He was one of the three most versatile actors I have seen in Hindi cinema, the other two being Motilal and Sanjeev Kumar.
Like these two stalwarts, Pran Kishen Sikand starred in every possible role that a man could play – villain, comedian, character roles of all types and leading hero. And believe it, he has even played female roles.
Bollywood’s favorite villain began his career as a successful hero, in the days before Partition. After Independence, Pran moved from his native Lahore to Bombay, and struggled for a year before he got his break as a villain in Ziddi (1948).
Pran has the unusual distinction of being the only actor who has starred in movies that were separately made in Pakistan and India. He was the male lead in two movies made in Lahore just before Partition, that were released in Pakistan after Independence.
After his performance in Ziddi, Pran became the most sought-after villain in Bollywood. During the next decade, he established himself as Bollywood’s best baddie. Each role that Pran played was different. Every character had a unique style and mannerisms to match.
For all his on-screen villainy, Pran was a thorough gentleman in real life. Soft-spoken, humble and generous, Pran was the one man that everyone in Bollywood would turn to if they needed any kind of help or advice- and that included big-timers like Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan. Always courteous to the ladies, Pran would always stand up when a lady entered the set, even if she was a maid.
His list of awards is about as long as the list of his movies. Pran won practically every award that an actor in India can win, a list that is too long to mention here.
We won’t see another like Pran Kishan Sikand.
Here he is, in the role that was his personal favorite, as Sher Khan in Zanjeer (1973).