Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

'Barkhurdar...' and several other catchphrases differentiated Pran Sahaab from other villains of the Indian cine industry. The late actor had earned a distinguished identity for his dialogue delivery with gaps. He was known as a powerhouse performer for his impressive screen presence and impeccable dialogue delivery. Though he is loved as a versatile actor, he went on to become one of the greatest villains that the Indian Cine industry had ever witnessed. He is otherwise also known as the villain of the millennium.

Remembering the real 'Sher Khan' of Bollywood on his 104th birthday, here we bring some lesser-known facts about the legendary actor.

Born as Pran Krishan Sikand on February 12, 1920, he made his debut in 1940. He worked in over 22 movies before partition.  

Post-partition, the legendary actor moved to Bombay (Mumbai). However, he had to struggle for eight months to bag a role in 1948's Ziddi.

He did several other jobs while looking for acting opportunities. As per reports, he also worked at Delmar Hotel in Marine Drive for eight months. 

After getting the opportunity in Ziddi with Evergreen Star Dev Anand, he never looked back and went on to give several blockbusters throughout his career.

By 1950, he was gradually established as a premier villain. In his six-decade-long career, Pran Sahab has worked in over 350 films. 

He essayed various roles throughout his career, from romantic hero to supporting actor. However, the antagonist characters glorified him like none other. However, his onscreen nature was in contrast to his reality.

Sher Khan’s ‘Yaari’ with Angry Young Man

People fond of Hindi movies are well aware that Amitabh Bachchan rose to stardom with Zanjeer and the Indian film industry got its Angry Young Man. But, it was Pran Sahab, who initially helped Amitabh Bachchan to achieve stardom. Big B himself revealed that Pran recommended him for Zanjeer and he could bag the role of inspector Vijay Khanna.

The script of Zanjeer was written by the Salim-Javed writer duo and initially, it was with Dharmendra. However, as he was busy, the writer duo sold it to Prakash Mehra. At first, Prakash went to Raaj Kumar and then to Dev Anand. While Raa Kumar wanted to shoot the movie in Hyderabad, Dev Anand wanted songs in the movie. As it didn’t work with the two big actors, Prakash’s search continued and he went to several other top actors of the time. 

It was a time when Rajesh Khanna ruled the box office and music was the emperor. Finding the lead for a movie in which the hero doesn’t romance, doesn’t sing songs, and doesn’t do comedy had become a headache for the director. 

Then it was Pran Sahaab who suggested to Prakash that he should see Bombay to Goa and he might get his hero for Zanjeer. They went to see the film together and Prakash jumped in a certain scene, screaming, ‘Mil Gaya.’

It was a time when Amitabh Bachchan had already worked in several films but all bombed at the box office. Given that, people thought that Prakash had gone ‘senile’ for choosing an unsuccessful actor. Even during the making of Zanjeer, a few movies of Amitabh Bachchan were released, but all of them tanked at the box office. 

However, the movie became a breakthrough for Amitabh Bachchan and it went on to become one of the biggest hits of the time. The movie broke all the norms.

Earlier, Bachchan fondly recalled the song ‘Yaari Hai Iman Mera Yaar Meri Zindagi’ for which Manna Dey lent his energetic voice. BigB wrote that the song was one of the major highlights of the movie and he became a big-time fan of Pran’s electrifying moves in the song.

According to the Brahmastra actor, Pran had extensive knowledge of the Urdu language and Shayari. Moreover, he also remained updated in the sports field and was very fond of hunting throughout his life.

Zanjeer wasn’t the first time when Amitabh and Pran met. The Anand actor got the chance to get a glimpse of the Johnny Mera Naam actor’s humble and polite nature during a meeting in 1960. With the help of his friends, Amitabh visited RK studio where he met Pran. He got to see the iconic villain enjoying his own company at a corner. Amitabh was highly impressed with the modest nature of Pran who obliged him and his friends with photographs. He also signed an autograph for the young Amitabh which became one of the most important moments of his life.

After Zanjeer, Amitabh and Pran went on to work in dozens of blockbuster movies, including Amar Akbar Anthony, Don, Naseeb, Andhaa Kaanoon, Sharaabi, and Shahenshaah to name a few.