Pran to be honoured with Dadasaheb Phalke award

NEW DELHI: Bollywood thespian Pran - who entertained Hindi cinema audiences for more than six decades with versatile roles as villain, comedian and character roles - has been chosen to receive the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke award, the highest official recognition for film personalities in India.

The announcement comes in the year marking a centenary of Indian cinema.

Pran Kishan Sikand, who turned 93 in February, has acted in over 400 films and quit acting in 1998.

On getting the news, Pran telephonically told from Mumbai: "I am very happy and honoured to receive this award."

Pran is the 44th recipient of this award, given for lifetime contribution to cinema. The award consists of a Swarn Kamal, a cash prize of Rs one million and a shawl. The award is given on the basis of recommendations of a committee of eminent persons.

Pran had been the industry?s unanimous choice for this award in 2012, but the government committee had chosen the name of veteran actor Soumitra Chatterjee.

The award, named after the father of Indian cinema D G Phalke, will be conferred on Pran on 3 May, the day on which Phalke?s film ?Raja Harishchandra? was released in 1913, an Information and Broadcasting Ministry source told

Beginning his career as a hero in 1940 with ?Yamala Jat?, Pran went on to achieve fame as a villain in a large number of films including classics like ?Milan?, ?Madhumati?, ?Brahmachari?, ?Kashmir Ki Kali? and ?Sadhu aur Shaitan?.

He brought a new sophisticated touch to the role of a villain by resorting to mannerisms like stammering, lisping or using certain sentences, unlike others who using various facial features like beards or twisted faces.

At the time when he was at his peak, many people named their children as Pran, a tribute to this multi-faceted actor.

He later favoured character roles, playing the friend, beloved father and grandfather in movies like ?Sharabi? and as friend in ?Zanjeer?, apart from a heart-rending role in Manoj Kumar?s ?Upkaar? and as a headstrong personality in the Jeetendra-Sanjeev Kumar- Jaya Bachchan starrer ?Parichay? based on the western film ?The Sound of Music?. Two of his most memorable comic roles include ?Victoria 203? and ?Karz?.

Born on 12 February 1920 at Delhi, 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. He married Shukla Sikhand in 1945 and has 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.

His favourite hobbies now are watching sports (football, hockey, cricket), reading and looking after his pet dogs. He has five grand children and two great grand children.

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