Braving heavy rain, scores of misty-eyed fans and friends from Bollywood fraternity converged on Dadar’s Shivaji Park in central Mumbai to bid the final adieu to Pran Sikhand, who passed away on Friday night at Lilavati Hospital here.
The actor’s last rites were performed at 12.30 p.m. by his sons, Arvind and Sunil. Also present were his wife, Shukla and daughter, Pinki.
Pran’s body was adorned with flowers and brought to Shivaji Park in the morning amid rain, heavy traffic and a robust security.
Those who were closely associated with the actor during his five-decade career, including actors Amitabh Bachchan, Shatrugan Sinha, Anupam Kher, Danny Denzongpa, Kulbushan Kharbanda, Raj Babbar, Raza Murad, Tinu Anand, Kiran Kumar, lyricist Gulzar, screen writer Salim Khan and director Karan Johar, came to pay their final respects.
Fans recalled Pran’s mystique in several memorable roles he has etched as a villain or a roughneck with a heart of gold.
“A gentleman of the finest order, an admirable colleague, a thorough professional, a master of disguise in the characters he played, a delightful companion after ‘office hours’ and a considerate human being,” wrote Mr. Bachchan on his blog in his tribute to Pran, who had starred memorably alongside Mr. Bachchan in Zanjeer (1973), Majboor (1974) and Don (1978).
One of Mr. Pran’s oldest friends, thespian Dilip Kumar, who worked with him in timeless classics such as Madhumati (1958) and Azaad (1955), called Pran a “thorough gentleman” and shared memories and anecdotes of the late actor on Twitter. He also narrated how Pran braved inclement weather to attend Mr. Kumar’s wedding in Srinagar.
Mr. Murad, who has also carved out a career playing the ‘bad guy’ in Bollywood said, “Pransahab’s flawless performances succeeded in creating a different kind of fear in the minds.”
While most of Bollywood’s younger generation flooded Twitter to express their grief over Pran’s death, very few, unfortunately, were present at the funeral. “Had this been a glitzy event or an IIFA award function, a whole lot of celebrities would have come. It is sad that you cannot give 70 minutes of your time to a man who gave 70 years of his life to Bollywood,” observed Mr. Murad.
Actors such as Sridevi, Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit, Priyanka Chopra and Arjun Rampal, who were expected to pay their last respects, preferred to offer their condolences through social media instead.
Tributes also flowed from the political spectrum. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condoling Mr. Pran’s demise, called him an “icon.”
Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, in his condolence message, said “Pran entertained audiences with his multi-faceted performances during his six decade-long career.”
The actor, who acted in close to 400 films, was recently honoured with the Dadasaheb Phalke award at his residence in Mumbai as he was unable to attend the ceremony in New Delhi owing to his failing health.
At the time, many senior personalities in the film industry felt the honour had come too late.