Pran Kumar Sharma, best known for creating Chacha Chaudhary, passed away yesterday at the age of 75. He left a huge legacy in terms of his work, which was the go-to source for all kids in their childhood. All of us remember exchanging Chacha Chaudhary and Billoo with our friends. His comics made sure that even the most notorious kid in the class became a reader, and got absorbed in Pran’s fictional world. Reading his comics transported us to a different era.
Born in Kasur, a town south of Lahore in 1938, Pran spent most of his life in India. He started his career in 1960 with the newspaper Milap, where heworked on a strip named Daabu. The first time he created Chacha Chaudhary was for the magazine Lotpot in 1969. At a time, when most Indians used to look towards foreign publications like Superman and Phantom, Chacha Chaudhary was a breath of fresh air. An elderly man who entertained the nation with his wits and reminded us of our grandfathers.
Pran spoke about Chacha Chaudhary in an interview, “Each family has its own wise old man. He solved his problems with common sense, but with a touch of humor. Humor is the basis of my cartoon.”
At ComicCon Delhi this year, Pran was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award. He was also anointed the Walt Disney of India by World Encyclopedia of Comics earlier this year, and also awarded the People of the Year Award by the Limca Book of Records in 1995 for his contribution to the Indian Comic Industry.
Things you may have not known about Pran and his comics:
1) Pran has published over 400 comic books and 200,000 drawings for his comics.
2) Over 30 newspapers and periodicals carry his comic strips.
3) Two episodes of Chacha Chaudhary have been acquired by International Museum of Cartoon Arts, USA.
4) Lotpot magazine, for which Chacha Chaudhary was initially created, is still in production with over 1,75,000 copies of the Hindi version and over 2,25,000 copies of the English version in circulation. The magazine has been published without a break since its inception.
5) Most of Pran’s characters represents a section of people. Chacha Chaudhary is the wise man of the community. Billoo resembles the youngster who is always up for a game of gully cricket. Pinky reflects the teenage girl, and Shrimati ji was targeted at average Indian House wife and Raman represented the working class.
6) Shrimati ji is the oldest character created by Pran, that goes back to 46 years in 1968, one year before Chacha Chaudhary was created.
7) No one has ever seen Billoo’s eyes, as they are always covered by his hair.
8) Sabu’s diet comprises of 108 chapatis, 20 liters of lassi and 12kg of halwa in every meal.
9) Rocket, Chacha Choudhary’s pet dog, is the only vegetarian dog in the world.
10) Chacha Chaoudhary has a twin brother Chajju Chaudhary who was once abducted and taken to Mars by aliens mistaking him to be Chacha Chaudhary.
Pran, you will be missed greatly.
Image credits – chachachaudhary.com