Pran Kumar Sharma has passed away. During his lifetime, very few people knew his full name and I also came to know it only when the news of his demise came on internet. He has been known by the world especially the lovers of Indian comic strips for the past half a century by his first name only. Which Indian magazine reader is ignorant of the comic characters like Chacha Chaudhary, Shrimatiji, Raman, Billu, Pinky and the like wise who have entertained the readers for decades and decades? Originally written in Hindi, these comics were translated to English also.
Born in Lahore on 15.08.1938, Pran Saheb started his journey in the world of comics in 1960 with his comic strip Daabu. Gradually he created several comic characters whose ventures not only gave him his unique identity in the world of comics but turned themselves also in no less than icons.
I came into contact with Pran Saheb’s world through his lesser known and now almost forgotten brain-child Cheeku who’s not a human-being but a rabbit. Comic strip Cheeku was published regularly in the fortnightly children’s magazine Champak. This lovely rabbit was shown as an intelligent as well as benevolent animal. Pran Saheb continued to make it for Champak till the middle of 1980. Then suddenly due to some unknown reason, he stopped doing it and the Cheeku that came before the readers thereafter was the creation of someone else.
However Pran Saheb got his due name and fame through his human characters. He wrote the stories of the day-to-day life episodes of an Indian housewife named as Sheela but better known as Shrimatiji in his comics. Shrimatiji always remained extremely popular. It continued to be published in the popular Hindi family magazine Sarita for around two decades and thereafter in another such magazine Manorama.
Children’s world became lively through Pran Saheb’s brain-children Billu on one hand and Pinky on the other whose ventures continued to be published in the children’s magazines for several decades. Billu had become so popular that popular Hindi poet (of humour genre) – Kaka Haathrasi wrote a poem covering himself and some other characters of that series in that. This poem was published in the children’s magazine Paraag.
Chacha Chaudhary has been the most popular comic character created by Pran Saheb which came not only in print form but also through a T.V. serial (aired on Sahara Channel) in which Raghuveer Yadav played the role of Chacha Chaudhary. He is a simple but very intelligent villager whose trusted lieutenant is a gigantic person having come from Jupitor, named as Saabu.
In addition to being regularly published in different magazines, Pran Saheb arranged the ventures of his brain-children to be published in book form also. The comic books of Chacha Chaudhary, Billu, Pinky, Raman etc. deserved to be called as bestsellers during the eighties and the nineties. He was also awarded for his comic book Raman – Hum Ek Hain for its contribution to national integration.
I pay my tribute to Pran, the undisputed king of Indian comics who is also known as the Walt Disney of India.
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