MUMBAI: Veteran Bollywood actor Pran, who played the dreaded villain and lovable character with elan in hits like 'Milan', 'Madhumati', 'Bobby', 'Zanjeer' and 'Ram Aur Shyam', passed away at a suburban hospital here this evening at the age of 93.
The funeral of legendary actor will be held this afternoon at Shivaji park in Dadar, Mumbai.
"He died after a spell of prolonged illness," his daughter Pinky told PTI. He was admitted to Lilavati hospital a month ago after his health started deteriorating, she said. His funeral will be held tomorrow noon at Shivaji Park in Dadar.
The veteran actor, who had a six-decade-long career that saw him performing in over 400 films, was conferred the country's highest cinema honour -- Dada Saheb Phalke award -- in April.
Pran left his imprint as a villain with powerful roles in films like 'Kashmir ki Kali', 'Khandaan', 'Aurat', 'Bari Behen', 'Jis Desh Men Ganga Behti Hai', 'Half Ticket', 'Upkar', 'Purab Aur Paschim', 'Don' 'Karz' and 'Naseeb'.
Born on February 12 in 1920 in old Delhi, Pran Krishan Sikand 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).
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. Pran 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.
He 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 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'.
Prior to his film career, the actor wanted to become a professional photographer and worked as an apprentice with a company. This job took him to Shimla, where he played the role of Sita in a local staging of 'Ramlila'. He happened to meet writer, Wali Mohammad Wali, who worked for producer Dalsukh M. Pancholi in Lahore. This eventually led to Pran's entry in the film industry.
He acted in few Punjabi films before entering Bollywood with Sunil Dutt-Nutun starrer super hit film 'Khandan' (1965). His contribution in comedy movies also didn't go unnoticed with some side-splitting performances in 'Sadhu Aur Shaitaan', 'Chham Chama Chham', 'Half Ticket' and 'Bewaqoof' and others.
Pran acted in over 400 movies in a career spanning over six decades and made smooth, seamless transitions from a hero to a villain to a character artist, playing each role with rare finesse, his 'extra touch' ensuring that each was different from the other.
It was reported that in the 70s, Pran was among the highest paid actors in Indian cinema, ahead of his co-stars like Amitabh Bachchan and Vinod Khanna.
Pran married Shukla Ahluwalia in 1945 and has two sons, Arvind and Sunil and a daughter, Pinky.