New Delhi: Veteran Bollywood actor Pran Sikand, a Hindi cinema villain loved and feared in equal measure by moviegoers, was on Friday chosen for the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke award, the highest official recognition for film personalities in India.
The announcement about honouring the 93-year-old actor was welcomed by his son Sunil Sikand.
The award, named after the father of Indian cinema Dada Saheb Phalke, will be conferred on Pran on 3 May, which will also mark the 100 years of Indian cinema this year.
Pran, who has acted in over 400 films in his six-decade-long career, retired from acting in 1998.
Beginning his career as a hero in 1940 with ‘Yamala Jat’, Pran went on to achieve fame as a villain in numerous film including classics like ‘Milan’, ‘Madhumati’ and ‘Kashmir Ki Kali’.
Such was the magic of his unique on-screen villainy, that people stopped naming their children ‘Pran’ at the height of his fame as an actor.
He later favoured character roles, playing the friend, beloved father and grandfather in movies like Amitabh Bachchan starrer ‘Zanjeer’, ‘Upkaar’ and ‘Parichay’. Welcoming the honour, Pran’s son Sunil told PTI: “It is an amazing thing. We are happy and honoured.”
When asked whether the honour came too late for the veteran actor, Sunil said, “I don’t want to get into all these details. We are happy with the award. My father is watching the news on TV right now.”
The film industry, however, feels that the honour came too late for Pran.
“... why so late recognition? He should have been given this years back. I am delighted for Pran sahab. We grew up seeing him as a villain but he was a hero,” said actor Rishi Kapoor, who worked with Pran in films such as ‘Karz’, ‘Naseeb’ and ‘Bobby’.
Actor Prem Chopra, famous for his negative roles, too felt that it was a late honour.
“He is the most deserving case. He should have been awarded much earlier. But it is never too late. He has been a source of inspiration for many people and stayed in the profession for such a long time,” he said.
Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt called Pran “a thorough gentleman and a man whom you can depend upon”.