A Short Tribute to Big Pran - 12 February, 1920 - 12 July, 2013

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Pran - Hindi Film Actor

Legendary ‘Original bad man' PRAN of Bollywood transforming into an ace character role player par excellent in versatility is lost forever to this world at the rope age of 93. ‘PRAN’ means life, but people in India got so terrified by his villainous roles that they stopped naming the child as Pran.

In real life, he was a gentleman to the core, with no “False Egos” although he used to be the top paid villain and then as an ace character actor. Two more specialities of his character. Disciplined Punctuality, humour and poetry in built in his persona. In 1971, I was the Vice Chairman of the then All India Filmgoers Association who had floated ‘Award Conferment activity' (Perhaps the first popular awards from an NGO) for film personalities. Pran saab was selected for the best Supporting Actor role in the block buster film “Johny Mera Naam”.

Looking to the notoriety of Indians, especially Bollywood celebrities for disregard to timeliness, the time for the function was given as 8 p.m. Lo and Behold, exactly at 8 p.m. a well dressed (In beige colour suit with matching tie) Pran walked in the hall and embarrassed us (myself and my Chairman) who were present giving instructions for the stage management. I profusely apologized to him that one of us was not present at the gate to receive him. But Pran saab smiled and said "Yaar ye to Bollywood hai. Yahaan jo punctual hote hain wo formal welcome ke liye nahi, bulki apni discipline ke liye. Meri to Aadat ho gayi hai”. We were floored by his humility.

I had then a ‘lifetime opportunity’ to remain seated with him till other film celebrities started entering and then I came out to stand at the entrance for formality to receive other guests. During that half an hour period I discovered a very ‘learned and beautiful aspect of his personality viz; the vast knowledge of Urdu poetry. He recited choicest of “Shers” ranging from Momin, Meer Taki Meer, Allama Iqbaal to Ghalib, Majaaz and others. One of that he had also recited while accepting the ‘Award’ on the stage.

Thereafter I had a second opportunity to meet him in person in the most well attended celebrity turn out party to felicitate him on completion of his 70 years, when he looked as agile and active as ever. (I have written about this grand soiree separately in my book ‘Golden Sojourn In Bollywood Wonderland’) This year only the nation had done its long awaited duty of conferring the Highest National award on him viz; “Dadasaheb Phalke Award” for Life time Achievement.

R I P Pran Saab, this world will miss you forever.

 

Written by: 

Mohan Siroya

Category: 

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