Why Isn’t The Feature Film Inspired By The Life Of The Villain Pran, “Main Hu Pran” Not Being Released After So Many Years?
Ali Peter John
For more than five decades, Pran was a name without which no big film could be made. He was the face of the ultimate bad man. His fame as a bad man had spread and was a part of every household. In fact,a survey conducted in Maharashtra showed that no boy was named Pran.
Pran in real life was Pran Sikand who had made his debut as a lead role player in pre-partition India.
It was in the early thirties that he came to Mumbai with his family and it took him very little time to make a name for himself as the villain and he never looked back for the next fifty years.He was the bad man in the story of every good man,he was the villain in films in which there were heroes like Ashok Kumar, Dilip Kumar ,Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand, Dharmendra, Jeetendra, Biswajeet, Shammi Kapoor, Shashi Kapoor, Joy Mukherjee and down to heroes of five different generations.
It was his face and especially his eyes and the way he modulated his voice that made him the villain who has still not found a competitor or rival. He was a man with a heart of gold and was the first to lead any move to help, whether it was for the victims of war,of drought and famine besides the many other individuals cases of his showing how much he cared for other human beings. He was the most feared man on screen, but was the most loved and respected man off screen.
It was only in the late sixties that Manoj Kumar who was the hero in many films in which Pran was the villain and who had turned writer and director with ‘Upkaar’ who inspired him to play Malang Baba,a good man in the film.
His new ‘avatar’ in ‘Upkaar’ gave him a new lease of life as an actor who could play any character. The only time he played a villain again was in a film called ‘Kasam’ starring Anil Kapoor and Poonam Dhillon. Strangely, the audience did not want to see him as a villain at this stage of his career.
He continued playing a wide variety of roles in any number of films till age and a number of health complications led him to go slow and he had to finally surrender to the vagaries of time. His health became a cause of concern for the entire industry, but his health kept failing him till he started losing his memory and had to spend most of his time at home or in hospitals. It was a pathetic sight to see the one-time worst villain sitting with his pet dog during the satsang prayers offered by his wife and her friends. Pran who once told this writer that he never missed having at least half a bottle of whisky every evening for more than fifty years and who even confessed that he had a ‘girlfriend’ in every major cities now only sat alone before the TV in his drawing room watching any game of cricket played anywhere while he kept sipping the most mild beer. His day ended at seven pm when he had two pegs of whisky,had a frugal dinner and went to bed. His condition grew so bad that he did not even know when the Union Minister Arun Jaitley came to his house to present him with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award. He died in his sleep when he was ninety-one.
There is a biography called ‘And Pran’ written by one of his friends,Bunny Reuben.He was livid with anger after reading just a few pages and disowned the book saying that all that was written was a figment of the imagination of the writer……
But, I have just come across a full length feature film called ‘Main Hu Pran’ which is not a biography or a biopic, but a film in which Pran plays the title role of a bad man who is transformed into a good man by the love of a young girl. The film made more than thirty years ago has Pran giving life to every human emotion, but the maker of the film, Raj Kumar Bhagchandka is satisfied with making the film as a tribute to Pran. He has not even tried to release the film as he wants to keep the film as a treasure.
Among the actors who have worked in the film are Pradeep Kumar, Bharat Bhushan,Asha Parekh,Deboshree Roy the Bengali actress who is now known as the aunt of Rani Mukherjee,Asit Sen, Madhu Malini, Mahesh Kumar, Ramesh Deo,Kamal Deep and many others. Bappi Lahiri who was a newcomer when the film was made scored the music.
The filmmaker is known for financing some big films which have not done well, but he is still in touch with the industry. His only goal is to enter his film in the Guiness Book of Records for planning to release the film after such a long time and for having twenty actors who are no longer alive. He has plans to make other films, but is in two minds after seeing the big changes that have come over the industry and the new generations of people who are now rulling the industry.
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