Pran Kishan Sikand 1920-2013
Pran Kishan Sikand was born on February 12, 1920, to a civil engineer in Delhi. He wanted to be a photographer but a chance meeting with writer Wali Mohammad Wali, who was writing Punjabi film ‘Yamala Jat’, brought him to the world of cinema. He played the hero in the film opposite Noorjehan. The film became a hit and the pair starred together in their first Hindi film ‘Khandaan’.
After Partition, he started trying his luck in Mumbai without much success. With the help of Saadat Hasan Manto and actor Shyam, Pran landed a role in Dev Anand-Kamini Kaushal starrer ‘Ziddi’. With the success of the film, Pran never looked back playing negative roles in ‘Madhumati’, ‘Ram Aur Shyam’, ‘Munimji’ and ‘Kashmir Ki Kali’.
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. 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’.
NDTV adds a little snippet:
Pran was also credited with helping actor Amitabh Bachchan get his biggest break – Zanjeer, which marked the rise of the Angry Young Man and made Amitabh Bachchan famous. Pran played one of his best known roles – the Pathan Sher Khan – in Zanjeer. He and Amitabh Bachchan formed a long and successful screen partnership after Zanjeer and struck up a lifelong friendship. Pran made one of his last public appearances at Amitabh Bachchan’s 70th birthday party in October last year.
IBN-Live carries a major tribute:
Dadasaheb Phalke awardee and legendary actor Pran passed away in Mumbai on Friday evening. Pran, who was 93 years old, received the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award for his contribution to cinema in May this year.
He was awarded the ‘Villain of the Millennium’ by Stardust in 2000 and was on the list of CNN’s Top 25 Asian actors of all time.
Born into a wealthy family in Delhi Feb 12, 1920, Pran lived and was educated in Lahore, Kapurthala, Meerut, Dehradun, Rampur, Unnao and finally Mumbai as his father, Lala Kewal Krishan Sikand, was a government contractor building bridges and roads, including the Kalsi Bridge near Dehradun.
Though he seemed interested in and pursued a course in photography in Lahore, a chance meeting with a movie producer got Pran a role in ‘Yamla Jat’ in 1940 when he was 20.
Despite the non-salvageable, utterly negative and chronic bad onscreen image, the real life Pran was absolutely different, a lover of Urdu poetry, folktales, humour, and one who always went out of his way to help people in need.
“He was delightful company who loved to smoke and enjoyed his evening Scotch, after the shootings,” as Amitabh once recalled.
Close associate and veteran film producer, A. Krishnamurthi of Tina Film International, Mumbai said: “He was softspoken, uninterfering, highly cultured, a lover of sports and games, associated with many social and sports organizations, loved to take part in charitable activities for the poor in the film industry and queued up to help people around the country in times of disasters.”
For several years, Pran owned and sponsored the Dynamos Football Club team and was a member of the Punjab Association, the Press Club of India, Chelmsford Club (all in New Delhi), Otters Club, CCI Club, Bombay Provincial Hockey Association, dedicated to sports or charitable activities through the Maharashtra Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, Maratha Shikshan Sanstha and Film Industry Welfare Trust.
Under the patronage of then Maharashtra Governor Nawab Ali Yavar Jung, Pran conducted several charity shows for Bangladesh refugees in the aftermath of the 1971 war, and for underprivileged or disabled or blind children.
One of the few in the film industry who would always answer his phone calls (if he was around), Pran had been ailing with old-age related diseases for the past few years, but several top industry personalities came eagerly to greet him on his 90th birthday.
At 90, answering a question, he said: “If I am born again, I would like to Pran…”