Rajendra Nath Malhotra (1931 − 13 February 2008) was a comedian actor in Nepalese, Indian Hindi and Punjabi films.
His family was from Karimpura locality of Peshawar but settled in Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh. He studied in college at Darbar College, Rewa where Arjun Singh (a Congress politician) and R.P. Agarwal were his class mates.
Rajendra Nath’s elder brother Prem Nath went to Mumbai and became an actor, so Rajendra Nath joined him in 1949, they were good friends of Raj Kapoor, Shashi Kapoor. Rajendra Nath and Prem Nath’s sister Krishna married actor-director, Raj Kapoor.He had also another brother Narendra Nath who also became actor usually played some villain’s role in the movies.
Film expert Rajesh Subramanian elucidates that Rajendernath who was least interested in studies quit college and landed in Bombay to work in films like his brother. He did some plays at Pritvi theatre like Pathan and Shakuntala. It was here that he became close to Shammi Kapoor.
Initially Rajendra Nath struggled to get roles till Sashadhar Mukherjee offered him a comedian’s role in Dil Deke Dekho, a film directed by Nasir Hussain, starring Shammi Kapoor and Asha Parekh. Rajendra Nath along with Asha Parekh were a regular feature in many Nasir Hussain films like Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon, Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai, Teesri Manzil, Baharon Ke Sapne, Pyar Ka Mausam. He also played a villain’s role in Hamrahi opposite Shashikala whom he kills. He has done 187 movies. He was one of the most famous comedians. His best role as comedian was in Mere Sanam and Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon. He also played the role of Hero/Second Lead in “Vachan” and “Teen Bahuraniyan”. He played supporting roles in films like Dharkan by Devendra Goel and Jeevan Mrityu by Rajashree Productions. He played a buffoon called Popatlal in Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai, and since then the name became synonymous with Rajendra Nath. He used this name in the TV series Hum Paanch.
He then did a large number of films, mostly comic roles, such as in An Evening in Paris and Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon. One of his most applauded performances was in Manoj Kumar’s Purab Aur Paschim though it was not a full fledged comedy role. He also contributed for Nepal’s first movie called Maitighar which was shot in Kathmandu, Nepal.
He starred in a number of Punjabi films such as Jatt Punjabi. He also acted in the very famous TV serial Hum Paanch as Mr. Popat Lal.
He died on 13 February 2008 from a cardiac arrest.