Pran was one of the leading character actors of Indian cinema. He was born on 12 February,1920 at Delhi. Pran was educated at different places namely Kapurthala, Unnao, Meerut, Dehradun and Rampur as his father late Lala Kewal Krishnan Sikand was a Government Civil Contractor for the construction of roads and bridges. Pran started his career by learning photography in Lahore. A chance meeting with a film producer, got him his first break in ‘Yamla Jat’ in 1940.
Married in 1945 to Shukla, he had two sons Arvind and Sunil, and one daughter Pinky. At partition in 1947, Pran came to Mumbai and restarted his film career after a brief struggle. He acted in over 400 films in a variety of roles. As a villain, in films like ‘Ram Aur Shyam’ people shuddered with fear and hated him, and yet loved him as the good, unforgettable ‘Mangal chacha’ in ‘Upkar’. He went on to star in films with the leading actors of various decades from Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Rajendra Kumar, Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra to Sanjay Dutt, Sunny Deol and Salman Khan. He was among the highest paid and most sought after character actors of his time, starring in some of the biggest and most acclaimed films of all time.
Being a sports lover and a good sportsmen he had his own football team “Dynamos Football Club” which he financed for a number of years in the fifties. Along with his film career he had been engaged in a number of Social activities, including the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, Maratha Sikshan Sanatha, Film Industry Welfare Trust. He had organised charity events and cricket matches, as well as the ‘Hope 86′ and ‘Hope 87′ shows for the needy people in the film industry.
Under the patronage of the Late, His Excellency Nawab Ali Yawar Jung, Pran presented a number of charity shows for the refugees of Bangladesh and for the deaf and dumb.
In an illustrious career of over six decades, Pran was bestowed with many awards including 4 Filmfare Awards, Villain of the Millennium honour from Stardust, Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian award from the Government of India in 2000 and the DadaSaheb Phalke Award for Lifetime Achievement (highest honour for cinema in India) from the Government of India in 2012. He died on 12 July 2013 at the age of 93 after a prolonged illness in Mumbai’s Lilavati Hospital.
Pran was born in a very wealthy Delhi-based Sikand family on February 12, 1920. His dad, Kewal Krishan Sikand was a renowned civil contractor, Kalsi bridge in Dehra Dun was just one of his projects.
As a child he had studied in Meerut, Kapurthala, Unao, Dehra Dun, & Rampur. He was very fond of dogs, and always had a dog for a pet since his childhood to date.
He wanted to become a professional photographer and joined A. Das & Co. as an apprentice, for which he re-located to Simla.
‘Dil Ki Umange Hain Jawan…”
Nalini Jaywant, Pran and Dev Anand in ‘Munimji’ (1955).
It was in Simla that he landed his very first role as an actor, albeit on stage with Madan Puri, and played the role of Sita in ‘Ramleela’. He went to star in a Punjabi movie ‘Yamla Jat’ as a villain. Ironically his foray into Hindi movies started as a hero in ‘Khandaan’ opposite actress Noor Jehan.
After 1948 he re-located to Bombay and launched his career in Bollywood with ‘Ziddi’. In this manner ‘villainous Pran’ was born and went on to star in 361 films. As a villain, post independence, his first successful movie was Ziddi and Badi Behan (1949). Pran was regularly offered the role of the main villain or negative character in the films with Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand and Raj Kapoor as the lead hero in the 1950s and 60s. Pran’s performance as the negative character was very much appreciated in Dilip Kumar starers like Azaad, Madhumati, Devdas, Dil Diya Dard Liya, Ram Aur Shyam and Aadmi and films with Dev Anand as the lead man like Ziddi, Munimji, Amar Deep, Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai and with Raj Kapoor in Chori Chori, Jagte Raho, Chhalia, Jis Desh Men Ganga Behti Hai, Dil Hi Toh Hai. Films with him as the lead hero ”Pilpili Saheb” became a hit in 1954, after which D.D. Kashyap decided to cast Pran in title role of Halaku, which again was successful film of Pran as the leading man. Pran proved his versatility in the 50’s by enacting as the typical swashbuckling pirate in Sindbad the Sailor (1952) and Daughter of Sindbad (1958)and acting in action-packed thrillers like Azad (1955); historical such as Aan (1952) and Raj Tilak (1958); social themes such as Baradari (1955) and light romances like Munimji (1955) and Asha (1957). Subsequently in the sixties and seventies, even though he was in his forties, being slim and fit, his demand in the film market never went down and he was given pivotal roles as a character artiste in films with Shammi Kapoor, Joy Mukherjee]], Rajendra Kumar, Dharmendra and Amitabh Bachchan as heroes.
He married Shukla in 1945, and both became parents of Arvind, who was born on August 11, 1946. Subsequently they also gave birth to Sunil and Pinky. All three are now married, while Arvind, married to Chitra, is doing business in London, and is the father of two; Sunil is married to Jyoti & has a son; Pinky is married to Vivek Bhalla, and has two children. The names of Pran’s grandchildren are Yuvraj Bhalla, Siddharth Sikand, Arjun Sikand, Swati Bijlani, and Sunaina Anand.
He stated that he is satisfied with his life so much so that if he were re-born he would like to be Pran all over again.
Ashok Kumar and Pran were best friends and have acted in 27 films together from 1951-1987 and had 20 super-hit films together.
Pran was among the highest paid supporting actors of his time.
Pran and Amitabh Bachchan worked together in several super hit films – Zanjeer (1973), Majboor (1974), Kasauti (1974), Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), Ganga Ki Saugandh (1978), Don (1978), Dostana (1980), Naseeb (1981), Kaalia (1981), Nastik (1983), Andha Kanoon (1983), Sharaabi (1984) that are among the top grossing films of 1970s and 1980s. Shahenshah (1988) and Toofan (1989) are other films in which they starred together, both the films had record opening week but eventually became only average grossers. Jaadugar (1989) and Mrityudaata (1997) are the only Pran – Amitabh Bachchan starrers that are flops.
Sadhana and Pran in a still from the movie ‘Rajkumar’ (1964).
In the decade of 60’s from 1960-69 he appeared in 60 Hindi movies and 1 Bengali movie Sonai Dighe- which is a record in Hindi films for an actor not playing heroes role but either character actor or a villain’s role.His demand as an actor grew bigger from late 1950’s and reached its peak from 1965-1982.He did 62 movies in decade of 1950’s and 60 in 1960’s.
His first film as a hero was Punjabi film Khandaan in 1942 opposite Noor-Jehan and first film as a villain was Punjabi film Yamla Jat in 1940. He acted in 22 Hindi movies from 1940-1946 and 18 got released by 1947 and remaining 4 got released in Pakistan after Partition.
Pran did 9 films with Shashi Kapoor as the lead hero and 7 of them were hits.In 1952 in film Sanskaar, Shashi had worked as a child artist with Pran.
Pran had done Aurat (1967) where Rajesh Khanna was supporting actor and Pran was the main male lead and in 1971 Maryada which was a 2 hero film with Pran as villain. Pran did 6 more films with Rajesh Khanna from 1983-1987 and of them only Souten was successful – Jaanwar(1983), Bewafai, Durgaa, Gora were flops and 1 film Bayen Haath Ka Khel remains unreleased.
Prakash Mehra cast Pran in memorable supporting roles in 9 directorial ventures of his.
Shammi Kapoor, Rajendra Kumar’s career began in late 50’s and ended in early 1970’s but Pran continued to get pivotal roles.
His children were sent to boarding school in their fifth standard.
Pran successfully complemented every leading actor from Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Rajendra Kumar to Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, Vinod Khanna, Salman Khan as a character actor.
Pran’s first car in India was a Hillman.
Pran had three brothers and three sisters.
Pran’s first ever acting role was Sita to Madan Puri’s Ram in Shimla, at a local Ramlila in 1938.
Ashok Kumar, Shammi Kapoor, Manoj Kumar, Prakash Mehra, Shashi Kapoor, Kishore Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan and Dilip Kumar were very close friends of Pran.
Pran was an avid collector of smoke pipes. He also had a fascination of collecting walking sticks, some of which had hidden swords.
Rajendra Kumar, Producer Malik Chand Kochar, Pran, Writer Vinod Kumar and Music Director Jaikishan on the sets of the film ‘Aan Baan’ (1972).
Pran has acted in a television series called Baap Se Bada Rupaiya, on Doordarshan. Pran also acted as a detective in the television serial “They Call Me Dangerous” in the late ’90s. He was “Mr. Dangerous” in that serial.
Pran wanted to be a photographer and was working in a shop in Shimla where he learned photography from 1936-39. Then he went to Lahore, and that’s where he got his first break.
Pran did not tell his father that he was shooting for a movie, as he thought his father would not permit him to have an acting career. When his first interview appeared in a newspaper, Pran asked his sisters to hide the papers. When his father finally learned of his career, he was not upset as Pran had expected.
After eight months of arriving in Mumbai, Pran — with the help of writer Saadat Hasan Manto and actor Shyam — got a role in Shaheed Latif’s Ziddi(1948), starring Dev Anand and Kamini Kaushal.
After partition, He got a break in Ziddi (1948). Pran was offered a mere sum of Rs 500 as his first remuneration for Zidd. Within a week of its release, he signed three more movies. S M Yusuf’s Grihasti, Prabhat Films’s Apradhi and Wali Mohammad Wali’s Putli.
According to Pran, one of the most precious things he lost in the Partition was his dog. When Pran became popular, he would name his dogs Bullet, Whisky and Soda.
Before Pran came to Mumbai, he had already acted in 22 films as a hero between 1942-46. Due to the Partition, his career had a brief pause.
When Pran came to Mumbai, he stayed at the Taj Mahal hotel. As he had no work, money started running out, and the family had to shift to smaller and smaller hotels. Finally, they had to stay in a guest house. And then rented houses till 1954. Pran rented a two bedroom flat in Pali Hill and for some years he lived in Mazagaon, central Mumbai. When Pran’s youngest daughter was three, he bought a bungalow in Union Park, Bandra.
Khandaan in 1942 was Pakistani singer Noorjehan’s first film as a heroine and Pran’s first film as hero. Though the film was a super-hit, Pran shied away from lead roles.
Pran started his career in 1939 even before Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand and Dilip Kumar entered the film industry.
The first film Dilip Kumar and Pran did together was Azaad. They became very close friends then, as they shot for three months in Coimbatore.
In his first job as photographer, Pran earned a monthly salary of Rs 200. He gave up the job to act in films for Rs 50 a month in Yamla Jat.
Pran played his first double role in Jangal Mein Mangal.
After coming to Mumbai, Pran’s first film was Ziddi, where the leading lady was Kamini Kaushal. When Kamini Kaushal became a character actress in Shaheed, Pran also shifted to positive roles for the first time.
In the film Shaheed in 1965, two famous villains of the time Pran and Prem Chopra played positive roles. Pran did the role for a pittance, as he was a close friend of actor Manoj Kumar.
Pran had insisted his wife leave Lahore because of the unrest in early 1947 so she stayed with her sister in Indore.
Though he was already very popular in 1940-1945 , he had to establish himself again after partition. So he struggled from 1948-1950.
Pran with renowned Urdu poet and lyricist Qateel Shifai and son Naveed Qateel
Stopped working in movies when he had a heart problem in 1998. That was the first time he was ever admitted in hospital in his life for health reasons.Earlier Pran met with an accident while shooting for Dus Numbri when he was 56 years old then as he insisted on jumping 15 feet and broke his ankle.
In 1972, Pran refused to accept his Filmfare award for the Best Supporting Actor in Be-Imaan because he felt music composer Ghulam Mohammed deserved a Filmfare award for his songs in Pakeezah.
While shooting for a sequence in Bobby, Pran almost drowned in a river. Fortunately, he managed to get hold of a rock and saved himself.
During the casting of Bobby, Raj Kapoor couldn’t afford Pran’s fee which was in range of 5-10 lakhs in 1970-75 period. Pran agreed to do the film with a signing amount of Re 1.
Pran was very fond of watching cricket and was close friends with former West Indies captain Sir Frank Worrell.
Pran was not greatly interested in studies. He studied till the tenth standard and did not feel the need to study further.
He worked with B R Chopra only once in Afsana, which was Chopra’s directorial debut. As Pran’s fee was very high in 1969-1982 and for a supporting actor he was not ready to shell out and thought of investing more in hero and rest of cast.For same reason Shakti Samanta and many small budget film-makers did no work with Pran from 1969-82. Yash Chopra gave him small role in Joshila for marketing reason and so that Pran would not charge him his official market rate as length of role was less.
Pran has worked in 2 hit Telugu films called Tandra Paparayudu in 1986 and Kodama Simham with Cheeranjvi in 1990 and in a Kannada film Hosa Raaga in 1991.
Pran was often reportedly paid more than heroes in early 1970s due to his seniority in industry.
Pran outlasted several heroes such as Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, Rajendra Kumar owing to his growing popularity as a character artiste.
Pran started his own distribution office in Delhi in 1970.
Pran worked with director Shibu Mitra in 8 films and, except for Raja Aur Rana, all were successful.
S.K.Kapur directed Pran in 6 films and had only 2 flops.
In the film Badi Behen in 1949, Pran adopted the action of blowing perfect smoke rings while smoking his cigarettes for first time. Later Pran was asked by various directors from the 1950’s until the 1990’s to do this act in many films. This act became his trademark action.
Waheeda Rahman in early 60’s was attending a party with Pran in Madras. After a few drinks, some of the revelers got tipsy and tried to get misbehave with her, and it was Pran who came to her rescue.
When Pran and Joy Mukherjee was shooting for Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon, a huge crowd gathered making it difficult to shoot. Nasir Hussaain asked Pran to give a look to people and speak to them asking them to remain silent. When Pran did this the crowd obeyed and that was kind of fearful image people had in their minds about Pran.
Pran was a hot favorite with Manmohan Desai, having directed Pran in 5 directorial ventures like Chhalia, Bluff Master, Dharam Veer, Naseeb, Amar Akbar Anthony.
His demand as an actor grew bigger from late 1950’s and reached its peak from 1965-1982. He did 62 movies in decade of 1950’s and 60 in 1960’s.
Director Prakash Mehra cast Pran in 9 of his directorial ventures in his career – Ek Kunwari Ek Kunwara, Zanjeer, Aan Baan, Khalifa, Jwalamukhi, Sharaabi, Muqaddar Ka Faisla, Mohabbat Ke Dushman, Jaadugar.
Pran played villain in only 16 Hindi films from 1971 which were in Maryada, Naya Zamana, Jawan Muhabat Aan Baan, Roop Tera Mastana, Yeh Gulistan Hamara, Gaddar, Rahu Ketu, Andha Kanoon, Duniya, Insaaf Kaun Karega, Durgaa, Bewafai, Hoshiyar, Dharm Adhikari and Azaad Desh Ke Ghulam.
Pram played the leading man in films like Khandaan(1942), Pilpili Saheb(1954), Halaku (1956), Aurat (1967 film), Dharma(1973), Jangal Mein Mangal, Gaddar, Ek Kunwari Ek Kunwara(1973), Rahu Ketu (1978). All of them were successful. Halaku was his favorite of all performances as told to Rediff.com in an interview.
Pran regards his best films , other than those in which he played main lead, in the films such as Bari Behen (1949), Bahar (1951), Arif Laila(1953), Jashan (1955), Azaad(1955), Jis Desh Men Ganga Behti Hai (1960), Half Ticket (1962), Upkar(1967) and Purab Aur Paschim, Aurat(1967), Ansoo Ban Gaye Phool’, Kab? Kyoon? Aur Kahan?, Johny Mera Naam(1970), Victoria No. 203, Zanjeer (1973), Majboor (1974), Chori Mera Kaam(1975), Hatyara(1977), Chor Ke Ghar Chor(1978), Don (1978), Maan Gaye Ustaad, Ladies Tailor(1981) and Duniya (1984).
In the 1960s, Pran was frequently in the directorial ventures of directors A. Bhim Singh, Shakti Samanta, Bhappi Sonie, K. Amarnath,Nasir Hussain. But since the early 1970’s, when Pran had reached the peak of his career, most of these directors did not cast Pran as they could not afford his price.
From the 1950’s directors like M.V.Raman, Nanabhai Bhatt, Kalidas, Ravindra Dave, I.S. Johar, Bimal Roy repeatedly cast Pran in different roles in their many films from 1950-1969.Similarly in sixties Pran was frequent in directorial ventures of directors like A.Bhim Singh, Shakti Samanta, Bhappi Sonie, K. Amarnath,Nasir Hussain. But these same above mentioned directors could not cast Pran in their films after 1970 as they could not afford him.In 1970’s new younger directors and producers cast Pran in their films even though Pran’s price was highest among supporting actors from 1968-1982.
Pran introduced comedy into his villainous characters only from 1964 beginning with Kashmire Ki Kali and Pooja Ke Phool. Till then Pran only inculcated fear from various characters and changed gestures in every character.
Pran considered his best dialogues came in films like Badi Behen (1949), Sheesh Mahal (1950), Halaku(1956), Adalat(1958), Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai (1961), Shaheed(1965), Dus Lakh(1965), Upkar (1967), Paththar Ke Sanam (1967), Kab Kyun Aur Kahan (1970), Adhikar(1971), Buniyaad(1972), Dharma(1973),Zanjeer (1973), Majboor (1974), Kasauti(1974), Chor Ke Ghar Chor (1978).
Pran’s films as a character artiste in Amitabh Bachchan starrers – Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), Naseeb (1981) and Andha Kanoon (1983) are among the only 13 films in 1970s till 1984 that were classified as “All Time Earners” by trade.
The films Pran did from 1944-47 were all made in undivided India and films like But Taraash (1951), Khanabadosh (1952) were released in Pakistan after Partition, but Pran had shot for his portions in 1947.
When Pran moved to Mumbai in 1947, he found no work for six months. He arrived in Mumbai with wife Shukla (whom he married in 1945) on Aug. 14, 1947, a day before India achieved Independence, and checked in at the best hotel – Taj Mahal Hotel. In order to settle the hotel bills, he had to sell his wife’s jewelry and work in another hotel for a while after.
Though Mohammed Rafi, Manna Dey and Kishore Kumar were his primary singers during this phase, the youngest playback voice he had was Suresh Wadkar in “Khushnaseeb” (1982).
He did several real dual roles and “pseudo” ones (where one man pretended to be another). His last dual roles were in “Jungal Mein Mangal” (1973), “Insaf” (1974) and “Khoon Ka Rishta” (1981).
Granduncle to actor Vishal Malhotra’s wife Rashi.
Pran would prepare for his roles at home. If he was doing a new role he would go through books and look up pictures to get the look right.He would consult the make-up man and director and suggest that for particular character he is doing in the film, he be given the look in a particular way as concluded from the research he has made by reading books and watching images.
Knew to read in Urdu and loved it so much that requested his dialogs be written in Urdu in 1950’s.But then accepted scripts and dialogs in English and Hindi from 60’s to 90’s.
When the 1978 film Apna Khoon flopped Pran said to Shibu Mitra that another film with the same cast of Shashi, Hema, Ashok Kumar, Pran, Amjad Khan must be made with Ajith and Om Prakash also acting in it.Shashi attributed the failure of Apna Khoon to the film not being planned well.Producer AS.K.Kapur accepted and made Maan Gaye Ustaad which was a blockbuster in 1982.
The films Pran did from 1944-47 were all made in undivided India and films like But Taraash (1951), Khanabadosh (1952) were released in Pakistan after Partition but Pran had shot for his portions in 1947.
Pran got rave reviews for his performances in Dil Diya Dard liya and Afsana despite presence of Dilip Kumar as hero.
In 1970’s new younger directors and producers cast Pran in their films while B.R.Chopra, Shakti Samanta, Nasir Hussain,Bhappie Sonie and others who directed Pran in 1950’s or 1960’s , all shied away from casting him as they could not afford Pran in the decade of 1970’s and 80’s.
Pran regarded Balraj Sahni, Ashok Kumar, Dilip Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjeev Kumar, Sunil Dutt, Shashi Kapoor and Rajesh Khanna among versatile actors.
Pran is considered among the most versatile actors of Hindi cinema.
When Pran moved to Mumbai inn 1947, he found no work for six months. He arrived in Mumbai with wife Shukla (whom he married in 1945) in 1947 and checked in at the best hotel – Taj Mahal Hotel. In order to settle the hotel bills, he had to sell his wife’s jewelry and work in another hotel for a while after.
During Upkar (1967), composers Kalyanji-Anandji were horrified that their composition Kasme Vaade Pyar Wafa would be pictured on Pran. They tried to reason with Manoj Kumar but he was adamant. When they finally saw the song on screen, they were the first to apologize to Pran for doubting him.
His roles in the films like Bari Behen(1949), Bahar (1951), Jashan(1955), Azaad(1955), Jis Desh Men Ganga Behti Hai (1960), Half Ticket (1962), Kab? Kyoon? Aur Kahan?’,Johny Mera Naam, Duniya (1984) as well as his character roles in Upkar (1967), Shaheed (1965), Aansoo Ban Gaye Phool (1969), Victoria No. 203 (1972), Be-Imaan(1972), Zanjeer (1973), Majboor (1974), Chori Mera Kaam (1975), Hatyara, Chor Ke Ghar Chor, Don (1978), ”[[Maan Gaye Ustaad]]”, ”Ladies Tailor” (1981) and Duniya (1984) are considered to be among his best performances.
Songs sung by Kishore Kumar and pictured on Pran in the 1970s like Hum Bolega To Bologe Ke from Kasauti, Micheal Daru Pita Hai from Majboor, Meri Nazar Se Bachana Koi from Chori Mera Kaam and Meri Janam Kundali Mein from Vishwanath were huge hits and continue to be popular.The title song of Maan Gaye Ustaad – Mera Ek Sawaal Hai sung by Rafi and Do Bichare Bina Sahare sung by [[Mahendra Kapoor]] for Pran are also popular.The title song of Maan Gaye Ustaad – Mera Ek Sawaal Hai sung by Rafi and the Asha-Rafi duet Raaz Ki Baat Keh Doon from Dharma and Do Bichare Bina Sahare sung by [[Mahendra Kapoor]] for Pran are also popular.Manna Dey has done playback for Pran in many films from 1967-1985 and famous songs of them are Yaari Hai from Zanjeer and Kasme Vaade Pyar Wafaa from Upkar. Prem Nath and Pran have acted together in films like Dhan Dhaulat, Rahu Ketu. The song Main Hoon Prem Tu Hai Mera Pran sung by Manna Dey and Rafi and pictured on Pran and Prem Nath is also famous. The youngest playback voice he had was Suresh Wadkar in “Khushnaseeb” (1982).
In early 1990’s, he starred with Salman Khan and Danny Denzogpa in the film Sanam Bewafa and other younger new generation actors of 1990’s like Vivek Mushran,Arman Kohli, Akshay Kumar, Sunil Shetty and Aamir Khan.
Pran and Amitabh Bachchan shared great working relationship and years later Amitabh Bachchan wrote the foreword for Pran’s biography “And Pran…”. Pran also made an appearance in Tere Mere Sapne (1996) which was produced by Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Limited (ABCL).
Pran played villain in Telugu films Tandra Paparayudu (1986) and Kodama Simham(1990) with Chiranjeevi and in a Kannada film Hosa Raaga in 1991.
Daughter Pinky Sikand also uses the name Pinky Bhalla. She was thanked for her contribution for the 2007 film ” Honeymoon Travels LTD.”.
In 2013, Pran was honoured with Dadasaheb Phalke Award by Government of India for lifetime achievement in contribution to cinema. This is the highest honour for cinema in India.
In 2010, Pran was named among Asia’s 25 Greatest Actors of All Time by CNN International. The other Indian actors in the list were Guru Dutt , Amitabh Bachchan ,Nargis and Meena Kumari.
Grandson Siddharth Sikand is a director for Ads, music videos and short movies.
Daughter in law name is Chita Sikand (Married to son Arvind).
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