Pran – the indispensable actor of bollywood.
Bollywood films during the 50s, 60s and 70s, would have remained incomplete without the brilliant performance of Pran. He was there in almost every alternative film. Viewers remember his performance in the role of the famous dacoit in Raj Kapoor’s Jis Desh Me Ganga Behti Hai. He also replicated the style of living of dacoits that operated within the chambal region during that period in the early 60s.
Pran had a great combination with Dilip Kumar. He insulted him in every possible manner in Dil Diya Dard Liya and ultimately came to know that Dilip Kumar was the prince whom he treated as a servant. He became mad at the end of the film. In Ram Aur Shyam, he went on hammering Ram played by Dilip Kumar and got the treatment back from Shyam which was also played by Dilip Kumar. If viewers were amazed by Rafi’s songs like “aaj ki raat mere”, “aye hai bahare”, “mai hoon saqi”, etc., Naushad’s powerful composition, Wahida Rehman and Mumtaz’s acting then Pran maintained the balance with the villainish performance.
When Pran played character roles like the one in Upkaar, opposite Manoj Kumar, viewers were flabbergasted with the compassionate performance and excellent lips in Manna Dey’s song “kasme wade” composed by Kalyanji Anandji. In Gumnaam, Pran acted opposite Helen, and performed the role of a side –hero, who was also killed by Tarun Bose, the villain in the film. Pran brought life in the song “is duniya me jeena hoto” composed by Shankar Jaikishan by clapping along with the choreography of Helen.
Again Pran acted in the role of a strict grandfather in Gulzar’s Parichay, in 1972, whose values clashed against his son Sanjeev Kumar who was classical singer and died leaving five children. Jeetender, the teacher in the film bridged the gap between Pran and his grandchildren including Jaya Bacchan, by explaining the emotions of both the generations. Viewers saw Pran in the role of an Afghan character in Zanjeer opposite Amitabh, again the father of Big B, Rishi Kapoor, Vinod Khanna, in Amar Akbar Anthony, in 1977.
Without Pran, Shammi Kapoor’s films Kashmir Ki Kali, Rajkumar, Joy Mukherjee’s Love in Tokyo, Phi Wahi dil Laya Hoon, Biswajeet’s Mere Sanam, Rajender Kumar’s Ganwar, would have remained incomplete. All the films of Pran, ranging from the 50s to the 80s should be preserved and restored as he had remained an institution by himself.
By: Supriya Chatterji.