Filmfare April 1997

A chance meeting with the well-known filmmaker Mohammed Walli outside a pann shop in his hometown Lahore changed his life forever. The year was 1939 and the youngster was Pran Kishen Sikand. Pran, as he's popularly known, was in Lahore to learn still photography when Mohammed Walli spotted him and cast him in the Punjabi film Yamla Jat and , after that, Choudhary. The films were hits. Pran had arrived. In 1942, Dalsukh Pancholi cast him in the romantic lead opposite singer-actress Noor Jehan. Though the film was a knockout hit and he was flooded with leading roles, Pran thumbed down the offers. Why? Because he hated running around trees. He preferred to make evil eyes at the heroines, scaring them witless.Pran did 22 films in Lahore when the Partition brought an abrupt halt to his career. The young actor along with his wife and one-and-a-half-year-old son landed in Bombay, only to face unemployment and an uncertain future.

Pran had all but given up hope when he was signed as a villain for Shaheed Latif's Ziddi, Mohammed Walli's Grahasti and Prabhat's Apradhi. All three films were offered to him in the course of a single day. Eventually, D.D.Kashyap's Badi Bahen established him as Indian cinema's No.1 baddie. Portraying the title role of Halaku he sent shivers down the audience's spine. And who can forget the supremely fearsome Raaka in Raj Kapoor's Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai? He made such an impact that parents refused to name their sons Pran. When he felt that he'd had more than enough, he changed his villain's garb to that of a versatile character actor's, beginning with Upkar. Followed Parichay, Ansoo Ban Gaye Phool, Zanjeer, Majboor, Kasauti, Dus Numbri, Kaalia, Don, Victoria No.203, Naseeb and Amar Akbar Anthony. He's been into villainy, comedy, heroism…you name it, he's done it. Now, he's featuring in his first mythological movie. In the forthcoming Luv Kush, he essays the role of Valmiki.