Pritish Nandy (born 15 January 1951) is an Indian poet, painter, journalist, politician, media and television personality, animal activist and film producer. He was member of Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian parliament representing Maharashtra based party Shiv Sena. He has published a number of poetry books in English and translated poems by other writers from Bengali and Urdu into English.
Pritish Nandy was born in Bhagalpur in the state of Bihar in eastern India to a Bengali family. He is the son of Satish Chandra Nandy and Prafulla Nalini Nandy, and brother of Ashis Nandy and Manish Nandy. He was educated at La Martiniere College and, briefly, at Presidency College in Kolkata. Nandy’s mother was a teacher at La Martiniere Calcutta and subsequently became the school’s first Indian vice principal.
Pritish Nandy’s first book of poems Of Gods and Olives was published in 1967. Three further volumes followed in the 1960s and a further 14 volumes were published in the 1970s.During the seventies Nandy edited and published a poetry magazine called Dialogue which published many of India’s finest poets in English and other languages, in translation. Dialogue also published over forty books of poems, of first time poets as well as famous poets. It became an iconic platform for contemporary Indian poetry, in English and in translation. In July 1981 Nandy was nominated as a Poet Laureate by the World Academy of Arts and Culture at the Fifth World Congress of Poets in San Francisco. Nandy’s poem Calcutta If You Must Exile Me is considered a pioneering classic in modern Indian literature.
The Government of India conferred on him the Padma Shri in 1977 for his contribution to Indian literature. He wrote a new book of poems called Again in 2010 after a long hiatus and then, Stuck on 1/Forty in 2012. In 2014, his version of the Isha Upanishad was published.
In the seventies, Pritish Nandy began to write for Sunday magazine. He was for several years Poetry Editor of The Illustrated Weekly of India and Books Editor of The Telegraph. He drew the front page cartoon called Mastermind for The Telegraph for three years.
In 1982 Nandy left Calcutta for Bombay where he joined The Times of India Group to become, for the first time in his life, a full-time journalist and editor. He was Publishing Director of The Times of India from 1982 to 1991, and Editor in Chief of The Illustrated Weekly of India from 1983 to 1991. He was also concurrently Editor of The Independent and Filmfare. He served at the same time as Publisher of The Illustrated Weekly of India, The Independent, Filmfare, Femina, Science Today, Dharmayug and Madhuri. He was also Publisher of Indrajal Comics.
In 1991, Nandy left The Times of India Group to do television journalism and began with two shows: Fiscal Fitness, The Pritish Nandy Business Show on Zee TV and The Pritish Nandy Show, India’s first signature show on Doordarshan National Network and Doordarshan Metro channels. He also covered the Indian Parliamentary elections 1998 for Doordarshan and did Face Off, a TV show with author Javed Akhtar. He is currently a columnist with The Times of India and Dainik Bhaskar.Nandy opened India’s first cyber café in 1996 at Hotel Leela Kempinski in Mumbai.
Pritish Nandy has held six shows of his paintings, drawings and calligraphy. The first was a calligraphy and water colours show called Looking Within with painter Samir Mondal in Gallery Ashish Balram Nagpal, Mumbai in 1990. The second was a calligraphy and drawings show called Images: The Poet and the Painter with painter Manjit Bawa which was held at CAA, the Centre for Contemporary Art Gallery, New Delhi in 1991 and then at Gallery Ashish Balram Nagpal, Mumbai. The third was a solo exhibition by Nandy called Drawings for My Childrenwhich was shown at the Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai and at Gallery 88, Calcutta in 1991. The show was accompanied by a street play in Calcutta in which Amitabh Bachchan and Anupam Kher participated.
Then, after eight years, came another solo show called Maverick: Poems of Love and Longing at the Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai in 1999. The next show was Bored at the Tao Art Gallery, Mumbai in 2008. The sixth show was again a collaboration, this time with painter Paresh Maity, of calligraphy and water colours based on Shesh Lekha: The Last Poems of Rabindranath Tagore which Nandy had translated for the first time in 1973. This show was held with the support of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India to commemorate Tagore’s 150th birth anniversary and was shown at the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi and then at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai and Tao Art Gallery, Mumbai and finally at CIMA, the Centre for Indian Modern Art in Calcutta during 2011.
Pritish Nandy was elected to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian parliament, in July 1998. He was a member of parliament for six years and was on a number of committees including the National Committee to Celebrate 50 years of Independence, the Parliamentary Committee for Defence, the Parliamentary Committee for Communications, the Parliamentary Committee for Foreign Affairs. He headed the Expert Committee for upgradation of the International Film Festival of India set up by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and submitted its findings to the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting in 2011.
In December 2012, he was conferred the Liberation War Honour by Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in Dhaka to honour his contribution to the war effort that led to the formation of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in 1971.
Pritish Nandy has worked for many causes but is best known as the founder of People for Animals, India’s largest animal protection NGO that Maneka Gandhi, former Environment & Forests Minister, Government of India, heads and runs as Chairperson. He received the International Humanitarian Award at the Genesis Awards in Los Angeles in 2012, supported by the Humane Society of the United States, the largest animal protection body in the US. On 28 November 2012 Pritish Nandy founded World Compassion Day, a platform for promoting the values of compassion and ahimsa, and the first lecture on the occasion was delivered in Mumbai by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama who spoke on the ethical treatment of animals. The occasion also launched the Humane Society International in India.
Film and television
Nandy founded Pritish Nandy Communications in 1993 and remains its non-executive chairman. The company’s first programme was a chat show titled the The Pritish Nandy Show which aired on Doordarshan, a public broadcasting channel. The World This Week also aired on Doordarshan. This was followed by Fiscal Fitness: The Pritish Nandy Business Show, India’s first weekly business show, on Zee TV. Nandy has presented over 500 news and current affairs shows on Doordarshan, Zee TV and Sony TV.
- India 98 : The Choice – A live election debate show on Doordarshan. Moderated by Pritish Nandy and Nalini Singh. Directed by Pankuj Parashar. Won the RAPA Award.
- The Pritish Nandy Show – A signature chat show on Doordarshan and Zee TV Network. Hosted by Pritish Nandy. Directed by Umesh Agarwal. The show was later repeated on Doordarshan Metro, Jain, Sun and Udaya TV. Nominated for the Screen Videocon Awards.
- Maneka’s Ark – An environment chat show on Star Plus and Doordarshan. Hosted by Maneka Gandhi. Directed by Amar Sharma and Rima Chhib.
- Mr Gaayab — A comedy serial based on the invisible man on Zee TV Network. Starring Joy Sengupta. Directed by Kushan Nandy.
- Face Off – An election chat show on Doordarshan. Hosted by Pritish Nandy and Javed Akhtar. Directed by Pankuj Parashar.
- Ek Raja Ek Rani – A comedy serial on Doordarshan and Zee TV Network. Starring Shekhar Suman in a double role and Bhairavi Raichura. Directed by Kushan Nandy. Won the Aashirwad Award for Best Actor in 1999.
- Raj Kahani – A costume drama on Doordarshan. Starring R Madhavan in a double role. Directed by Kushan Nandy.
- Khwahish – A behind-the-scenes look at the big bad world of fashion on Sony Television. Starring Annie Thomas. Directed by Manu Gargi.
- Yudh – A daily soap opera on Doordarshan, Sun, Udaya and Jain TV. Starring Mahavir Bhullar and Lalit Tiwari. Directed by Kushan Nandy.
- Sanjog – A daily show based on the story of an ideal Indian family. This serial crossed 250 episodes on Doordarshan National. Starring Amar Talwar, Anjana Mumtaz, Aamir Ali Malik, etc. Directed by Ajeet Kumar.
- India-The Awakening – A daily show profiling achievers on Doordarshan. Hosted by Pritish Nandy. Directed by different directors.
- Hungama Unlimited – A sitcom that lists the best of Hindi films and pop music. Also a countdown show to hit the number one position on Doordarshan Metro in terms of viewership ratings. Directed by different directors.
- Heads & Tails – An animal rights show on Doordarshan. Hosted by Maneka Gandhi. Directed by Umesh Agarwal. Won the RAPA Award and was nominated for the Screen Videocon and Pinnacle Awards.
- Entertainment Now – A daily entertainment news show on Doordarshan. Hosted by Sagarika Sonie. Directed by Subir Dhar and Amitabh Tripathi.
- Chup Bas Lakshya – PNC’s foray into regional Marathi television on Doordarshan Sahyadri. Starring Laxmikant Berde. Directed by Bhaskar Jadhav.
- New Horizons – An alternative lifestyle show on Doordarshan and Zee TV Network. Hosted by Maneka Gandhi. Won a Screen Videocon Award.
- Fiscal Fitness: The Pritish Nandy Business Show — A business show on Zee TV Network. Directed by Umesh Agarwal.
- Kuch Khatti Kuch Meethi /2001/ Producer
- Bollywood Calling /2001/ Producer
- The Mystic Masseur /2001/ Producer
- Sur, The Melody of Life /2002/ Producer
- Kaante /2002/ Producer
- Jhankaar Beats /2003/ Producer
- Mumbai Matinee /2003/ Producer
- Chameli /2004/ Producer
- Popcorn Khao! Mast Ho Jao /2004/ Producer
- Shabd /2005/ Producer
- Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi /2005/ Producer
- Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena /2005/ Producer
- Ankahee /2006/ Producer
- Pyaar Ke Side Effects /2006/ Producer
- Bow Barracks Forever /2007/ Producer
- Just Married /2007/ Producer
- Ugly Aur Pagli /2008/ Producer
- Meerabai Not Out /2008/ Producer
- Raat Gayi Baat Gayi? /2009/ Producer
- Click /2010/ Producer
- Fatso /2012/ Producer
- Shaadi ke Side Effects /2014/ Producer
- National Science Talent Scholar 1964
- American Field Service Scholar, 1964
- E. M. Forster Literary Award, 1976
- Padma Shri, 1977
- Homi Bhabha Fellow, 1982
- Shrikant Verma Award for Journalism, 1988
- Outstanding Citizen Award, 1986 and 1992
- Vijaya Ratna Award, 1989
- Shiromani Vikas Award, 1990
- Priyadarshini Award, 1990
- Freedom of Information Award, 1990
- RAPA Hamid Sayani Trophy 2003 for contribution to Indian media and entertainment
- United Nations Heritage Award 2006
- Ramnath Goenka Award 2006 for Excellence in Cinema
- Karmaveer Puraskaar 2008
- International Humanitarian Award at the Genesis Awards 2012 in Hollywood, organised by the Humane Society of the United States
- Liberation War Honour conferred by the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh 2013 in Dhaka
Books of poems
- Of Gods & Olives (Calcutta/ Mexico City, 1967) 32pp, Writers’ Workshop
- On Either Side of Arrogance (Calcutta, 1968) 32pp, Writers’ Workshop
- I Hand You in Turn My Nebbuk Wreath (Calcutta, 1968) 16pp, Dialogue/ Writers’ Workshop
- From the Outer Bank of the Brahmaputra (New York, 1969) 38pp, New Rivers Press
- Masks to be Interpreted in Terms of Messages (Calcutta, 1971) 48pp, Writers’ Workshop
- Madness is the Second Stroke (Calcutta, 1972) 56pp, Dialogue
- The Poetry of Pritish Nandy: Collected Poems (New Delhi, 1973)
- Riding the Midnight River: Selected Poems (New Delhi/ London, 1974) 144pp, Arnold Heinemann
- Dhritarashtra Downtown: Zero (Calcutta, 1974)
- Lonesong Street (Calcutta, 1975) 32pp, Poets Press
- In Secret Anarchy (Calcutta, 1976) 38pp, United Writers
- The Nowhere Man (Calcutta, 1976) 32pp, Arnold Heinemann
- A Stranger Called I (Calcutta, 1976), 48pp, Kavita/Arnold Heinemann
- Tonight, This Savage Rite/ With Kamala Das (New Delhi, 1977) 55pp, Arnold Heinemann
- Anywhere is Another Place (Calcutta, 1979) 48pp, Arnold Heinemann
- Pritish Nandy 30 (Calcutta, 1980) 30pp, Kavita/Arnold Heinemann
- The Rainbow Last Night (New Delhi, 1981) 48pp, Arnold Heinemann
- Again (New Delhi, 2010) 104pp, Rupa Publications
- Stuck on 1/Forty (New Delhi, 2012) 124pp, Amaryllis
- Rites for a Plebeian Statue (Calcutta, 1970), Writers Workshop
- Some Friends (New Delhi, 1979), Arnold Heinemann
- The Complete Poems of Samar Sen (Calcutta, 1970) 192pp, Writers Workshop
- Subhas Mukhopadhyay: Poet of the People (Calcutta, 1970) 24pp, Dialogue
- Poems from Bangladesh (Calcutta, 1971) Dialogue
- The Prose Poems of Lokenath Bhattacharya (Calcutta, 1971) Dialogue
- Bangladesh: Voice of a New Nation (Calcutta/ London/ New York, 1972)
- Shesh Lekha: The Last Poems of Rabindranath Tagore (Calcutta, 1973) Dialogue
- Modern Bengali Poetry (Chicago, 1974) Mahfil, University of Chicago
- The Flaming Giraffe: Poems by Sunil Gangopadhyay (Calcutta, 1975)Dialogue
- Songs of Mirabai with drawings by Rabin Mondal (New Delhi, 1975) Vikas Publishing
- The Poetry of Kaifi Azmi (Calcutta, 1975) 32pp, Poets Press/Arnold Heinemann
- Krishna, Krishna: Poems by Kabir (New Delhi, 1976) Vikas Publishing
- The Lord is my Shepherd (New Delhi, 1982) Vikas Publishing
- Untamed Heart: Poems by Bhartrhari with drawings by Samir Mondal (New Delhi, 1994) Rupa Publications ISBN 81-7167-216-7
- Unchained Melody: Poems by Amaru with drawings by Samir Mondal (New Delhi, 1994) Rupa Publications ISBN 81-7167-217-5
- Careless Whispers: Sanskrit Love Poetry with drawings by M.F Husain (New Delhi, 1994) Rupa Publications ISBN 81-7167-220-5
- The Isha Upanishad: illustrated by Sunandini Banerjee (Calcutta, 2013) Seagull Books
- Lonesong Street, with Ananda Shankar (EMI, 1977)
- Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, with Shantanu Moitra (Virgin, 2004)
- Pritish Nandyr Kobita translated by Amarendra Chakravarti (Calcutta, 1975)
- Pritish Nandyr Kobita translated by Shakti Chattopadhyay (Calcutta, 1978)
- Indian Poetry in English: 1947–1972 (Calcutta, 1972) Oxford & IBH
- Indian Poetry in English Today (New Delhi, 1973)
- Modern Indian Poetry (New Delhi/ London, 1974)
- Modern Indian Love Poetry (New Delhi, 1974) Vikas Publishing
- Modern Indian Love Stories (New Delhi, 1974) Vikas Publishing
- Strangertime (New Delhi, 1976) Sterling Publishers
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