Pran Kumar Sharma is one of a kind in every sense of the word. As the creator of several storied comic characters, including Chacha Chaudhary, Shrimatiji, Pinki, Billoo, Sabu, Raman, Channi Chachi, among others, the 75-year-old wears his greatness with humility.
Understandably, the drop in the popularity of comic strips has hurt the humourist, who says, “It is sad that comics are a dying breed. Something should be done immediately to arrest their decline. Like somewhat with Chacha Chaudhary around a decade ago, if we could convert legendary cartoon characters into animated television figures, nothing like it. I hope something is done to preserve their cult.”
Ask him what made his cartoon characters a part of folklore and the illustrator says, “All of them were humble and ordinary. There were inspired from the middle-class Indian life. That made them relatable to my readers. Chacha (Chaudhary), for example, could be your average Indian man on the road. Billoo was your teenage boy-next-door. The fact that there was nothing special about these characters made them memorable when their tale was told.”
As a stupendous begetter of more than 1,65,000 cartoons and 225 books, the caricaturist concludes fondly talking about his heroes, “RK Laxman and Sudhir Dar are exceptional men, whose work I looked up to. Their thoughts and ideas are amazing. Although most of the inspiration in the context of their work was political, it inspired me to take a cue to create the characters I did,” he adds.