Chacha Choudhary Is No More !



MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           AUGUST 13, 2014           11.55 P.M.


If I mention that Pran Kumar Sharma died on August 05, 2014, only few will take notice. But if I mention that creator of CHACHA CHOUDHARY died in Gurgaon on August 05, 2014 at the age of 75, thousands will mourn.When I read about the sad demise of creator of CHACHA CHOUDHARY, I felt a personal loss. He was suffering from Colon cancer.

Pran began his career in 1960 as a cartoonist for the Delhi based newspaper Milap with comic strip Daabu. Apart from Daabu, Indian comics scenario was largely based on reprints of The Phantom and Superman. In 1969, Pran sketched Chacha Chaudhary for the Hindi magazine Lotpot, which made him famous. Pran has also created other cartoon characters like Shrimatiji, Pinki, Billoo, Raman, Channi Chachi and others, which are regularly published in Indian magazines. Pran reached lakhs of Kannadigas through his Putti, Raman that were published in Kannada daily Prajavani and Shrimathi which publishes in Kannada magazine Sudha.

He was included in People of the Year 1995 by Limca Book of Records for popularizing comics in India. In 1983, the then Prime Minister of India, Mrs. Indira Gandhi released Pran’s comics “Raman – Ham Ek Hain” which promoted national integration. Pran received a Lifetime Achievement Award 2001, from Indian Institute of Cartoonists. Pran has also given lessons in cartooning at the Pran’s Media Institute, run by his son Nikhil.

Maurice Horn notes that Pran has been given the title of “Walt Disney of India” in The World Encyclopedia of Comics. The Chacha Chaudhary strips find permanent place in International Museum of Cartoon Art, USA.

Pran Kumar Sharma with His Creation CHACHA CHOUDHARY

Pran Kumar Sharma with His Creation CHACHA CHOUDHARY


Since my childhood days in Deoria, I was a huge fan of Mandrake The Magician and Phantom. Both the comic strips used to be published daily in a popular Hindi daily of those days ” AAJ “. Mandrake became Mandareek and Phantom became Van Bhairav in Hindi. My day never began unless I read these two syndicated comic strips in ” AAJ “.


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Mandrake the Magician is a syndicated newspaper comic strip, created by Lee Falk . Its publication began June 11, 1934. Phil Davis soon took over as the strip’s illustrator, while Falk continued to script. The strip is distributed by King Features Syndicate.

Davis worked on the strip until his death in 1964, when Falk recruited current artist Fred Fredericks. With Falk’s death in 1999, Fredericks became both writer and artist. The Sunday Mandrake strip ended December 29, 2002. The daily strip ended mid-story on July 6, 2013 when Fred Fredericks retired,



After hugely popular Mandrake the MagicianLee Falk , created another adventure comic strip , The Phantom . A popular feature adapted into many media, including television, film and video games, it stars a costumed crime fighter operating from the fictional African country Bangalla.


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The Phantom is the 21st in a line of crime fighters that originated in 1536, when the father of British sailor Christopher Walker was killed during a pirate attack. Swearing an oath on the skull of his father’s murderer to fight evil, Christopher started the legacy of the Phantom that would be passed from father to son, leaving people to give the mysterious figure nicknames such as The Ghost Who Walks”, “The Man Who Cannot Die” and “Guardian of the Eastern Dark”, believing him to be immortal.



Unlike many fictional costumed heroes, the Phantom does not have any superpowers, and relies on his strength, intelligence, and fearsome reputation of being an immortal ghost to defeat his foes. The 21st Phantom is married to Diana Palmer, whom he met while studying in the United States; they have two children, Kit and Heloise. Like all previous Phantoms, he lives in the ancient Skull Cave, and has a trained wolf, Devil, and a horse named Hero.

The series began with a daily newspaper strip on February 17, 1936, followed by a color Sunday strip on May 28, 1939; both are still running as of 2014. At the peak of its popularity, the strip was read by over 100 million people each day.

Lee Falk continued work on The Phantom until his death in 1999. Today the comic strip is produced by writer Tony DePaul and artists Paul Ryan (Monday-Saturday) and Terry Beatty (Sunday).

New Phantom stories are published in comic books in different parts of the world, among them by Dynamite Entertainment in the United States, Egmont in Sweden, Norway and Finland, and Frew Publications in Australia.

The Phantom was the first fictional hero to wear the skin-tight costume that has now become a hallmark of comic book superheroes, and was also the first shown wearing a mask with no visible pupils, another superhero standard.


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Being a fan of above mentioned two comic strip heroes; Mandrake The Magician and Phantom, I was skeptical , rather dismissive when I read about cartoonist Pran and his Desi Comic strip hero CHACHA CHOUDHARY. What can a mustachioed elderly man do in front of such powerful heroes like Mandrake and Phantom? But I was wrong.



When I read adventures of CHACHA CHOUDHARY in Diamond Comics , I became a life-long fan.The bond with CHACHA CHOUDHARY, BINNI CHACHI and SABU is unbreakable. I still remember and will always remember the famous tagline “…….. Chacha Choudhary ka dimag, computer se bhi tez chalta hai ………”.




According to a Diamond Comics press release, the Indian kids in the age group 10–13 years ranked Chacha Chaudhary as their most recognizable comic book character.

He has also been featured as a guest in other Diamond Comics series, with Billoo, Pinki and Lucky.

With the sad demise of cartoonist Pran, CHACHA CHOUDHARY wont be same again. May be he will also die soon.One more part of my adolescent , growing years is lost forever.

Vidur Acting Institute Logo


On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Merchandise, I offer my condolences.

CHACHA CHOUDHARY is a part of my growing years. His memory is firmly etched in my psyche.

[ Information about Mandrake The Magician, Phantom and their creator Lee Falk is taken from Wikipedia. I express my gratitude. ]




Farewell Uncle Pai !


It was with deep shock that I read about the death of Mr. Anant Pai aka Uncle Pai , few days back. He died on February 14, 2011 in a Mumbai hospital.  He was admitted there for the operation of his fractured leg but shortly before he was to undergo surgery, he suffered a fatal heart attack and died. He was 82-year-old at the time of his death.

He was the founder of India‘s most famous comic series ” Amar Chitra Katha “. Later on he also started a magazine for children ” Tinkle “. In mid-60s, when he was working with The Times of India, he was watching a television quiz and to his utter dismay and shock saw a child, who knew so many things about Greek history but didn’t know the name of the mother of Bhagwan Ram. Mr. Anant Pai decided to do something.

Amar Chitra Katha

Image via Wikipedia - Logo Amar Chitra Katha

In 1967 he conceptualized and along with some of his loyal illustrators , started publication of Amar Chitra Katha. First of the series was about Bhagwan Krishna. Initially all the books of Amar Chitra Katha series were published by India Book House. This world-famous series went on to sell 100 million copies of 440 titles in 20 Indian languages.

Later on in 1984 Uncle Pai launched ” Tinkle “. This magazine had so many comic characters of its own like ; Suppandi, Shikari Shambhu , Kalia the Crow and Tantri the Mantri. Suppandi and Kalia the Crow were my favourites. I was so impressed by the character of Suppandi , the lovable goof, that I coined a new word also. It was Patandi. A verb for the actions of Suppandi. Whatever Suppandi did was Patandi for me. I used it frequently whenever my siblings were up to some pranks. I still sometimes use it for the asinine acts of my kids.


Image via Wikipedia - Suppandi

I must admit here that Amar Chitra Katha had a lasting impression on me during my formative years. For history and mythology, apart from history books, Amar Chitra Katha , was the only authentic informative source that we had. In those pre-google days Uncle Pai became an encyclopedia for the kids.

He was basically a Kannadiga and got educated in Mumbai. He used to work in the book division of Times of India. The paper used to bring Indrajal Comics at that time. Famous characters of Indrajal Comics were Phantom and Mandrake the Magician. I was avid follower of both these comic series.

I am fortunate that I had privilege of meeting uncle Pai several time. Years ago in 1998 Star Plus was making a TV series on Amar Chitra Katha. Mr. Rohit Kaushik was assigned to direct ” SHAKUNTALA “ and Mr. Gaurab Pandey was assigned to direct ” RABINDRA NATH TAGORE “. I was writing scripts for both the series. I used to go to uncle Pai’s apartment in Shivalik building at Prabhadevi for consultations. He used to live with his wife Lalitha. Because of my knowledge of Sanskrit and Indian scriptures, he became very fond of me and in fact gifted me a novel written by him. Name of the novel is ” BEECH KI KADI “ , which he wrote under pseudonym of Parth. This novel is not available in the market and I am the proud owner of it, with his signature and small note. He used to come to the ESSEL studio , where we were shooting ” SHAKUNTALA ” . I spent many memorable evenings talking to him about his life, his work and his vision. I am happy that I wrote script for his ” SHAKUNTALA ” , and ” RABINDRA NATH TAGORE ” , which he liked and praised. His faith in me was so unflinching that when something went wrong with  ” SHAKUNTALA ” , he said, ” how did this happen when vidur was there? ”

It is sad and pathetic that he was not honoured by Indian government for his herculean contribution. In spite of being a pioneer, he was not honoured by the governments of all hue and colours. Towards the end of his illustrious career, he was conferred the Lifetime Achievement Award at a comic book conclave in New Delhi. Even after his death, clamour to confer the Padma Award fell to deaf ears.

Uncle Pai in His Office

It is sad, very sad. But people of two generations will always remember their uncle Pai with fondness and love.

Farewell uncle Pai ! You and your Amar Chitra Katha series are always AMAR [ immortal ]. This KATHA [ story ] will never end.

I consider myself extremely fortunate that I could meet you several times and could interact with a person of your caliber.




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