Pran Sikand

Rare vintage photos of legendary Indian actor Pran Sikand
Pran Krishan Sikand (12 February 1920 – 12 July 2013), better known by his mononym, Pran, was an Indian actor, known as a movie villain and character actor in Hindi cinema from the 1940s to the 1990s. He played hero roles from 1940–47, a villain from 1942–1991, and played supporting and character roles from 1948–2007.


Pran (born Pran Krishan Sikand on 12 February 1920) is a multiple Filmfare and BFJA award-winning Indian actor, who is one of the most popular villains of Hindi cinema. He has appeared in over 350 films. Pran played the leading man in films like Pilpili Saheb, Halaku (1956), Dharma(1973), Jangal Mein Mangal (1972), Gaddar and Ek Kunwari Ek Kunwara (1973). His pivotal roles in the films such as Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai (1960), Half Ticket (1962), Manoj Kumar s Upkaar (1967) and Purab Aur Paschim, Aurat(1967), Ansoo Ban Gaye Phool, Kab? Kyoon? Aur Kahan?, Johny Mera Naam(1970), Victoria No. 203, Zanjeer (1973), Chori Mera Kaam(1975) , Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), Chor Ke Ghar Chor(1978), Don (1978), Maan Gaye Ustaad(1981) and Duniya(1984) are considered to be among his best performances.

In 2010, he has been named on the list of CNN's "Top 25 Asian actors of all time".

He won the Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award in 1967, 1969, and 1972 and was awarded the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997. In 2001, he was honoured with the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India, for his contribution to Indian cinema. Contrary to the villainous characters he played in his early films, he is very social, a member of various organizations, and even has his very own football team, 'Bombay Dynamos Football Club'

A chance meeting with the writer, Wali Mohammad Wali, who worked for Dalsukh Pancholi, at a shop in Hira Mandi, Lahore, led to Pran winning his first role as a villain in Dalsukh Pancholi's Punjabi film Yamla Jat (1940), a big hit in that year. This was followed by Chaudhary and Khajanchi. Soon he established a name for himself as a villain in the Lahore film industry, with other noted villains of time, Ajit and K. N. Singh. Later, Pancholi cast him in Khandaan (1942), which was the first Hindi movie in which Pran became a hero, opposite Noor Jehan, who had earlier acted with him as a child artist.

Pran had acted in 22 films as a villain before his career experienced a brief pause, due to the partition in 1947. He left Lahore and arrived in Bombay on 14 August 1947, though films didn't come his way; months of wait and unsuccessful hunting followed, after which he moved to smaller hotels and eventually ended up in Delmar Hotel, Marine Drive. Eight months later, in 1948, he got a chance to start all over again, with the help of writer Saadat Hasan Manto and actor Shyam, he got a role in Bombay Talkies film, Ziddi which had Dev Anand and Kamini Kaushal as leads, directed by Shaheed Latif. This launched his career in Bombay. This film was also Dev Anand's big break as a hero, and there was no turning back for Pran from then on. Within a week of Ziddi's success, he signed three more films, S M Yusuf's Grihasti, which became a diamond jubilee hit, Prabhat Films's Apradhi and finally Wali Mohammad, who had first lured him into movies in 1940, had by then also moved to Bombay and had turned into a producer and set up office at Famous Studios, near Mahalaxmi Racecourse, offered him Putli.

As a villain, post independence,his first very successful movie was Badi Behan(1949). Pran was regularly offered the role of the main villain or negative character in the films with Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand and Raj Kapoor as the lead hero in the 1950s and 60s. Pran's performance as the negative character was very much appreciated in Dilip Kumar starrers like Azaad, Madhumati, Devdas, Dil Diya Dard Liya, Ram Aur Shyam and Aadmi and films with Dev Anand as the lead man like Ziddi (1948), Munimji (1955), Amar Deep (1958) etc. and with Raj Kapoor in Aah, Chori Chori, Chhalia, Jis Desh Men Ganga Behti Hai, Dil Hi Toh Hai. Films with him as the lead hero, Pilpili Saheb and then Halaku in 1956, were big hits too. Pran proved his versatality in the 50's by enacting as the typical swashbuckling pirate in Sindbad the Sailor (1952) and Daughter of Sindbad (1958)and acting in action-packed thrillers like Azad (1955); historicals such as Aan (1952) and Raj Tilak (1958); social themes such as Baradari (1955) and light romances like Munimji (1955) and Asha (1957).

Subsequently in the sixties and early seventies, even though he was in his forties, being slim and fit, his demand in the film market never went down and he was given pivotal roles as a character age 25 to 30 in films with Shammi Kapoor, Joy Mukherjee, Rajendra Kumar and Dharmendra as the lead heros. Whereas Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor's careers as the young hero started to decline from the late sixties as both of them had put on lot of weight although they were younger than Pran. But Pran's association with Dev Anand continued even in 70's and 80's with super hits like Johny Mera Naam, Warrant and Des Pardes.
Pran always had a significant role in comedy films starring Kishore Kumar and Mehmood Ali in the lead roles. Pran's memorable collaborations with Kishore Kumar as the leading man include Naya Andaz, Aasha, Bewaqoof, Ek Raaz and Jaal Saz and with Mehmood in Sadhu Aur Shaitaan, Lakhon Me Ek. The most memorable films of Kishore Kumar and Pran together remains Half Ticket and Man-Mauji.


In the late 1960s, with the character of Malang Chacha in Manoj Kumar's Upkaar in 1967, he turned to positive character roles, wherein the popular Kalyanji Anandji song, "Kasme Waade Pyaar Wafaa" was picturised on him. In this movie Kamini Kaushal also moved to character roles. Manoj Kumar continued to cast Pran in pivotal roles in his films where Manoj played leading roles like Shaheed, Purab Aur Pachhim, Be-Imaan, Sanyasi, Dus Numbri and Patthar Ke Sanam. In mid sixties, he also acted in several Bengali films, beginning with Ashim Banerjee s Sonai Dighe, where Joy Mukherjee was the hero.

Many roles with him playing the supporting role to the hero were released and this way he reinvented himself as a character actor from being earlier the main villain. Pran from 1967 till 1997 became a well-known character actor in Hindi films and the most famous are the roles in Humjoli, Parichay, Aankhon Aankhon Mein, Jheel Ke Us Paar, Zinda Dil, Zehreela Insaan, Hatyara, Chor Ho To Aisa, Dhan Daulat, Jaanwar(1983), Raaj Tilak, Insaaf Kaun Karega, Bewafai, Imaandaar, Sanam Bewafa, 1942: A Love Story, Tere Mere Sapne, Lav Kush. His films with Shashi Kapoor as the lead actor, too were big hits, notable being Biradari, Chori Mera Kaam, Phaansi, Shankar Dada, Chakkar Pe Chakkar, Rahu Ketu, Apna Khoon and Maan Gaye Ustaad.

In the 1970s, Pran was offered the role of leading man in films like Dharma(1973), Ek Kunwari Ek Kunwara, Jangal Mein Mangal, Rahu Ketu. Since the fifties till late eighties, Pran was often cast with Ashok Kumar beginning with Afsana in 1951, to play either the role of friends, around whom the story revolved, in films like Victoria No. 203, Chori Mera Kaam, Chor Ke Ghar Chor, Apna Khoon, Aap Ke Deewane and Raja Aur Rana or as characters at logger heads in films like Inspector(1956), Lakeeren(1954),Mr. X(1957), Pooja Ke Phool, Purab Aur Pachhim, Adhikar, Naya Zamana and Aansoo Ban Gaye Phool.The veteran actors were very close friends in professional and real life and have acted in more than 25 films together. Songs sung by Kishore Kumar and picturised on Pran in 70's like Hum Bolega To Bologe Ke from Kasauti, Micheal Daru Pita Hai from Majboor and Meri Nazar Se Bachana Koi from Chori Mera Kaam were huge hits and continue to be popular.

Pran recommended newcomer Amitabh Bachchan to Prakash Mehra for the character of Vijay in Zanjeer, which was earlier offered to Dev Anand and Dharmendra but was rejected by them. Pran acted with Amitabh in 15 films, the most notable being Zanjeer, Kasauti, Don, Amar Akbar Anthony, Majboor, Dostana, Naseeb, Kaalia and Sharaabi. He was at the peak of his career in the 1970s, when he acted in action thriller, Don, and in 1970-81, Pran was paid much more than Amitabh Bachchan. The actor to be paid higher than Pran was only Rajesh Khanna in the 1970s and 80s; whereas in the 50s and 60s it was the trio of Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand and Raj Kapoor along with Rajendra Kumar. Pran remains the only male actor in Hindi cinema to have tasted many box office success throughout his active career without any dip or low phase in his long career.

Pran had started accepting more of versatile roles since the late 1960s; he occasionally accepted the role of a bad man in the 70s, 80s and 90s in films like Kab? Kyoon? Aur Kahan?, Gaddar, Andhaa Kanoon (1983), Duniya (1984), Durgaa, Hoshiyar , Dharm Adhikari and Azaad Desh Ke Ghulam. Director Prakash Mehra always casted Pran in most of his directorial ventures in his career like in Ek Kunwari Ek Kunwara, Zanjeer, Aan Baan, Khalifa, Jwalamukhi, Sharaabi, Jaadugar. Pran was a hot favourite with Manmohan Desai, having directed Pran regularly in his directorial ventures like Chhalia, Bluff Master, Dharam Veer, Naseeb, Amar Akbar Anthony. Subhash Ghai casted him in Vishwanath, Karz and Krodhi.

In the late nineties, Pran started rejecting film offers citing age-related problems. But in the nineties when Amitabh was going through the bad patch in his career, he requested Pran to do roles in his home productions Mrityudaata and Tere Mere Sapne and Pran made an exception by acting in them. Pran's legs had begun to shiver in 1997 so his character in Mrityudaata was modified accordingly to justify his legs shivering and in Tere Mere Sapne, his shots were taken with him being seated. Post 2000, he made few guest appearances. In 2012, he gave his hand print for  Legend s Walk , a waterfront promenade which has the hand impressions of the legends from Hindi film industry.

The legendary "Villain of the Millennium" has had a marathon six-decade career in Hindi cinema and is one of the most celebrated actors of the industry. So effective was his acting that it said that people stopped naming their children 'Pran' because of his villain roles, while the industry had started calling him 'Pran Sahab'. His favourite line "Barkhurdaar" became immensely popular.

His biography, ...and Pran was so named because, in atleast 250 off the 350 movies that he acted in, his was the last name in the cast portion of the credits, with the words "...and Pran" and sometime "..above all Pran".

Pran was born in Ballimaran,Kotgarh Old Delhi, into a wealthy Kalal/Ahluwalia family. His father, Kewal Krishan Sikand, was a civil engineer and a Government civil contractor, his mother was Rameshwari, and the couple had four sons and three daughters.

He was academically gifted, especially in mathematics. Since his father had a transferable job, he studied in various places, including Dehradun, Kapurthala, Meerut and Unnao (Uttar Pradesh), finally completing his matriculation from Raza High School, in Rampur. Thereafter, he joined A. Das & Co., Delhi as an apprentice as he wanted to become a professional photographer. This job took him first to Simla, where he played Sita to Madan Puri's Ram in the local staging of "Ramlila".

Pran married Shukla Ahluwalia on 18 April 1945, and has two sons, Arvind and Sunil, and a daughter, Pinky.