statesman news service
MUMBAI, 13 JULY: The mortal remains of veteran and versatile actor Prankishan Sikand ~ simply Pran on the silver screen ~ were consigned to flames at the Shivaji Park electric crematorium Saturday afternoon. Pran lost the battle against a prolonged illness at the Lilavati Hospital Friday night. He was 93 and was belatedly honoured with the film world’s most coveted Dadasaheb Phalke award a couple of months ago. He leaves behind wife Sulekha, sons Arvind, Sunil and daughter Pinky.
Mumbai’s battering rain took time off as the ambulance carrying Pran saab’s body was brought to Shivaji Park directly from the hospital. His daughter Pinky had told reporters that the body would not be taken to his home but straight for the last rites at the electric crematorium. Film personalities Amitabh Bachchan, Anupam Kher, Gulzar, Karan Johar,  Shatrughan Sinha (all in afp photo), Danny Denzongpa and many others assembled at the crematorium to pay their tributes.
Bachchan had in the morning blogged: “We do not make the likes of Pran anymore. A gentleman of the finest order, an admirable colleague and a considerate human, Pran, was a delightful companion after office hours. Another stalwart leaves us. At this time of our lives we do not make friends anymore but lose them.” Mr Kher said: "A glorious era has ended with the passing away of the most versatile actor.”
Pran entered the Hindi movie industry as a villain and created a niche for himself as arguably the best “bad man” on the screen. He once funnily observed “I have seen parents naming their children after their favourite actors but no one dared to name a son as Pran.” A tribute to self as the most cunning performer in the movies. He lived all those despicable characters with ease and finesse.
It was the greatest showman Raj Kapoor who gave Pran a ‘decent’ role in “Aah” but the viewers could not stand the villain playing a semi-character purposely role in the film. His image as a crafty, scheming and unscrupulous person was deeply etched on viewers mind. They, like the film’s hero who used to beat him on the screen had always been unforgiving in the condemnation of Pran although he was an entirely different person, a thorough gentleman, off-screen. Pran acted in nearly 400 films mostly as villain but stood up to actors like Dilip Kumar (Madhumati), Dev Anand (Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai) and Raj Kapoor (Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai) with matching elan. He lived all those roles provoking audiences with hatred.
It was during the 1970s when his acting talent bloomed as a talented versatile actor. The credit goes to Manoj Kumar who drafted him as one-leg “Malang baba” on crutches cracking meaningful dialogues in Upkaar. That role completely changed the viewers opinion about Pran. He was paired with another veteran Ashok Kumar as funny duo in Victoria No 203 chasing Saira Banu.  The most memorable character role of “Sher Khan"was opposite Amitabh Bachchan in “Zanjeer”.
The movie also gave the angry young man title to Bachchan.