Published — Saturday 13 July 2013
Last update 13 July 2013 1:57 am
NEW DELHI: Bollywood's legendary actor Pran, who played both heroes and villains in several Hindi film classics over six decades, died of pneumonia at Mumbai's Lilavati Hospital yesterday, his doctor said. He was 93.
Pran acted in more than 350 Hindi movies in a long, prolific career dating back to the 1940s. He played a vast range of roles — a hero, villain and character actor — but was best known for his villains.
Sanjeev Mehta, his doctor, said Pran Krishan Sikand, popularly known as Pran, was hospitalized more than two weeks ago in the Mumbai hospital and died yesterday.
He was presented the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, the Indian government's highest honor for cinema, in May at his Mumbai home by Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari.
He also received several other prestigious awards, including Filmfare magazine's "Lifetime Achievement Award" in 1997 and the 'Villain of the Millennium' by Stardust magazine three years later.
He acted as a hero from 1940 to 1947 in hit films like "Khandaan" (family) and "Aurat"" (Woman). He became best known for his roles as a villain from 1942 to 1991 in movies such as "Bari Behen" (Elder Sister), "Azaad" (A Free Man), "Jis Desh Men Ganga Behti Hai" (A Country Where the Ganges River Flows)," ''Half Ticket," ''Johnny Mera Naam" (Johnny Is My Name) and Zanjeer "Shackles."
Born on February 12 in 1920 in old Delhi, 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).
He is survived by his widow, two sons and a daughter.
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 cremation will take place today in Mumbai, India's financial and entertainment capital, the Press Trust of India news agency said.