“Art has visual, no words. Literature has words, no visual. Comics have words as well as visuals. This accounts for its popularity…” – Cartoonist Pran Kumar Sharma. The man who was anointed as the ‘Walt Disney’ of India, succumbed to cancer at the age of 75, this morning at a hospital in Gurgoan.
Pran was born on 15th August 1938 in Kasur which was then a part of undivided India. His family later moved to Gwalior. Pran was an MA (Political Science) and he also completed a 4-year course from the famous – Sir JJ School of Arts, Mumbai.
He ventured into the world of arts as a Cartoonist in 1960, for a Delhi-based newspaper; Milap. His maiden comic strip was titled “Daabu.” However, in the year 1969, Pran raised to fame with his ingenious comic “Chacha Chaudhary,” for a Hindi Magazine, Lotpot. Chacha Chaudhary is one of the most successful and popular Indian comics today. The comic has sold a close to 10 million copies. Some of his other famous works include – Shrimatji, Pinki, Billoo, Channi Chachi, and Raman.
Greatness lies in simplicity, and this was indubitably reflected in the works of the legendary cartoonist. The characters he penned down were all humble and ordinary, inspired by the middle-class Indians. This attributed to his success as readers could easily relate themselves to the characters.
He was credited with much recognition for his contribution to the world of Arts. In 1982, he won the Thitholi Award. In 1995, he was named amongst the People of the Year, for popularizing comics in India, by Limca Book of records. In 1997, he was given the Rajdhani Ratan Award. This year, at Fourth Annual Comic Con India Awards, Pran received a Lifetime Achievement Award.