Pran, legendary Bollywood actor, passes away in Mumbai hospital

Pran, legendary Bollywood actor, passes away in Mumbai hospital

MUMBAI: Legendary actor Pran, loved and feared in equal measure by moviegoers for his roles in Bollywood hits like ‘Milan’, ‘Madhumati’ and ‘Zanjeer’, passed away at a suburban hospital here on Friday evening at the age of 93.

“He died after a spell of prolonged illness,” his daughter Pinky said.

The veteran actor, who played villain and character roles with elan and was conferred the country’s highest cinema honour – Dada Saheb Phalke award – in April, was admitted to Lilavati hospital a month ago.

“He was not keeping well, he was very weak. His health was deteriorating,” she said.

Pran acted in over 350 films and 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’ and ‘Don’.

Born on February 12 in 1920 in old Delhi, Pran 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.

He 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.

Pran 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’.

Pran worked with Rishi Kapoor in films like ‘Karz’, ‘Naseeb’ and ‘Bobby’.

Information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari condoled the death of the veteran actor saying, “Indian cinema has today lost an icon, an actor who set new standards of action with every role that he portrayed in the last several decades.”

Tewari had presented the Dada Saheb Phalke award at Pran’s residence here as the actor could not attend the ceremony in New Delhi due to ill-health.

BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said the country has lost an artiste par excellence.

Actor Prem Chopra, famous for his negative roles, described Pran as a source of great inspiration for all the generations for his discipline.

Filmmaker Karan Johar said Pran’s demise marked the end of a magnificent and glorious era.

Earlier in 2001, Pran was honoured with the Padma Bhushan for his outstanding contribution to Indian cinema.

The funeral will be held tomorrow noon at Shivaji Park in Dadar.


42 Responses to “Pran, legendary Bollywood actor, passes away in Mumbai hospital”

  1. Bliss:
    Pran Sir is Dead : TimeNow

    RIP !!!


    Veteran Actor Pran passed on…RIP


    Sad 😦

    RIP !!!

    Late though 😦

    Trivia but Imp to remember this via tweet ( AMalik)

    And lest we forget, in a country of cautious, risk-averse celebrities, Pran went public in his protest against the Emergency


  2. Bliss:
    Picture gallery The magnificent Pran: Through the years


  3. Bliss:
    Several Bollywood personalities on Saturday night turned to twitter to pay tributes to legendary actor Pran.
    Pran Krishan Sikand, Bollywood’s most loved villain, passed away at Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai at 8.30 pm due to prolonged illness. He was 93.

    “Final Curtain Call for one of the Most Loved Actors of Indian Cinema… an actor and a gentleman,” wrote actor Anupam Kher.
    The World of the Big Bad Pran
    Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar tweeted, “Can’t get over the ICONIC PRANSAAB’s demise, Malang Chacha of UPKAR, Sherkhan of ZANJEER Simply Unforgettable Memories Part of Life Now.

    Extremely saddened by the demise of the LEGENDARY PRANSAAB, who revolutionised Villainy on Indian Celluloid.’

    Actor Riteish Deshmukh tweeted, “SHER KHAN u will live for ever-RIP Pran Saab.”

    “R.I.P Pran Saheb! Did not know him personally but heard he was a perfect gentleman with a heart of gold! May your soul rest in Peace,” actress Priety Zinta posted on twitter.

    Actor Kabir Bedi tweeted, “Farewell Pran sahib, Godfather of Indian villains, your legendary characters illuminated the annals of Indian cinema. Deepest respects.”

    “It was Manoj Kumar ji’s vision that converted Pran Saheb from villan to compassionate powerful character roles ! ‘Shaheed’, ‘Upkar’,” Amitabh Bachchan tweeted.

    Taxi No 9211 director Milan Luthria tweeted, “Ode to the ultimate villain turned good guy. The ultimate in entertainment entertainment and entertainment! Rip Pran sahab! You live on…”

    Not just Bollywood stars but leaders of various political parties also took to twitter to pay tributes to Pran.

    Gujarat CM narendra Modi said, “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.”

    Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan tweeted, “An era ended with departure of legendary actor Shri Pran. May his soul rest in peace. My heartfelt condolences to the grieving family.”

    “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,” tweeted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.


  4. oldgold Says:


    A very young Pran (27 yrs old) serenading in a 1950 film, Sheesh Mahal.


  5. RIP
    haven’t seen much of his work–liked him in bachchan films like Majboor, don (havent seen zanjeer..)

    Ps: nice to see you Oldgold –hope u are fine…


  6. its truly the end of an era. one of the most preeminent screen villains in the history of hindi cinema. rest in peace, pran saheb. a legend among legends. you will be greatly missed.


  7. Dharn Raj Dharn Says:

    Has Bachchan tweeted about it?If not then he may be in great shock.


  8. RIP Pran Saheb….Prayers

    Yaari Hain Imaan Mera Yaar Meri Zindagi…..


  9. RIP Pran Sikand.
    One of the most memorable songs picturized on him, in one of his earliest positive characters:
    Kasmein Vaade Pyar Wafaa Sab…


  10. Pran in R.K films like Aah, Jis desh mein ganga behti hain, Bobby stole the show whenever he appeared. Kashmir ki kali, Evening in Paris where he troubled Sharmila Tagore no end. The vintage Pran. I was not particularly impressed by his later day films.


  11. sanjana Says:

    So far we are known as a nation of hero worshippers. And now it seems we have become a nation of villain worshippers. Seeing all the coverage on tv since yesterday.

    It is a man’s world. A vamp will never get this sort of coverage even if she is a Nadira or a Lalita Pawar.


  12. tweeted this earlier:

    The passing away of Pran even at his advanced age is an extremely sad moment. Another singular icon vanishes from a great tradition that was once called the Hindi film industry. This history and across generations is unimaginable without him. We often talk about great stars but he was the kind of important figure who was a glue binding together different eras. One of those absolutely irreplaceable character-stars or villain-stars in very many industries who remain ‘unsung’ relative to their worth and for all their formidable longevities. Even the greatest stars see twilight and often extinction. Hardly anyone conquers this fate. But there are those like Pran who are permanent. And there are never too many like him. No chronicle of Hindi cinema could be complete without him.


    • Well said, Satyam. The words “legend” and “icon” have sadly lost their exclusivity, but Pran was among the few who truly deserved them.

      Here he is in Half Ticket in one of my favorite songs:


  13. DK :

    Yesteryears star Dilip Kumar has fun and special memories of his association with his late friend and co-star Pran. He remembers how they used to share Punjabi jokes and how they had become phone friends of late.

    “My dear friend Pran liked to talk to me on the phone till recently. (My wife) Saira (Banu) and I visited him whenever we could. We had our Punjabi jokes, bringing back memories of the great times we shared as co-stars. He was a through gentleman,” Dilip Kumar posted on Twitter.

    Pran died late Friday evening following prolonged illness. He was 93.

    The news of his death pulled Dilip Kumar back to Twitter after almost five months, and why not. They worked together in memorable films like “Azaad” and “Madhumati”, and shared a great rapport too.

    Dilip Kumar also shared with the twitterati as to how Pran managed to attend his wedding, braving bad weather in Srinagar.

    “I can never forget how Pran managed to come to my marriage, braving bad weather in Srinagar where he was shooting. He took a flight to Delhi and then to Bombay and reached by evening, in time to hug me before the nikaah ceremony,” posted the ailing 90-year-old.

    Pran was cremated at Shivaji Park electric crematorium in Mumbai Saturday afternoon.


  14. RIP Pran sahib..


  15. Dharn Raj Dharn Says:

    I am glad that Bachchan has at last tweeted for Pran Sahib.Guys look what words he has used..There is no match for him even in writing department.


  16. Beautiful Obit by A Malik

    They came from across the subcontinent. Pran was a Punjabi who migrated from Lahore to Bombay. Ajit was the son of a chauffeur working for the Nizam of Hyderabad. Jayant was a hungry actor from Peshawar, the same hardy terrain that threw up Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor. K.N. Singh was born to a barrister in Dehra Dun.
    As the apocryphal story goes, he rejected a career in law because he felt the legal profession would require him to twist the truth. This was the first generation of villains in Hindi cinema. With the passing of Pran, that era is gone.
    Pran was no ordinary villain. More than any of the other evil men on screen, he made the transition to what are called “character roles” — the semi-philosophical Malang Chacha in Upkaar, the kindly grandfather in Parichay, the loyal Pathan friend in Zanjeer, the luckless father in Amar Akbar Anthony, a role for which it is said he was paid more than Amitabh Bachchan.
    Pran was also unusual in that he was unafraid to embrace larger causes. In a country of cautious, risk-averse celebrities, he was one of a clutch of cinema artistes who protested against the Emergency. He rejected a Filmfare Award once because he felt Ghulam Mohammed deserved a posthumous award for the music of Pakeezah, a film released some years after Mohammed died.
    Yet, much above all this, Pran stood out in popular consciousness as the uber villain. There is a reason why he, or K.N. Singh for that matter, is so remembered even by generations that were not around when his films were originally released. From the 1970s, villains started having it easy in Hindi cinema. The props, the social and economic circumstances, later the political tensions — all of these gave a template to villainy.


  17. From 1969 to 1982, the only actor to be paid more than Pran was Rajesh Khanna. And reportedly, he was paid thrice the fee Amitabh Bachchan got for Don.


  18. Rajenmaniar Says:

    A nice innocent joke:
    Yamraj: Tum kaun ho ?

    Pran: Shehar me naye aaye ho sahab warna Sherkhan ko kaun nahi Jaanta…


    • 😀


    • lol.

      Mona darling jokes used to be my all time favorites 🙂

      Scene: Ajeet thouroughly disgusted with Mona daaa..arrling’s typing.
      Ajeet: Raaberrt, Mona ke dono hathon ko kaat do.
      Raabert: Magar kyoon baas ?
      Ajeet: Typing to nahi atee, kamsekam shaarthand to seekh legi.
      Ajeet: Raabert, in kutton ke saamne yeh Compooter laga do aur debugger
      starrt kar do.
      Raabert: Lekin kyoon, baas?
      Ajeet: Saale Checkpoint mein atak jayenge.
      Ajeet: Raabert, Test Match mein kyaa ho raha hai ?
      Raabert: Boss, Vivian Richards chhakke pe chhakka maar raha hai.
      Ajeet: Saaleh ko sabak sikhana padega. Lunch break mein usse phone milana.
      Raabert: Yes Boss.
      Ajeet: (on phone, to Richards): Veeveeyun Reechards, tumhari Maa hamare
      kabze mein hai …….
      Scene: Ajeet comes to know about the traitor in his gang.
      Ajeet: Raabert, ise ShamePain mein daal tho, agar Shame se nahi mara
      to Pain se mar jayega.


  19. My favourite Pran film: Bollywood reactsBy Subhash K. Jha, Jul 16, 2013 – 12:15 IST
    Bollywood celebrities talk about their favourite films featuring Pran saab.

    Sudhir Mishra: “Johnny Mera Naam and Zanjeer. He played almost parallel parts.”

    Aanand Rai: “Where do I begin? Do I single out Pran Saab in Upkar? Or do I talk about Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai, Parichay or Madhumati? Pran Saab was never anything but brilliant. To single out any one performance would be doing injustice to the greatness of this actor. So I’d say the best film performance of Pran Saab is the one that he did not give in a forthcoming film.”

    Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra: “Upkar. His character was very inspiring and he played it with elan.”

    Prasoon Joshi: “For me it would be Upkar, thanks to Manoj Kumar, it widened Pran Saab’s range. The film revolved around his physically disabled character. It echoes to this day.”

    Rahul Dholakia: “Kaalia…Pran Saab’s character Raghuveer Singh was a very interesting jailor.”

    Shoojit Sircar: “In Madhumati, I was scared of him. I hated him. He looked royal yet terrifying. That sequence when he was riding the horse through the market was frightening.”

    Ketan Mehta: “Shaheed…He changed his image completely and gave ghazab ka performance.”

    Pritish Nandy: “My favourite Pran performance is in Madhumati. No one played the villain the way he did. He should have stuck to that and not changed tracks to character acting. He made villainy cool. He was the best villain we ever had.”

    Arjun Rampal: “Sher Khan in Zanjeer. He was the only actor who could stand tall with Mr. Bachchan.”

    Sujoy Ghosh: “I loved so many of his films. Half Ticket, Victoria 203, Nanha Farishta, Don and Kasauti.

    Gulshan Grover: “Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai. The nuances made the performance remarkably subtle. Actually I am a mega-fan of Pran Saab’s work and it’s difficult for me to pick one. I’ve had the rare honour of watching his films not only in the theatre but also on 30 VHS tapes of Pran Saab’s work and scenes. An overseas fan of Pran Saab had made these tapes for him and he gave me the rare honour of watching them.”

    Bejoy Nambiar: “The obvious choice would be Sher Khan in Zanjeer. But I really liked him Naseeb, Amar Akbar Anthony, Johnny Mera Naam and the cameo as himself in Guddi. He was legend who could stand up to any superstar.”

    Irrfan Khan: “Sorry, I can’t pick out one performance. When I think of Pran Saab his whole career appears to be unique and unmatched.”

    Raza Murad: “Kehar Singh of Shaheed. He appears on screen as a ruthless illiterate short-tempered condemned prisoner who is unconcerned about the freedom struggle of fellow-prisoners. Then watching the plight of freedom fighters he undergoes a change of heart. Before going to the gallows he expresses a desire to shake hands with a shareef aadmi like Bhagat Singh. Pran Saab performed this scene without a tear. Yet the audience could feel his emotions. Pran Saab was a giant of an actor. Spine-chilling in his evil on screen he could create terror with his piercing gaze and booming voice. He dominated the screen for almost 60 years. No one could rival him. His contribution is unparalleled. His presence was an asset to every film. He didn’t belong to any camp. He didn’t go out of his way to please any producer. He was a loving, humorous, generous sports lover. He was punctual dedicated committed highly emotional, a true friend and a bankable actor.”


    • Pritish Nandy: “My favourite Pran performance is in Madhumati. No one played the villain the way he did. He should have stuck to that and not changed tracks to character acting. He made villainy cool. He was the best villain we ever had.”

      I agree.


  20. NY Times:

    July 16, 2013
    Pran Sikand, Villain of the Bollywood Screen, Dies at 93
    Pran Sikand, a beloved Bollywood character actor who for much of his career specialized in playing villains, died on Friday in Mumbai. He was 93.

    His death was confirmed by his daughter, Pinky Bhalla.

    In some 400 films over more than six decades, the suave and stylish Mr. Sikand, known professionally by his first name only, played a wide range of roles. But he was best known for the air of menace he brought to his evil characters.

    His approach to those roles, beginning in the late 1940s, had no precedent in Hindi cinema. Villains of the black-and-white era were usually caricatures, but Mr. Sikand introduced a measure of complexity and even humor. And although he stood only 5-foot-7, his intense eyes and majestic voice made him an intimidating antagonist to much taller actors.

    Mr. Sikand turned to more positive roles in the late 1960s. His performance as a rough but kind Pashtun in the 1973 film “Zanjeer” solidified his stature as a character actor, while the film itself elevated Amitabh Bachchan, who played his friend, to superstardom. The on-screen chemistry between Mr. Bachchan and Mr. Sikand was strong, and they went on to work together in 14 films.

    Pran Kishan Sikand was born into an affluent Punjabi family in Delhi on Feb. 12, 1920, one of seven children. His family later moved to Lahore, now Pakistan but then part of India. He had some onstage acting experience but was pursuing a career as a photographer when the screenwriter Wali Mohammed persuaded him to play a villain in the Punjabi film “Yamla Jat” (1940).

    The celebrated Pakistani singer and actor Noor Jehan was also in that movie, and she became Mr. Sikand’s leading lady in the Hindi film “Khandan” (1942), in which he played a romantic hero for the first time. “Khandan” was a hit, but Mr. Sikand shied away from lead roles after that because he did not enjoy the song-and-dance routines that came with them.

    After moving to Mumbai on Aug. 14, 1947, just a day before India’s independence, Mr. Sikand struggled at first to find work, but his career took off after he was offered a role in Shaheed Latif’s “Ziddi” (1948), which established him as a screen villain.

    By the 1970s, Mr. Sikand was commanding a higher salary for his bad-guy roles than most of the top stars of Hindi cinema. For the 1978 blockbuster “Don,” he was paid three times as much as Mr. Bachchan. When the actor and director Raj Kapoor wanted to cast him in his 1973 film “Bobby” but could not afford his fee, Mr. Sikand agreed to do the film for one rupee.

    In 2001, Mr. Sikand was given the Padma Bhushan, India’s third-highest civilian award. Two months before his death he was given the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for lifetime achievement, the government’s highest honor for cinema.

    In addition to his daughter, Mr. Sikand’s survivors include his wife, Shukla Ahluwalia, whom he married in 1945, and two sons, Arvind and Sunil.

    During the height of Mr. Sikand’s fame, his sneers and snarls had such an indelible influence that mothers in India were said to be reluctant to name their sons Pran. A few years ago Mr. Sikand’s family conducted a search for men born in the 1950s and 1960s with that name. They could find only three.


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