x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Beloved villain of Bollywood: Pran dies at the age of 93

Bollywood's favourite villain, whose career spanned six decades, died in Mumbai on Friday at age 93.

The veteran Bollywood actor Pran in front of a painting of himself at a younger age. AP Photo
The veteran Bollywood actor Pran in front of a painting of himself at a younger age. AP Photo

Pran, who played some of Bollywood’s most memorable villains in a career that spanned six decades, died of pneumonia at a Mumbai hospital on Friday. He was 93.

Pran Krishan Sikand, popularly known as Pran, acted in more than 350 Hindi movies. He was best known for his bad-guy roles that earned him the honorific “Villain of the Millennium”.

“Indian cinema has lost an icon,” India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh posted on Twitter on Friday night.

In May, an ailing Pran was presented the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, the Indian government’s highest honour for cinema, at his Mumbai home.

Pran also received several other prestigious awards, including Filmfare magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.

Pran began acting as a hero in hit 1940s films such as Khandaan (Family) and Aurat (Woman). He became most famous for his roles as a villain in movies such as Bari Behen (Elder Sister), Azaad (Free) and Johnny Mera Naam (Johnny is My Name).

Pran is especially remembered for his supporting role as a villain-turned-hero in 1973’s smash hit Zanjeer (Shackles). The appeal of Pran, whose menacing eyes made him appear as the most dreaded villain on the Hindi cinema screen, drew audiences to Zanjeer, which helped a young Amitabh Bachchan become India’s biggest film star. After reportedly recommending Bachchan for the part, Pran would team up with him in more than a dozen films.

Tributes streamed over Twitter as fans and film stars remembered their favourite lines and roles by Pran.

Bachchan tweeted: “A gentleman, most collaborative colleague. Another magnificent pillar of the film industry falls.”

Pran is survived by his widow, two sons and a daughter.

* AP