Pran, the creator of the iconic comic character Chacha Chaudhary, no more

Cartoonist Pran, the creator of the
iconic Indian comic book character Chacha Chaudhary, died today in New Delhi.
He was 75 years old.
Pran Kumar Sharma, was the first
Indian artist-writer to come up with comic books whose protagonists were
characters rooted deep in Indian rural and middle class ethos.

His most popular creation was of
course Chacha Chaudhary, a short, frail-looking man in a huge red pagdi, who
fought everyone from thugs to pretty crooks with elan. He had for company a
giant man called Saboo, apparently from Jupiter.

Chacha Chaudhary, created in 1971, was
a landmark work given how it fused sci-fi, filmy action and Indian middle class
oddities, to offer a wholesome entertainer for people across ages.
Pran was born in Kasur near Lahore, in
undivided India. He completed his bachelors degree in political science from
Gwalior. He then went on to study art in the JJ School of Art in Mumbai, but
left the course midway.
He began working as a cartoonist in
1960 in Indian dailies.
Pran’s body of work includes other
comics like Billoo, Pinki, Raman,
Shrimatiji
. He later created a separate series of comics on Saboo, Chacha
Chaudhary’s assistant.
All his characters had one thing in
common. They were superheroes in their own small ways – while Billoo was an
insufferably naughty boy
, he was extremely sharp and could wriggle out of any
soup he was in. 



Pinki, another of Pran’s character, was again a small girl, who
was extremely brave and ready to take up challenges. 



Chaudhary, famously, was
said to have a brain ‘which worked faster than a computer’.
Pran’s superheroes were complete
antithetical to the construct of the superhero popularised by say a Marvel
Comics in the West. 

Most of Pran’s characters did not possess any super-powers
– they were average humans who used their brains well. Chaudhary’s superheroes,
essentially, were ideal human beings and looked and sounded like any of us. No
wonder then, they were household names and were loved by generations of comic
book lovers in India. 
 
Later, several of Pran’s works were
animated, turned into cartoon films etc. However, his works still draw
sustenance from the comic book format and is hugely popular among the middle
classes.
The Chacha Chaudhary website says
about Pran, “He traveled widely over the globe including countries like
America, England, France, Germany, Australia, Spain, China, S.Korea etc he
delivered speeches to the gatherings of cartoonists on the subject wherever he
went.”
Pran, the website quotes, had said,
“If I could put a smile on the face of people, I would consider my life
successful.”

Chances are he will continue being a
success, long after he is gone.