TBI Tribute: Pran – The Man Who Gave Life To India’s Favourite Cartoon Characters

Remember Chacha Chaudhary and his smart brain which worked “faster than a computer?” Saboo and his anger that causes a “volcano to erupt somewhere.”  Naughty Pinki who would win everyone’s heart with her innocent yet mischievous acts. Young Billoo, whose stories always brought a smile on our faces.

We all loved these characters and the one man who breathed life into them was Pran Kumar Sharma, commonly known as Pran. Sadly, he succumbed to cancer on August 6, 2014 at the age of 75.

Pran Kumar Sharma, chacha choudhary

Pran Kumar Sharma, creator of some of India’s favourite cartoon characters

His contribution to the Indian cartoon scene can never be forgotten. His characters gave a new life to the industry. Every kid in the 90’s era was seen with a comic book in his or her hand.

Born on August 15, 1938 in Kasur, Pakistan in undivided India, Pran began his career as a cartoonist in 1960 for a Delhi-based newspaper Milap with comic strip Daabu. But, he came into the limelight after nine years when he created the legendary character of Chacha Chaudhary who was an instant hit among kids for many decades.

After completing Bachelors from Gwalior and Masters Degree from Delhi, he pursued a five-year course in fine arts from J.J. School of Art, Mumbai through distance learning while he was in Delhi so that he could later become a drawing teacher. But, he soon discontinued when he realised that one does not require training to become a good cartoonist.

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He gave a new lease of life to Indian cartoons as at that time mostly European comic strips were published by Indian newspapers. The publishing house Diamond Comics published his cartoons and made him a household name.

His most famous character, Chacha Chaudhary, has more than 10 million readers in newspapers and comic books in 10 languages and the comic strip was acquired for display by International Museum Of Cartoon Art, USA. It was also adapted as a television series.

Pran was included in the ‘People of the year, 1995’  list by Limca Book of Records for popularizing comics in India. Before that, in 1983, Pran’s comics “Raman – Ham Ek Hain” which promoted national integration, was released by the then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi. He also received the Lifetime Achievement Award 2001 from Indian Institute of Cartoonists.

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Pran, in his entire career, managed to publish over 400 comics books that include over two lakhs drawings. Around 30 newspapers and journals across India carry his work. He has also given many lessons at Pran’s Media Institute, run by his son Nikhil in Noida.

His death has been mourned by entire country. The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi expressed his grief on micro blogging site Twitter and remembered Pran as “a versatile cartoonist who brought smiles on the faces of people through his rich work.”

Our beloved cartoonist Pran is no longer with us, but he has given us a huge legacy which will be cherished by one and all for generations to come. May his soul rest in peace.

Find some of his amazing characters in this list of 11 Indian children comics books.

Photo 1 Courtesy: “Pran Diamond comics” by indiabookofrecords – indiabookofrecords.in. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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