Born as Pran Krishan Sikand on February 12, 1920, the legendary actor was born in old Delhi's Ballimaran area. Pran started his acting career in 1940. He had acted in about 22 films, before Partition, most of which were released by 1947. Post partition of India, Pran moved to Bombay and after an eight-month-long struggle, finally managed to bag a role in 1948's Ziddi. Writer Saadat Hasan Manto and actor Shyam are believed to have helped Pran secure a role in the 1948 Dev Anand-starrer.
After Ziddi, Pran never looked back and went on to deliver one hit after another — Zanjeer, Ram Aur Shyam, Amar Akbar Anthony, Upkaar, Johnny Mera Naam and Don, among others. Pran has appeared in over 350 films.
Though he played each character with panache, dedication and ease, it was Pran's negative roles that people swear by even today. Such was Pran's aura in the '50s and '60s that parents feared to name their child 'Pran' thinking that their son would grow up to become a baddie.
Not many might know that Pran's first role as an actor dates back to 1938, wherein he portrayed the character of Sita to Madan Puri's Ram during a local Ram Lila show in Shimla.
One of his main interests outside the world of cinema was sports. Pran's first introduction to sports was in school in Uttar Pradesh, whereas a young schoolboy, he played a little hockey. However, he confessed in an interview with mid-day that he was not that good a player! His interest in sports was renewed after he came to Bombay in 1947.
By becoming a member of Bombay's Cricket Club of India, Pran and his friend, producer-director Ram Kamlani were able to watch every major cricket match played at the Brabourne Stadium! Pran and Ram Kamlani always liked to sit in two particular seats in the pavilion at the CCI. So, to make sure that they got those two seats and none other, Pran used to be the first in the queue at 5 am outside the CCI.
So strong was Pran's love for cricket that during a Test match, he used to be present at the CCI on all five days! It was the same with hockey and football. Pran ardently followed all the hockey and football matches until his schedule did not permit him to do so. It goes without saying that on the day there was an important match, there would be no shooting!
In picture: Pran with Dilip Kumar, Dharmendra, Dara Singh and Shammi Kapoor.
And it was through Akhtar Hussain that Pran came onto the football field. Talking about how his passion for football took root, Pran disclosed, in the interview, "Akhtar Hussain had signed me to work in his film Pyar Ki Baaten. However, I was intrigued to find that Akhtar packed up at 4.30 pm. In fact, that was not the first time! Akhtar would regularly “pack-up” as early as 4 or 4.30 pm! We didn’t know why – but soon found out! Actually, Akhtar was a great football fan and even had his own club, which he had named The Globe. He used to rush to the Cooperage whenever his team was playing, or whenever any exciting matches were to be played. I, on the other hand, had never yet seen a football game. So one day I joined him to see a football match. I liked it so much that I also started going with him regularly. I made friends with a lot of the footballers. And they made me a member of their club."
In picture: Pran at the birthday bash for Amitabh Bachchan.
Pran continued his reminiscences, "I began to like football so much that I wanted to make my own team. I talked about it to Raj Kapoorjee. He said: "Okay, we'll do it and the filmwallahs will contribute. Then there was a man who had (a vast) knowledge of football, and he knew practically everybody. So I met him and he suggested some players' names, and together we formed a team in the early 1950s, calling it the Bombay Dynamos Football Club after the famous Moscow team. Our team had six members who represented Maharashtra including one who represented India at the Olympics..."
In picture: Pran and Prem Chopra.
Like many other stories of our country's partition period, the story of how the Sikands (Pran and his family) happened to be there, is both serendipitous and miraculous. A successful pre-partition actor in Lahore, the star had flown to Indore only a week earlier, packing just a suitcase of his finest suits, to celebrate his son's first birthday with his wife and her family
In picture: Pran inaugurating his website at his residence on his 80th birthday with family members in February 2000.
It was only after Pran had arrived that news had come in of a massacre and bloodbath in Lahore, as riots had broken out. Borrowing money from friends, the 27-year-old actor left for Mumbai in the hope of finding similar work here, knowing there was no going back
In picture: Pran on his 80th birthday.
But true to his style, Pran had booked himself and family into the city's classiest hotel of its time - The Taj!
In picture: A candid picture of Pran Saab.
"On the night of August 15, Pran and his family went riding in an open jeep along with the dancer-actress Cuckoo and her parents, to see the celebrations across the city," said a relative of the actor to mid-day about that historic day
In picture: Pran in the hospital with his daughter.
Pran's relative further added, "They had met the actress in the foyer of the hotel and she had invited them to drive along."
In picture: Sushilkumar Shinde felicitates Pran and Marathi actress Vanmala with the Maharashtra Government awards and V Shantaram award. Also seen are Sunil Dutt, Ashok Chavan, Kiran Shantaram and Govinda.
The legend's Bollywood career spanned over 6 decades.
Pran won Filmfare Awards for best supporting actor in 1967, 1969 and 1972.
In picture: Sushilkumar Shinde and Sunil Dutt with Pran.
Pran's first film role was as the villain in the 1940 Punjabi film 'Yamla Jat'. 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.
Pran was conferred the Padma Bhushan Award in 2001 and Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2013.
In picture: Dev Anand with Pran.
Pran was also rated as one of the top 25 Asian actors of all time in 2010 by CNN.
In picture: Actress Sulochana and Pran.
Pran also received the Villain of the Millennium award from a Bollywood magazine.
In picture: Manoj Kumar and Pran.
Pran retired in the '90s, appearing just two films - 'Mrityudaata' and 'Tere Mere Sapne'. He made one of his last public appearances at Amitabh Bachchan's 70th birthday party.
In picture: In his most celebrated role as Sher Khan in 'Zanjeer'. Though known as a villain, he also left a mark as a brilliant character actor.
The nation mourned on July 12, 2013, when Pran, after a prolonged illness, breathed his last. He was 93.
You will be truly missed, Pran Saab!
On the legendary Bollywood actor Pran's death anniversary, we remember the Dadasaheb Phalke awardee through a series of rare pictures and some interesting facts. Take a look...
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