I’m shocked that this [the award] happened so late! Nonetheless, it’s better late than never. I think Pranji is a great candidate for this huge honour. The man’s contribution is immense. He started with doing negative roles, then moved to doing several positive ones. There was always a lot of variety.
I started my career with Pran sahib in Bobby and later went on to do around 30-35 popular films with him. He still is a very dedicated artist. He is extremely sincere, punctual and has always believed in discipline.
Pran ji has always supported sportspersons too. I know for a fact that he helped Kapil Dev a lot during his days as a cricketer. He has also done a lot of social work. But it was ironic that in his heyday, because of the kind of impact his negative roles had on people, new mothers would never name their babies after him. But he is nothing like his on-screen image. Of course, he was never the villain in my films as I joined the industry much later. By then, had reached the stage where he would play a father.
Pran ji is an integral part of my family and the Indian film industry. He and my father Raj Kapoor were very close friends. In fact, he and my uncles Shashi and Shammi Kapoor too were great friends. I would like to congratulate Pran ji and the entire Sikand family for receiving this great honour. The man is an institution in himself and an inspiration to many. Salaam to Pran ji!
As told to Shalvi Mangaokar