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Cartoonist Pran, an irreplaceable contributor to Indian comics

IANS 06 Aug 2014, 19:29:12 PM IST
New Delhi: The comic industry owes debt to cartoonist Pran, who died Tuesday, for shaping India's indigenous comic landscape and creating memorable characters like Chacha Chaudhary, said artists and illustrators here.

"Anyone doing anything with comics owes a debt to the man for creating an indigenous comic platform in the country. His contribution in 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.

A blanket of nostalgia enveloped India as Pran passed away in Gurgaon. He was 75.

But it also brought back fond memories of growing up years and joy of reading every day stories through an array of popular characters like Shrimatiji, Pinki, Billoo, Raman, and Chachi.

"He had a vision to bring out these characters and make them relatable," Abhijeet Kini, artist and the man behind comic strip "Angry Maushi", told IANS.

Mumbai-based Kini had met Pran once and asked what was the inspiration behind his characters, and the eminent cartoonist had replied: "Characters have to be real so that people can believe in them."

This is why Pran, who formed a 33-year-long association with Diamond Publishers, scripted a successful comic journey that also gave him the tag of the "father of Indian comics".

These comic books have been a slice of everyone's childhood, and many literally grew up reading these where local themes and issues were introduced through these colourful characters.

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 Jawalamukhi Fatata Hai" (When Sabu gets angry, a volcano erupts on Jupiter) - are stored into the minds of young and old alike.

"If Chacha represents a wise man whom everyone loves and respects, Billoo is a naughty boy like every teenager, and so is Pinky, a cute girl," Gulshan Rai, Diamond Comics publisher, told IANS.

"These characters are one among us and that is why they will always be loved. They will never grow old or fade. These characters will carry forward his legacy," he added.

Illustrator Shinobi Saheb feels Pran's strength were his "talking and emoting" characters.

"Art has visual, no words. Literature has words, no visual. Comics have words as well as visuals. This accounts for its popularity," Sahed posted on Twitter.