Pran, gentleman villain, dies at 93 in Mumbai hospital

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • |
  • Updated: Jul 13, 2013 08:16 IST

Dadasaheb Phalke awardee Pran in a still from one of his movies. (HT Photo)

Legendary Bollywood actor Pran, who was conferred the Dadasaheb Phalke award in May, passed away at 8.30pm in Mumbai on Friday after a prolonged illness.
He is survived by his wife Shukla, sons Arvind and Sunil, and daughter Pinky.

The 93-year-old had been admitted to Lilavati Hospital, Bandra, a month ago and had been diagnosed with pneumonia. Hospital sources said he was on ventilator for a few days.

“He died of multi-organ failure,” a doctor from the hospital said.  The final rites will be performed on Saturday at the Shivaji Park crematorium.

Born  in 1920 as Pran Kishan Sikand to a wealthy Punjabi family in Old Delhi, his debut film was Yamla Jat in 1940. In a career spanning six decades, Pran featured in more than 350 films, including blockbusters such as Zanjeer, Don and Amar Akbar Anthony. He was one of the highest-paid Bollywood actors in the 70s and 80s.

Pran 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.

He 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.

Pran 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'.

(With PTI inputs)

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