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Indian villain's family launches namesake hunt
By Hindol Sengupta, IANS
For years during the 1960s and 70s, Pran was Bollywood's biggest villain, his sardonic snigger, scowl and snarl chilling hundreds of moviegoer hearts.
In fact, the family of the octogenarian actor figure that such was his screen aura that no Indian boy was named Pran during his peak acting years.
So they've launched a hunt till the end of this month for a Pran born during the 1960s and 70s.
"The name Pran had acquired such an evil connotation that we believe no mother wanted to name their son Pran," smiled Jyotica Sikand, daughter-in-law of 84-year-old actor Pran Sikand.
Sikand, her husband Sunil, and his siblings Arvind and Preeti started the hunt as a special tribute to actor, one of Hindi's cinema's greatest villains ever.
They are offering two prizes - for the oldest and the youngest person called Pran, offering all-expenses paid two-day holidays to Mumbai for the namesakes and their mothers.
"If we find the youngest and the oldest Pran, then we will know which were the gap years when no one was probably called Pran," said Sikand.
"My father-in-law spent 50 years in the film industry and we are sure that for many years during that time no child was named after him, such was his prowess as an actor."
During their trip, the winners would be invited to the launch of Pran's biography called "...And Pran" which is to be released by actor Amitabh Bachchan in Mumbai on Oct 1.
"We want to reward the mother who had the courage to name her son Pran in those years when it was a taboo," Sikand told IANS. "And we want to reward the son for carrying the name with pride throughout their life."
She said Pran was delighted by the worldwide search through the web site www.pransikand.com.
"He thinks it is the greatest compliment any actor who portrays villainous role can ever hope to receive. This means that mothers convinced that his screen roles were real and that he was a bad character, which is a tremendous influence for any actor to command," said Sikand.