The ‘diamond’ who gave ‘Pran’ to Indian comics
The ‘Diamond’ Who Gave ‘Pran’ To Indian Comics. Pran Kumar Sharma, the man behind the legendary cartoon character Chacha Chaudhary, breathed his last on Wednesday at the age of 75 in New Delhi. The character was a hit among kids and elderly alike for many generations.
Pran Kumar Sharma, the man behind the legendary cartoon character Chacha Chaudhary, breathed his last on Wednesday at the age of 75 in New Delhi. The character was a hit among kids and elderly alike for many generations.
Cartoonist Pran tried to penetrate the domination of foreign titles by giving the country its first comic characters Daabu and professor Adhikari in the 1960s and later introduced Shrimatiji.
He continued with his experiments and came out with one of the most popular comic pairs in 1971- Chacha Chaudhary, a short, frail-looking man in a huge red pagdi, who fought everyone from thugs to pretty crooks with elan and a giant man called Saboo, apparently from Jupiter.
Chacha Chaudhary was a landmark work given how it fused sci-fi, filmy action and Indian middle class oddities, to offer a wholesome entertainer for people across ages. The legendary cartoon character made its first appearance in the Hindi magazine Lotpot in 1971.
All his characters had one thing in common. They were superheroes in their own small ways - while Billoo was an insufferably naughty boy, he was extremely sharp and could wriggle out of any soup he was in. Pinki, another of Pran's character, was again a small girl, who was extremely brave and ready to take up challenges. Chaudhary, famously, was said to have a brain 'which worked faster than a computer'.
Among his other popular creations were Raman and Channie Chachi.
Pran's superheroes were completely antithetical to the construct of the superhero popularised by the likes of Marvel Comics in the west. Most of Pran's characters did not possess any superpowers - they were average humans who used their brains well. Chaudhary's superheroes, essentially, were ideal human beings and looked and sounded like any of us. No wonder then, they were household names and were loved by generations of comic book lovers in India.
Later, several of Pran's works were animated or turned into cartoon films. However, his works still draw sustenance from the comic book format and is hugely popular among the middle classes.
Life of Pran
Born on August 15, 1938 in Kasur (now in Pakistan) Pran's family shifted to Gwalior after partition. He completed Master of Arts (Political Science) and a four-year course in Fine Arts from Sir JJ School of Arts, Mumbai.
He began his career in 1960 as a cartoonist for the Delhi-based newspaper Milap with a comic strip, Daabu. For his contribution in making comics popular in India, Pran was the recipient of a lifetime achievement award in 2001 which was awarded by the India Institute of Cartoonists and was also included in ‘People of the Year, 1995,’ by Limca Book of Records.
The Chacha Chaudhary website says about Pran, "He travelled widely over the globe including countries like America, England, France, Germany, Australia, Spain, China, S.Korea etc where he delivered speeches to the gatherings of cartoonists on the subject."
The website quoting Pran, said, "If I could put a smile on the face of people, I would consider my life successful."
Chances are he will continue being a success, long after he is gone.