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Bollywood’s First Villain: Gets Into Hall Of Fame

Updated: May 4, 2013 2:53 pm

Pran, the dreaded Villain of Bollywood, will be conferred with Dadasaheb Phalke Award for his contributions to Indian cinema. The actor, whose career spans over several decades, has acted in several memorable films, including Zanjeer, Ram aur Shyam, Aadmi and Upkar


Is ilaaqe main naye aaye ho saheb? …..Varna Sher Khan ko kaun nahin jaanta. Remember this famous dialogue of Sher Khan, the character in Prakash Mehra made super hit movie Zanjeer that heralded the era of action movies in Bollywood besides catapulting an otherwise flop actor Amitabh Bachchan into limelight.

Sher Khan was no other than Bollywood’s biggest villain Pran Kishan Sikand popularly known as Pran who has been named as the winner of the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, the most prestigious award of the Indian cinema, presented by the Indian Government.

Pran will receive this coveted award at the 60th National Film Awards ceremony on May 3, 2013 for his lifetime works in the film industry. This is for the first time that a Bollywood ‘villain’ has been selected to receive this biggest honour in Indian cinema.

The previous Dadasaheb Phalke Award winners included Prithvijaj Kapoor, Dev Anand, Satyajit Ray, Raj Kapoor, Ashok Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Yash Chopra to name a few stalwarts. Pran will be the 44th winner of this award. He will be honoured with cash award of Rs 10 lakh and a golden lotus medal. Devika Rani was the first recipient of this honour.

Starting in 1940, Pran, dreaded as the most hated negative actor in Hindi movies ruled the silver screen in the 60s and 70s though he continued to have his sway on Bollywood for six decades. Pran (93) has acted in 400 movies and has since retired from acting due to advanced age.

‘My name is Pran.” These four letters were enough to evoke fear and drive home the point as to who the person was and what his characters meant for his audience. May be this was why no mother ever dared to name her child Pran. In fact Pran in Hindi means Jeevan or life, a name any parent would have liked.

No one ever thought that Pran would be an actor one day that too one of India’s most versatile actors. Born in old Delhi into a wealthy Punjabi family, Pran wanted to become a photographer but a visit to a shop changed his destiny. A chance meeting with the writer Wali Mohammad Wali, who worked for a Punjabi movie landed him his first role in the film Yamla Jat (1940). He then acted in Hindi movies and his first Hindi movie was Khandaan (1942), where Pran acted a romantic hero, opposite Noor Jehan.

Based in Lahore, Pran acted in 22 films from 1942 and 46 and he then shifted to Bombay after partition of India and achieved success here in negative roles. In Bombay as a villain Pran tested initial success in movies such as

Ziddi and Bari Behan (1949). He was regularly offered the role of the main villain in the films with Dilip Kumar in films such as Azaad (1955), Devdas (1955), Madhumati (1958), Dil Diya Dard Liya (1966),

Ram Aur Shyam (1967) and Aadmi (1968), with Dev Anand in films such as Ziddi (1948), Munimji (1955), Amar Deep (1958), Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai (1961) and Raj Kapoor in Aah (1953), Chori Chori (1956), Jagte Raho (1956), Chhalia (1960), Jis Desh Men Ganga Behti Hai (1960), Dil Hi Toh Hai (1963).

Due to Pran’s popularity younger producers in the 70s hired him even though he used to command the highest price among supporting actors from 1968 to1982. Pran who did a mix of negative and positive roles was known for his unique style, dialogue delivery, make up and dress sense. Being an extremely stylist actor he added new dimensions to a negative role in Indian films.

In the 50s Pran proved his versatility by acting the role of the typical swashbuckling pirate in the Sindbad the Sailor (1952) and Daughter of Sindbad (1958) and in action-packed thrillers like Azad (1955) and light romances like Munimji (1955) and Asha (1957) to name a few.

In the 1960s and early 1970s he got pivotal roles in films with Shammi Kapoor, Joy Mukherjee, Rajendra Kumar and Dharmendra who were the lead heroes. It was in films such as Pooja Ke Phool and Kashmir Ki Kali, where he started bringing comical side to his negative characters. Pran always had a significant role in comedy films starring Kishore Kumar and Mehmood Ali in the lead roles.

Pran’s memorable collaborations with Mehmood include Sadhu Aur Shaitaan (1968), Lakhon Me Ek (1971) and with Kishore Kumar include Chham Chhama Chham (1952), Aasha, Bewaqoof (1960), Half Ticket (1962) and Man-Mauji (1962). He turned towards positive roles in the late 1960s with the character of Malang Chacha in Manoj Kumar’s film Upkar (1967).

He was also featured in several hit songs and these included Kishore Kumar’s “Hum Bolega To Bologe Ke Bolta Hai” from Kasauti (1974), “Micheal Daru Pita Hai” from Majboor (1974), “Meri Nazar Se Bachana Koi” from Chori Mera Kaam. The title song of Maan Gaye Ustaad, “Mera Ek Sawaal Hai” sung by Rafi and “Do Bichare, Bina Sahare” from Victoria No 203 sung by Mahendra Kapoor is also popular even today. Pran had also acted in around half a dozen Bengali movies as well.

Though he started rejecting films in the late 1990s due to old age, he came forward to help Amitabh Bachchan who was going through a bad patch in his career. For Bachchan’s come back Pran acted in films such as Tere Mere Sapne (1996), Mrityudata (1997).

1942: A Love Story in 1994 was his latest famous movie and he hung his boots in 1998 ending nearly six decade acting career. In the past years he has been in and out of hospitals. His family included wife Shukla and three children Arvind, Sunil and Pinky.

Pran is one of the most celebrated actors of the industry who is known for his signature acting, his favourite line “Barkhurdaar’ remained immensely popular even today.

Though he had received numerous awards including the Padma Bhushan, the Dadasaheb Phalke award is the fitting honour for Pran, one the greatest thespians of our times.

By Jully Mishra from Mumbai

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