New Delhi : Pran Kumar Sharma, creator of iconic comic book characters like Chacha Chaudhary and Sabu, died on Tuesday night, his family said on Wednesday. He was 75. Pran, as the cartoonist was popularly known, was suffering from colon cancer.
Apart from the hugely popular Chacha Chaudhary, Pran also created other characters like Shrimatiji, Pinki, Billoo, Raman, and Chachi. Also known as the father of Indian comics, Pran created first indigenous cartoons strips in 1960. His stories had local themes and Indian characters. It was this sense of belonging that made him a household name. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi described him as “versatile cartoonist who brought smiles on the faces of people through his rich work”.
Pran’s work spanned over five decades and his association with Diamond Publishers began in 1981, when its publisher Gulshan Rai asked him to start doing comic books with them. Before this he was working with “Lotpot” magazine.
“For the past 33 years we were working together,” Rai told IANS. But there was another side to Pran’s life his fans were not aware of. “He was, like any other artist, a bit eccentric. But as a person he was extremely nice and a thorough gentleman,” said Rai. For artists and illustrators,
Pran contributed immensely in shaping up India’s indigenous landscape.
“Anyone doing anything with comics owes a debt to the man for creating an indigenous comic platform in the country. His contribution to creating iconic characters is irreplaceable,” Jatin Varma, founder Comic Con India, told IANS.
“If one looks at the history of cartoons in India, his name will always be remembered. His characters were so simple and believable,” he added.
Apart from these characters, some one-liners like “Chacha Chaudhary Ka Dimag Computer Se Bhi Tez Chalta Hai” (Chacha Chaudhary’s brain works faster than computer) or “Jab Sabu Ko Gussa Aata Hai toh Jupiter par Jwalamukhi Fatata Hai” (When Sabu gets angry, a volcano erupts on the planet Jupiter) – are indelibly etched into the minds of young and old alike.
Bollywood too dipped into nostalgia and fondly remembered this eminent cartoonist. For younger actors Randeep Hooda, Virr Das and Nikhil Dwivedi, the cartoonist’s creativity hold a special place. “Pran, creator of the iconic Chacha Chaudhary, is no more. Ah those train journeys as a child with these as a companion,” Nikhil posted on Twitter, while Randeep said: “Chacha Chaudhary ka dimag computer se bhi tez chalta hai”… Thank you Pran saab for a great Bachpan. RIP.” While his death marked the end of an era, Rai believes his legacy will continue. “Comics never die,” said Rai. “Pran’s legacy will live on and so will these characters,” he added.