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The Walt Disney of India

Do you know Chacha Chaudhary's brain works faster than any computer?

Md Shahnawaz Khan Chandan
Pran Kumar Sharma
Pran Kumar Sharma

From the 60s till today, Chacha Chaudhary, a wise old man --witty and brave--and always with a smile under his long white moustache, engaged millions of children into the story of his adventurous tale. But the creator of this iconic comic character, Pran Kumar Sharma has brought an end to these fascinating stories by leaving this world forever.

Pran was born in Kasure, a southern town of Lahore on August 15, 1938. After the partition, Pran's family came to India where he spent the rest of his life. For him, life was not very easy at the beginning. He had to struggle hard for his study and finally he enrolled into an evening camp college in Delhi, from where he graduated with a BA and an MA in Political Science. But Pran had a passion for drawing and painting. He wanted to be a drawing teacher at schools. To do so, he pursued a five year distance learning course in fine arts from the renowned Sir JJ School of Arts in Mumbai.

However, Pran could not complete the course. His genius as a painter and his creative humour made him a professional cartoonist in a Delhi based newspaper called Milaap where he joined in 1960. In Milaap he started a comic strip called Daabu. At that time foreign super heroes like Superman and Phantom used to reign over the minds of Indian children and adolescents. The lack of an indigenous fictional superhero persuaded Pran to create something new and different.

In 1969, Pran created his second character called Chacha Chaudhary for a magazine called Lotpot. He once said about this legendary character, “Each family has its own wise old man. He (Chacha Chaudhary) solved his problems with common sense but with a touch of humour. Humour is the basis of my cartoon.” Chacha Chaudhury, with his extra terrestrial gigantic accompanist Sabu, his vegetarian dog Raaket and his trusted truck Dogdog (used in the Second World War) has always been ready to solve problems and challenges. Even Chacha Chaudhary has been seen in the field to save the nation from the threats like terrorist attacks. Pran says in this regard, “My character kept pace with the changing times. When terrorism was at its peak and the country was plagued by scandals and bomb blasts, I introduced Sabu, who was a symbol of ultimate strength.”

For his revolutionary contributions Pran is considered as the father of Indian comic industry.
For his revolutionary contributions Pran is considered as the father of Indian comic industry.

From 1981 Diamond Comics started to exclusively publish the tales of Chacha Chaudhury. But Pran introduced many more witty characters in the comic world of India. With Raman, Pinky, Billoo, Shrimatiji and Channi Chachi this legendary creator has entertained millions of readers throughout the subcontinent and the world. All of his characters represent a section of people of our society. Chacha Chaudhary represents the wise old man of the community from whom everyone wants advice and solution. Billoo resembles the youngster who is always up for a game of cricket. Pinky represents the growing teenage girl with lots of witty ideas. Shrimatiji is the typical Indian housewife and Raman represents the working class.

Pran achieved numerous awards and recognition for his works. At ComicCon Delhi this year, Pran was conferred with a Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2013 he was recognised as the Walt Disney of India by the World Encyclopaedia of Comics. In 1995 Pran was awarded the People of the Year Award by the Limca Book of Records for his contribution to the Indian comic industry. Chacha Chaudhary has been adapted for a television serial of 600 episodes. It is India's first telly serial based on an Indian comic. His comics have been translated into 10 different languages.

Pran says in an interview, “If I could put a smile on the face of people, I would consider my life successful.” He is actually one of the most successful cartoonists of the world. He was the pioneer of comic industry in this subcontinent. Pran, the father of Indian comics, died on August 5, 2014 after a long battle with cancer. He will to be remembered for his creations which not only provide healthy entertainment but also convey a message to society.      

Published: 12:00 am Friday, August 15, 2014

TAGS: Disney Pran Kumar Sharma

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