Divya Solgamawrote on Aug 20 2008 6:14PM
Pran was Born as Pran Sikand on 12th. February,1920 at Delhi in the lap of luxury in a prosperous family, endowed with a super intellect and equipped with the natural gift of an artist, he has a congenial background and credentials in the shape of dignified paternity and noble family traditions. Illustrious son of our motherland. 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. Kalsi bridge near Dehradun was constructed by him.
A chance meeting with the writer Wali Mohammad Wali at a shop in Hira Mandi, led to Pran winning his first role as a villain in Dalsukh Pancholi's Punjabi film Yamla Jat followed by Chaudhary & Khajanchi. Khandaan was the first Hindi movie in which Pran became a hero opposite Noorjehan, who had earlier acted with him as a child artist. For the better part of the twentieth century, he was recognized as the eponymous 'bad man' of Indian cinema. Whether a sadistic despot or a malicious village bully, a dissolute city animal or a wicked anti-national, Pran portrayed the infinite shades of evil with consummate ease. Such was the impact that, if for centuries, not a single person has been named Ravan, then for over three decades after independence, almost no male child was named Pran, because he was 'branded' as the personification of evil. While Pran perfected the art of portraying evil in all its dimensions, he also immortalized the 'good' image in some of the most memorable characterizations ever seen on the Indian screen. Whatever the role, each performance was suffused with originality and imagination. By his use of highly stylized mannerisms, unusual get ups, realistic make-up and different accents, Pran succeeded in rising above the ordinary, in turning stereotypes into unforgettable characters. In a distinguished career spanning 60 years, Pran has played an enviable variety of roles, which includes acting as a villain, comedian and even a hero. Pran happened to meet well-known filmmaker Mohammed Walli outside a "paanshop" in Lahore where he was learning still-photography. This meeting changed young Pran Kishen Sikand's life forever. Walli found the young man's face interesting and recommended him to his friend, Dalsukh Pancholi, who cast him as a villain in his Punjabi film Yamla Jat (1940). Another Punjabi film Chaudhary (1941) followed, where Pran played the villain again. Both these films were hits and Pancholi next cast Pran as the hero in his next film, Khandaan (1942). Even though Khandaan was a major hit and Pran was flooded with offers to play hero, Pran turned them all down, because as he says he didn't fancy chasing girls around trees. Pran acted in 22 films as a villain before his career came to a pause in the wake of the partition. Accompanied by his wife and 18-month-old son, he came to Mumbai, where the going wasn't easy. He had all but given up on a career in films, when he ran into Urdu writer Saadat Hasan Monto and the late actor Shyam, who managed to get him a villain's role in the Dev Anand-Kamini Kaushal starrer Ziddi, which was directed by Shaheed Lateef.He was paid Rs. 500 for the film, of which Pran demanded Rs. 100 in advance, to celebrate the break! Ziddi, was followed by films like B.R. Chopra's Afsana (1951), Raj Kapoor's Aah (1953), O.P. Dutta's Malkin (1953) and Bimal Roy's Badi Bahu (1954). Among his notable roles are the title role of Halaku (1956) and the fearsome 'Rekha' in Raj Kapoor's Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai. Having played all kinds of 'negative' characters Pran took everybody by surprise by playing a positive character in Manoj Kumar's Upkaar (1967). More positive characters followed in films like Parichay, Ansoo Ban Gaye Phool, Zanjeer, Majdoor, Kasauti, Dus Numbri, Kaalia, Don, Victoria no. 203, Naseeband Amar Akbar Anthony. Roop Tera Mastana (1972) was his last film as a villain.