Legendary Actor Pran Dead

Legendary Actor Pran Dead
PTI Photo
Legendary Actor Pran Dead

Veteran actor Pran, who played the dreaded villain and lovable character with elan in hits like Milan, Madhumati, Bobby, Zanjeer and Ram Aur Shyam, passed away at a suburban hospital here this evening at the age of 93.

"He died after a spell of prolonged illness," his daughter Pinky told PTI. He was admitted to Lilavati hospital a month ago after his health started deteriorating, she said.

His funeral will be held tomorrow noon at Shivaji Park in Dadar.

The veteran actor, who had a six-decade-long career that saw him performing in over 400 films, was conferred the country's highest cinema honour -- Dada Saheb Phalke award -- in April.

Pran left his imprint as a villain with powerful roles in films like Kashmir ki Kali, Khandan, Aurat, Bari Behen, Jis Desh Men Ganga Behti Hai, Half Ticket, Upkar, Purab Aur Paschim, Don, Karz and Naseeb.

Born on February 12 in 1920 in old Delhi, Pran Krishan Sikand was educated at places like Kapurthala, Unnao, Meerut, Dehradun and Rampur as his father Lala Kewal Krishnan Sikand was in government service.

Initially, Pran wanted to become a photographer but destiny had different plans for him. A chance meeting with a film producer got him his first break in Punjabi film Yamla Jat in 1940.

There was no looking back for the actor after that as he went on to star in films like Chaudhary (1941), Khandan (1942), Kaise Kahun (1945) and Badnami (1946).

After Partition, Pran came to Mumbai with his wife Shukla and sons Arvind and Sunil but found it difficult to get work as an actor in the city of dreams. 

Pran had almost given hope when writer Saadat Hasan Manto helped him get a role in Dev Anand starrer Ziddi in 1948 which revived his career.

He will be forever remembered for bringing villains on par with the heroes, ruling the industry from 1969 to 1982. He commanded equal money and respect for his negative characters in Madhumati, Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai, Ram Aur Shyam and Devdas.

The actor's baritone and good looks helped him bring charm to his villainy which was very unique to Pran. Such was the magic of his onscreen roles that parents stopped naming their children 'Pran' at the height of his fame.

His chameleon-like ability helped Pran transform himself from one of the most hated onscreen villains to one of the most beloved character actors -- be it the Mangal chacha in Upkar, Sher Khan of opposite Amitabh Bachchan in Zanjeer or the discipline-loving but soft-hearted grandfather in Gulzar's Parichay.

Prior to his film career, the actor wanted to become a professional photographer and worked as an apprentice with a company.

This job took him to Shimla, where he played the role of Sita in a local staging of Ramlila. He happened to meet writer, Wali Mohammad Wali, who worked for producer Dalsukh M. Pancholi in Lahore. This eventually led to Pran's entry in the film industry.

He acted in few Punjabi films before entering Indian cinema with Sunil Dutt-Nutun starrer super hit film Khandan (1965).

His contribution in comedy movies also didn't go unnoticed with some side-splitting performances in Sadhu Aur Shaitaan, Chham Chama Chham, Half Ticket and Bewaqoof and others.

It was reported that in the 70s, Pran was among the highest paid actors in Indian cinema, ahead of his co-stars like Amitabh Bachchan and Vinod Khanna.

Pran married Shukla Ahluwalia in 1945 and has two sons, Arvind and Sunil and a daughter, Pinky.

Tributes and Condolences

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar also paid rich tributes to the veteran actor.

In a condolence message, Singh said Pran had "entertained several generations of Indians with his riveting performances in hundreds of celluloid roles. His versatility in etching a lasting impressions on cinema audience's mind improved with time, for which he was bestowed with the Dada Saheb Phalke Award."

He pointed out that Pran "had worked with doyens of film industry among which he was an icon".

"On this sad occasion, I convey my heartfelt condolences to the members of the bereaved family and Pran's countless fans and admirers. I pray for peace of the departed soul," he added. 

Meira Kumar said that with Pran's death we "have lost an actor of rare calibre and sophistication that symbolized his illustrious career".

"Considered as one of the most successful actors to portray strong characters of various hues, Pran ruled the Hindi film industry for several decades and won the admiration of millions of fans in India and abroad", she said.

"Indian cinema has today lost an icon, an actor who set new standards of action with every role that he portrayed in the last several decades," the Information and Broadcast Minister, manish Tewari said in his condolence message.

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