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...AND PRAN: Last of the Mohicans

May 14, 2010 02:59:54 PM IST
Enkayaar, Bollywood Trade News Network
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If there was one actor from the golden era of Indian cinema, and had played a significant role in the milestones of Indian cinema across the ages, it was Pran. The character actor has now hung his boots but even to this day when his films are shown in different television channels it provides ample evidence about the kind of perfection that Pran had achieved in his craft.

Bunny Reuben's biography on Pran titled ... AND PRAN is a fitting tribute to the master of the golden era. Such was the terror that he had created through his menacing performance before UPKAR changed his image, that when he decided to celebrate his 75th birthday recently and invited all those persons who were named Pran to come and celebrate with him, hardly few turned up. Parents refused to name their children as Pran, and it was a tribute to the realism that he brought in his performance as a villain.

Pran was a master of getups, and he was the first actor who introduced on to the silver screen the mannerism of blowing smoke screen into air, and one is inclined to conclude that Shatrughan Sinha must have copied this mannerism from him, and subsequently Rajnikant picked it up and made his style in nearly all the films in which he acted.

...And Pran is a veritable document of Indian film industry as it traces the evolution of Hindi cinema from the times when films wee made in Lahore to the times when Mumbai emerged as the centre, obviously with Pran being kept as the pivot of the narrative. Though Pran invariably used makeup in all the films his makeup was never repeated in any two films. With this kind of commitment he had refused to work in Manoj Kumar's film where he had to enact the role of a Pathan as he had already been doing the same role in Prakash Mehra's ZANJEER. Had it been any other star he would not have done it, after all it was Manoj Kumar who had given him his role of life time in UPKAAR of Malang baba and changed his image in the Indian Public. Impressed by his performance, then President Dr. Zakir Hussain had praised him for his acting prowess.

Pran had a three pronged strategy to execute a role in a film and it included, cultivating new voice modulation, new kind of mannerism in walking and new make up. Indeed his whole acting career has been distinguished by these three features.

Though it has now become a fanciful idea among the filmstars to own a share in the Indian Premier League, Pran was one of the first stars who had owned a football club and ran it on his own for few years before giving it all up. He was also one of the first actors who had refused a Filmfare award in protest against Ghulam Mohammed not being given the best music director award in 1973 for PAKEEZAH, though it was his film BEIMAAN whose music director was conferred the best music director award.

As Amitabh Bachchan has written in introduction, it indeed is a matter of regret for the country that an institution like Pran has not been given an iota of recognition that he deserves. Had he been in Europe or America, with the kind of association that he has had with the film industry, he would have been given the topmost honor by the governments.

Government may not have recognized his efforts, but the kind of warmth that the public has for him in their hearts more than compensates for the loss. He through all his roles indeed injected life or Pran into a performance. The hiatus that he left after hanging boots is still to be fulfilled.

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