September 1876 – 16 January 1938) was a Bengali novelist and short story writer of early 20th century.
Sarat Chandra was born in Debanandapur, Hooghly, Bengal Presidency, British Raj. His family was occasionally supported by other family members and Chattopadhyay’s lack of financial stability would influence his writing in years to come. He started his education at “Pyari Pandit”s” pathshala and then he took admission at Hooghly Branch High School. Although he began as a fine arts student, Chattopadhyay left his studies due to his persistent state of poverty. He received his early education while residing at his maternal uncle’s house in Bhagalpur. He spent 20 years of his life in Bhagalpur and a significant portion of his novels were either written in Bhagalpur or based on his experience in Bhagalpur.
His work represented rural Bengali society and he often wrote against social superstitions and oppression. For a short period he was a sannyasi, a Hindu ascetic who abandons the material and social worlds. His first published story was “Mandir”.
After the death of his parents, Chattopadhyay left his college education midway and went to Burma in 1903. There he found employment with a Government Office as clerk. He returned to India, but before his departure he submitted a short story for a prize competition under his uncle’s name, Surendranath Ganguli. It won first prize in 1904.
Vishnu Prabhakar wrote a biography about Chattopadhyay. Prabhakar traveled for fourteen years to collect material.
He died in Kolkata of liver cancer in 1938.
Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyaya visits Surendranath Roy in 1927.
Bordidi, (The Elder Sister) 1907
Bindur Chhele, (Bindu’s Son) 1913
Biraj Bou, (Mrs. Biraj) 1914
Ramer Shumoti, (Ram Returning to Sanity) 1914
Palli Shomaj, 1916
Dehati Samaj, 1920
Devdas, 1917 (written in 1901)
Choritrohin, (Shameless) 1917
Srikanta, (4 parts, 1917, 1918, 1927, 1933)
Dena Paona, (Debts and Demands) 1923
Pather Dabi or Path Ke Davedar, (Demand for a Pathway) 1926
Ses Prasna, (The Final Question) 1931
Swami (The Husband)
Mahesh (The Drought)
Dorpochurno (Broken Pride)
Aalo O Chhaya
Sharoda (published posthumously)
His works have been made into some fifty films in many Indian languages, particularly his novel Devdas made into sixteen versions, from Bengali, Hindi to Telugu, all verson get huge response. Parineeta also been made twice, Majhli Didi (1967) by Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Swami (1977) for which he was awarded Filmfare Award for Best Story. Another famous film Chhoti Bahu (1971) is based on his novel Bindur Chhele.His Novel ‘Datta’ was adapted into a Bengali film (1976) starring Suchitra Sen and Soumitra Chatterjee in the lead roles.
There was another movie based on his novel called Nishkriti, Apne Paraye (1980) by Basu Chatterjee, starring Amol Palekar. The Telugu film Thodi Kodallu (1957) is also based on this novel. Gulzar’s 1975 film, Khushboo is majorly inspired by his work entitled Pandit Mashay. The 1961 Telugu film Vagdanam by Acharya Atreya is loosely based on his novel Datta. Also the 2011 film Aalo Chhaya is based on his short story, Aalo O Chhaya.