NEW DEHLI: Veteran actor Pran Sikand, who had been presented the country’s highest honour in cinema in May this year, passed away today after a prolonged illness.
Pran, 93, died in Mumbai’s Lilavati Hospital, at around 8:30 pm this evening. He had been undergoing treatment at the hospital for almost a month for several complications. He is survived by his widow, and his three children and various grandchildren.
Pran had become the 44th recipient of the Dadasabhe Phalke Award when Information & Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari visited him at his residence – a first for the award since its institution in 1971 - on 10 May and presented it to him as the thespian had been forbidden to travel by his doctors..
The only other occasion that a presenting official had come off stage to present the award to a recipient was when the then President did so for showman Raj Kapoor in 1988 when he had a sudden asthmatic attack. The award was instituted in 1969, the birth centenary year Dadasaheb Phalke, considered the Father of Indian Cinema.
During his six-decade career which began in the mid-1940s, Pran gave performances in almost 350 films as a hero, a villain, a character actor, and even excelled in comedy. He made his debut as an antagonist in Dalsukh Pancholi`s Punjabi film Yamla Jat (1945) and went on to essay a number of iconic characters in Hindi cinema after that.
He also acted in super-hit films like Milan, Half Ticket, Barsaat Ki Ek Raat, Devdas, Madhumati, Kashmir Ki Kali, Upkar, Brahmchari, Johny Mera Naam, Purab Aur Paschim and many more.
He often prided over the fact that a film was often not complete unless he was a part of it, and the star cast always listed various actors and then in a separate slide came the words ‘…and Pran’.
Consequently, his biography by the late Bunny Reuben was also titled ‘…and Pran’..
The citation for the Dadasaheb Phalke award read: ‘This highest award in cinema given by the Government of India is conferred upon Shri Pran for his outstanding contribution to Indian Cinema. His impressive performances have bestowed an entirely unique new dimension to the negative and character roles in Hindi cinema. His contribution to mainstream Hindi cinema is well recognized ensuring him the place of one of the most illustrious and celebrated actors of Indian film industry. During his career, he has given sterling performances in over 350 films and in each one of them, he brought new mannerism and style, holding the audience spell bound by his acting. This citation is in recognition of Shri Pran’s inspiring journey in the Indian cinema spanning over several decades.
The Twitterverse was replete with condolences and messages from various foks including Amitabh Bachchan, the Prime Minister, Shah Rukh Khan, among others remembering Pran. Here's a sample:
Amitabh Bachchan: It was Manoj Kumar ji's vision that converted Pran Saheb from villan to compassionate powerful character roles ! 'Shaheed', 'Upkar'
Mahesh Bhatt: Enchanting memories of Pran Saab courses through the hearts of millions of people who grew up watching his films. India loves u Sir!
Narendra Modi: Sad to know of demise of legendary actor Pran. He will be remembered for generations. Condolences to his family. May his soul rest in peace
Dr Manmohan Singh: I convey my heartfelt condolences to the the bereaved family and Pran's countless fans and admirers. I pray for peace of the departed soul
Riteish Deshmukh: RIP Pran Saab - Thank you for entertaining us all these years- will miss you sir. SHER KHAN u will live for ever- RIP Pran Saab
Kareena Kapoor: R.I.P Pran a true legend will never be forgotten.’
Priyanka Chopra: #Zanjeer will miss Sher Khan forever.RIP Pran saheb.Thank you for giving us such a legendary legacy.loss of a legend.prayers and condolences
Arjun Rampal: RIP Pran Saab, you immortalised so many characters, was fortunate to play one of them. You live in my heart forever.’
Sushma Swaraj: With the sad demise of Shri Pran, the country has lost an artist par excellence.
Geeta Kapur: He now lives only through his films...RIP Pran sir
Randeep Hooda: And Pran..RIP, Grew up watching him and always thought he was really the character he played instead of an actor , You walk among us sir..
Anup Soni: Most enchanting, amazing characters, villinious roles.. generations of actors have learned how to prepare a character.. RIP Pran Sir.
Sreedevi Boney Kapoor: Today we have lost a legend, a gem and an iconic actor. We will miss you. RIP Pran Saheb..
Suhasani Haidar:Everyone remembers a #Pran line:I remember "hum bolega toh bolega ki bolta hai" everytime I'm accused of talking too much! #RIP #kasauti
Shah Rukh Khan: Why do icons who shaped our lives and emotions have to go away? U will sir, remain etched in our hearts. Allah bless ur soul Pran Sahib.
Anupam Kher: Final Curtain Call for one of the Most Loved Actors of Indian Cinema. An Actor & A Gentleman. Pran Saab- We will miss you & your Warmth.RIP.
Tunku Varadarajan: RIP Pran: Villainy never had more character, or style.