Daya Shankar Pandey Age, Wife, Family, Biography & More

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Hometown: Mumbai
Marital Status: Married
Profession: Actor

Daya Shankar Pandey

Physical Stats & More
Height (approx.)in centimeters- 175 cm
in meters- 1.75 m
in feet & inches- 5’ 9”
Eye ColourBlack
Hair ColourBlack
• Hindi: Pehla Nasha (1993)
Pehla Nasha (1993)
• Bhojpuri: Satya (2017) as Tabrez Ansari
Bhojpuri action-romance-drama film Satya (2017)
• Gujarati: Reva: A Journey Within (2018) as Gandu Fakir
Reva A Journey (2018)
• Nepali: Kadke Kamal Ke (2018)
Nepali film Kadke Kamal Ke (2018)
TV: Lene Ke Dene (1991) as a postman on Doordarshan

Web Series: Rangbaaz (2018) as Mahavir
ZEE5's Rangbaaz (2018)
Awards, Honours, Achievements Gujarati Iconic Film Fare Award (2018) for Actor in a Negative Role (Male)
Daya Shankar Pandey receiving Gujarati Iconic Film Fare Award (2018)
Personal Life
Date of Birth19 November 1965 (Friday)
Age (as of 2023)58 Years
Zodiac signScorpio
College/UniversityShri Chinai College Of Commerce & Economics, Mumbai [1]Amar Ujala [2]Mumbai Theatre Guide
Relationships & More
Marital StatusMarried
Wife/SpouseName Not Known
ChildrenHis daughter got married in 2021.
ParentsFather- Vishwanath Nath Pandey (owned a stable in Dahisar)
Mother- Vidyawati

Daya Shankar Pandey

Some Lesser Known Facts About Daya Shankar Pandey

  • Daya Shankar Pandey is a renowned Indian film and television actor. His notable works include the Bollywood films Lagaan (2001), Gangaajal (2003), Swades (2004), and Raajneeti (2010). He gained widespread recognition for playing the role of Inspector Chalu Pandey in the popular TV series Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah. He is also known for his lead role as Shani Dev in the television series Mahima Shanidev Ki (2008) on Imagine TV.
  • Daya Shankar Pandey grew up in Mumbai.

    Childhood picture Daya Shankar Pandey

    Childhood picture Daya Shankar Pandey

  • Daya was born into an Awadhi-speaking family hailing from Bhadohi (Jagapur Paran), Uttar Pradesh. [3]Hindustan Times His father, Vishwanath Nath Pandey, relocated from Uttar Pradesh to Mumbai in 1942, where Daya was born. Initially, Vishwanath worked at a dairy farm earning eight rupees per month and managed to save four rupees each month, eventually setting up his own stable in Dahisar, a suburb of Mumbai. Daya’s childhood in Dahisar was modest, with his family owning a stable where he often slept as a child.
  • Later, his parents returned to their hometown, and Daya moved in with his uncle and aunt in Mumbai. After that, the stable was then overseen by Daya’s uncle, Amarnath Pandey.
  • Daya attended a convent school in Borivali, Mumbai. He had no interest in running stables. His family sold the stable around 1980.
  • When he was in Class 9, he discovered a passion for cinema and the entertainment industry. He would spend his weekends watching films featuring stars like Rajesh Khanna, Dev Anand, Dilip Kumar, and Amitabh Bachchan at a neighbour’s house, as his parents did not permit theatre visits. He also enjoyed mimicking these actors. By Class 10, he had decided that he wanted to become an actor. In an interview, Daya talked about his inspiration to become an actor and said,

    Every Sunday, Doordarshan used to telecast movies at 6 pm. I have seen so many films of Rajesh Khanna, Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan. Though I did not have the sense of acting then, I still believed that was something I could do. Every actor begins by copying others. I used to copy Rajesh Khanna. That was a part of the initial learning process.”

  • He had always aspired to enrol in the National School of Drama (NSD), but destiny led him on a different path. Nonetheless, many assumed he was an NSD student because he frequently hung out with numerous NSD actors. During this period, he also met NSD actor Irrfan Khan, whose influence motivated him to pursue acting.
  • In an interview, Daya mentioned that once his interest in acting grew, he inquired with his father if their ancestors had any inclination towards performing arts, wondering if acting was in his genes. However, his father confirmed that to his knowledge, no one in their family had ever participated in Ramleela or any form of theatrical performance. Nonetheless, Daya’s father was always supportive of his acting career and never discouraged him from pursuing his passion.
  • While in college, he acted in several plays such as Bheekhmange and Bandhuvabhamashah, receiving widespread critical praise for his performances. He showcased his versatility by acting in plays in multiple languages, including Hindi, Gujarati, English, and Marathi. He won numerous awards and medals in various acting competitions. Recalling an embarrassing moment from his college days, in an interview, he said,

    I was a hero in college as I was doing a lot many plays and bringing back medals and awards. Noticing my talent a director forced me to do an English play. I had only a five-line dialogue in this play but I was very bad even with this. It so happened that I was to sit on one end of the stage and wait for my cue to say those five lines. And I fell asleep on stage. As a result, I missed my lines and gave the wrong cue to my co-actor who got so confused that we messed it up totally.”

  • During his college years, Daya was introduced to the world of theatre by Indian film director Chandraprakash Dwivedi, who staged plays at his college. Despite hailing from Uttar Pradesh, Daya initially struggled with Hindi pronunciation, which he improved while collaborating with Dwivedi. In an interview, Daya shared that during his college days, he began to see himself as a figure akin to Amitabh Bachchan.
  • He got married in his early career days, while he was still struggling in the entertainment industry. His wife hails from Dhaukalganj in Varanasi. In an interview, Daya acknowledged that his wife had made significant sacrifices for him. During his challenging times in showbiz, his wife took the responsibility of looking after his parents back in the village.
  • After completing his studies in 1989, Daya embarked on a journey in theatre, working with directors Mahendra Joshi and Satyadev Dubey. Joshi, who lived near Daya’s residence, was known for his strict teaching methods, making Daya hesitant to approach him. Similarly, Daya was also scared of Dubey and would often observe his rehearsals from a distance. A chance encounter with Joshi on a train gave Daya the courage to ask Joshi for mentorship. Although Joshi was directing a Gujarati play Mojila Manilal and had no acting role for Daya, he allowed Daya to assist backstage, starting with tasks like serving tea. This period allowed Daya to observe and learn from Joshi, but Daya still felt downhearted about not doing an appropriate job following graduation.
  • Daya was responsible for managing all of Joshi’s plays at the Prithvi Festival, including Mojila Manilal, Khelaiya, Tokhar in Gujarati, and Ekshuff in Hindi.
  • In an interview, Daya shared an interesting anecdote from his struggling days. He said that he practised for one of the lead roles of Lalji in Ekshuff with Shafi Inamdar. His performance was well-received, leading to his casting in the role. However, when Feroz Khan, who had done this role earlier, returned from London and requested to perform in just two shows, Daya graciously agreed. Khan’s performances were acclaimed, and he continued to play the role, which unfortunately led to Daya losing his chance and instead playing a horse in the play. Daya recalled the same and said,

    It was my misfortune that though I had rehearsed for this role I ended up playing one of the horses in the play. I couldn’t argue as I was a struggler and my financial condition was very bad so I continued playing the horse. I was required to wear 1.5-kilo heavy iron cast legs of the horse and a mask weighing 500 gms throughout the play. This was how I started my stint in commercial theatre.”

  • Struggling to make his name, Daya started working as an assistant for director Gyan Sahay, believing it would help him stay connected to the industry. Subsequently, his career took a positive turn, and he was featured in several theatrical productions, including Mareez, Popcorn With Parsai, and Suitable Bride.
  • During his time working with Gyan Sahay, Daya landed his debut acting role in 1991, appearing in the television show Lene Ke Dene broadcast on Doordarshan. He was featured in a scene alongside actor Ravi Baswani. While Baswani played the lead role, Daya played the supporting role of a postman who arrives to deliver a letter to Baswani’s character. In the scene, Baswani’s character invites the postman to sit under a tree and requests him to read the letter aloud. In an interview, Daya recalled his acting debut and said,

    I first faced the camera in 1991 at Filmistan Studios. Back then there wasn’t much work for actors. Cinema and Doordarshan were the only two mediums. I was a struggling actor, who also assisted TV director-cameraman Gyan Sahay in a DD show called Lene Ke Dene….Once a role came up and I gathered strength to approach Gyan Sahay. There was no trend of audition then. That was the time when a director had belief and confidence in the actor. Sahay ji knew I was into acting too. That’s how I got selected. I couldn’t sleep one night before and after the shoot. I remember when this episode was to be telecast, I called everyone in my village to watch it. It came at 8 am. It was a different kind of happiness of coming on the screen.”

  • Daya made his Bollywood debut with the thriller film Pehla Nasha in 1993, where he had a minor role alongside Paresh Rawal. Unfortunately, in the final version of the film, all of his scenes were edited out. He talked about his first break, in an interview and said,

    I got my first break in cinema in Ashutosh Gowarikar’s film ‘Pehla Nasha’. Ashutosh Gowarikar and we often used to meet at Ravi Vaswani’s house. He gave me a small role in the film ‘Pehla Nasha’ so I was very happy that I had a scene with Paresh Rawal. But when I went to watch the film in the theater after its release, I saw that all my scenes had been cut. Even in the scene with Paresh Rawal, only my dialogue could be heard. I felt very sad.”

  • Following his initial setback, Daya was given the chance to act in Sai Paranjpye’s romantic film Papeeha (1993) and in Ashutosh Gowarikar’s Baazi (1995), which featured Aamir Khan in the lead role. Aamir Khan highly appreciated Daya’s performance in Baazi, leading to Daya being cast in another Aamir Khan-led film, Ghulam (1998). Aamir Khan also recommended Daya to director Ram Gopal Varma for the role of Pakya in Rangeela (1995). Although initially selected for the role, Daya was eventually replaced. In an interview, he talked about the disappointing turn of events and said,

    I thought who would interrupt Aamir Khan? I was very happy in those days that my struggle was over. But, in the film industry, nothing is decided until the film is released. Same thing happened with me also. Even after everything was finalized, I did not get that role.”

  • Simultaneously, Daya went on to take on minor roles in various TV shows, such as Daal Mein Kuch Kaala Hai and Tehkikaat on DD National in 1994.
  • He played the role of a rapist in the action film The Gambler (1995).

    A collage of old pictures of Daya Shankar Pandey from his early days as an actor

    A collage of old pictures of Daya Shankar Pandey from his early days as an actor

  • In 1997, he appeared in the comedy show Ghar Jamai, playing the Hotel Union Leader in Episode 43 and the character Robert in Episode 45.
  • The following year, in 1998, he was seen in Zee TV’s horror series Woh as Chandu Shiva’s friend, as Assistant Editor Pandey in SET’s Saaya, and as Pandey in SET’s Family No.1.
  • He continued to make brief appearances in shows like Yeh Duniya Hai Rangeen (1999) as Security Guard Yadav, Shubh Mangal Savadhan (2002), and Kituu Sabb Jaantii Hai (2007) on Sahara One as Jogi.
  • In 2001, Daya came into the spotlight with his role in the epic musical sports drama Lagaan in which he played Goli, a seamer, who owns the largest piece of land in the village in the story.

    Daya Shankar Pandey as Goli in the film Lagaan (2001)

  • During an interview, Daya disclosed that he was initially directed to dance alongside Aamir Khan in the song Mitwa from the film Lagaan (2001). However, he declined to perform the choreography, believing himself to be a poor dancer. He was concerned that people would make fun of his dancing in future. In an interview, he talked about the same and said,

    The plan was that Aamir and I will dance. I even rehearsed with choreographer Ganesh Hegde for 4-5 days. But both of us banged our heads. I did try, but I noticed in the rehearsals that I was pathetic. I just couldn’t manage it. Then I went to Aamir and Ashutosh with folded hands requested them to not make me dance. I knew 20 years down the line, people will make fun seeing me dance with Aamir. Just to save my respect, I slowly retracted.”

  • Daya once shared that landing a role in Lagaan was a challenging task. At that time, he was in contact with the film’s director Ashutosh Gowarikar. However, when Daya expressed his interest in a role in the film, Gowarikar turned him down. This led Daya to seek assistance from Aamir Khan, asking him to intervene on his behalf. He talked about the same in an interview, and said,

    I used to meet Ashutosh Gowarikar continuously. In those days, preparations for the film ‘Lagaan’ were going on. When I asked for a role from Ashutosh Gowarikar, he said that there is no role in the film suitable for me. So I called Aamir Khan directly. I just said that if I don’t get work even in a film based on the backdrop of Uttar Pradesh, will I get work in Yash Chopra and Karan Johar’s films set in Switzerland? Aamir Khan laughed a lot after hearing this. Then one day his call came. I still remember that date. On December 26, 1999, I was eating food. Aamir called and said come to office tomorrow morning and meet Kiran (Rao).”

  • Following a series of small roles, such as a taxi driver in Aankhen (2002), a school teacher in Makdee (2002), and the character Hari in Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost (2003), Daya played the role of Sub-Inspector Mangni Ram in the action crime drama Gangaajal (2003).

    Daya Shankar Pandey as Sub-Inspector Mangni Ram in the action crime drama film Gangaajal (2003)

    Daya Shankar Pandey as Sub-Inspector Mangni Ram in the action crime drama film Gangaajal (2003)

  • He starred in the 2004 Indo-American co-production film American Daylight in which he played the role of Ashok.
    American Daylight (2004)
  • He gained massive recognition for his role of Mela Ram in Swades (2004) and Daya Shankar in Apaharan (2005).
  • In an interview, Daya recounted how he landed a role in the film Swades (2004). He recalled receiving a late-night call from the film’s director Ashutosh Gowariker, who inquired if he could drive a moped. Gowariker explained that the film required Daya to drive a Bajaj M50 with Shah Rukh Khan and Rajesh Vivek as passengers. Despite not being proficient at driving a two-wheeler, Daya decided to audition, fearing that honesty about his driving skills might cost him the role. During the audition, Shah Rukh Khan got on the moped behind Daya. As Daya put the moped into first gear and released the clutch, the moped leapt into the air and Shah Rukh fell off. While Daya was terrified at that moment, Shah Rukh Khan responded to the mishap with humour. Shahrukh extended his hand towards Daya and softly said,

    I knew you didn’t know how to ride a bike properly. But, now only you will do this scene..!”

    A picture of Daya Shankar Pandey, Shah Rukh Khan, and Rajesh Vivek riding a moped during a scene in the film Swades (2004)

    A picture of Daya Shankar Pandey, Shah Rukh Khan, and Rajesh Vivek riding a moped during a scene in the film Swades (2004)

  • Daya’s career took a significant turn in 2008 when he landed the lead role of Shanidev in the Hindu mythological TV series Mahima Shani Dev Ki on Imagine TV, a role that made him a household name. His performance in Mahima Shanidev Ki earned him a nomination for Best Actor in a Drama Series at the Producers Guild Film Awards in 2012.
  • Shiv Sagar, the creative producer of Mahima Shani Dev Ki, sought Daya’s birth details to analyze his horoscope before finalizing him for the show. Upon examining his astrological chart, Shiv Sagar discovered that Saturn (Shani) was the ruling planet of Daya’s zodiac sign, leading him to conclude that Daya was ideally suited for the role.

    A picture of Daya Shankar Pandey as Shanidev in Imagine TV's Hindu mythological TV show Mahima Shani Dev Ki (2008)

    A picture of Daya Shankar Pandey as Shanidev in Imagine TV’s Hindu mythological TV show Mahima Shani Dev Ki (2008)

  • Since 2010, Daya has been a regular on Sony SAB’s enduring TV series Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah, playing the role of Inspector Chalu Pandey. Additionally, he contributes as a creative consultant for the show. His work in Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah earned him a nomination for the Best Actor in a Supporting Role Award at the Indian Television Academy Awards in 2018.

    A picture of Daya Shankar Pandey as Inspector Chalu Pandey in Sony SAB's TV show Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah

    A picture of Daya Shankar Pandey as Inspector Chalu Pandey in Sony SAB’s TV show Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah

  • Between 2013 and 2014, Daya appeared as Surjeet Singh in the StarPlus soap opera Ek Veer Ki Ardaas…Veera.
  • In 2015, he took on the antagonist role of Bilasi Poddar (Vibhor’s uncle) in the soap opera Badii Devrani on &TV.  His performance in Badii Devrani garnered him a nomination for the Indian Telly Award for Best Actor in a Negative Role.

    A picture of Daya Shankar Pandey as Bilasi Poddar in the soap opera Badii Devrani on &TV

    A picture of Daya Shankar Pandey as Bilasi Poddar in the soap opera Badii Devrani on &TV

  • Subsequently, Daya made appearances in several TV shows, including Devon Ke Dev…Mahadev (2014), Suryaputra Karn (2015), and Wagle Ki Duniya – Nayi Peedhi Naye Kissey (2022).
  • In 2017, he took on the lead role in the teleplay Bhamashah in which he portrayed the titular role. Bhamashah was a well-known philanthropist, warrior, and advisor to Maharana Pratap. The show’s story highlights how Bhamashah’s financial contributions enabled Maharana Pratap to rebuild his army and recover his territories.

    Daya Shankar Pandey in and as Bhamashah (2017)

    Daya Shankar Pandey in and as Bhamashah (2017)

  • In 2019, Daya featured as Hari Ram Pandey in Manish Vatssalya’s Hindi crime film Scotland. This acclaimed Indo-UK production was recognized among the 2020 Oscar contenders in the Best Feature Film category. The plot revolves around a daughter who has been sexually assaulted by four thugs. When the courts acquit the defendants, the grieving father decides to take justice into his own hands to take revenge.

    Manish Vatssalya Hindi crime film Scotland (2019)

    Manish Vatssalya Hindi crime film Scotland (2019)

  • In 2022, Daya began playing the role of ShyamLal Maurya in the slice-of-life comedy series Sab Satrangi, airing on Sony SAB.
  • In 2023, he took on the role of the narrator Pandit Radheshyam in the show Tulsidham Ke Laddu Gopal on Shemaroo TV.

    Daya Shankar Pandey as Pandit Radheshyam in the TV show Tulsidham Ke Laddu Gopal (2023)

    Daya Shankar Pandey as Pandit Radheshyam in the TV show Tulsidham Ke Laddu Gopal (2023)

  • Other popular films in which he starred include Ek Ajnabee (2005), Welcome to Sajjanpur (2008), Raajneeti (2010), Chakravyuh (2012), Haseena Parkar (2017), Haseen Dillruba (2021), and Satyameva Jayate 2 (2021).
  • Daya Shankar Pandey regards Amitabh Bachchan as his mentor. Once, on Teachers’ Day, Pandey recalled the time he received acting guidance from Bachchan while they were working on the film Ek Ajnabee (2005). In a conversation with the media, Daya shared that Amitabh Bachchan personally enacted Pandey’s scene to help him grasp it better, as Pandey was feeling nervous at the time.

    Daya Shankar Pandey as Kripa 'Krispi' Shankar and Amitabh Bachchan as Col. Suryaveer 'Surya' Singh in Ek Ajnabee (2005)

    Daya Shankar Pandey as Kripa ‘Krispi’ Shankar and Amitabh Bachchan as Col. Suryaveer ‘Surya’ Singh in Ek Ajnabee (2005)

  • He played the role of Saheb Singh in the crime drama web series Raktanchal (2020) on MX Player.
  • In 2022, he played the role of Arjun’s father in the Tamil anthology series Putham Pudhu Kaalai Vidiyaadhaa and Abhay’s father in the Hindi romance-drama web series Faadu.
  • In 2024, he appeared in the biographical film Main Atal Hoon in which he portrayed the role of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya, an Indian politician who believed in integral humanism. He led the political party Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS), which later became the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
    Main Atal Hoon
  • Ravi Baswani once recommended that Daya should adopt Kali Pandey as his screen name, believing it would boost his popularity. Despite this suggestion, Daya chose not to change his name. [4]The Indian Express