Chacha Choudhary Is No More !


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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,

 

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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.

 

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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.

CHACHA CHOUDHARY As We All Know

CHACHA CHOUDHARY As We All Know

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 ………”.

CHACHA CHOUDHARY and SABU

CHACHA CHOUDHARY and SABU

 

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.

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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. ]

 

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B. R. Ishara : Departure of An Avant – Garde Film Maker


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JULY 27 , 2012           08.05 P.M.

Avant – Garde and Path  – breaking film – maker , a true iconoclast and a renaissance – man , Babu Ram Ishara , a.k.a. B. R. Ishara died on July 25 , 2012 at the age of  77 in Mumbai . He was suffering from tuberculosis . Last year he got paralytic stroke also .

He could be called a renaissance man of Hindi cinema , as he heralded a new wave in the world of formula laden Hindi film industry with his unconventional and critically acclaimed film  ” Chetna ” [ 1970 ] .

Chetna

Chetna (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When the film released I was in Allahabad doing graduation at Allahabad University . I vividly remember the sensation it created . The poster of the film was really a shocker . Two naked legs of a female and a peeping Rehana Sultan from there was enough to arouse amorous feelings of youngsters in that era of conservative India . Since Rehana Sultan hailed from Allahabad , the curiosity was at its peak and palpable . Film opened with critical acclaim and was a box office hit too .

Anil Dhawan & Rehana Sultan in Chetna

Anil Dhawan & Rehana Sultan in Chetna

Before ” Chetna “ , films used to be shot in studios . B. R. Ishara shot the film in a bungalow and thus started a new trend . Today shooting a film in bungalows has become a normal affair .

Ek Nazar

Ek Nazar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Apart from ” Chetna ” [ 1970 ] , his three other films were also special and significant in another way . A love story ” Ek Nazar ” [ 1972 ] , will be remembered because of  the lead pair . It starred Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bhaduri , as she was called and was known to the world before marriage . This film came and was a super flop . It is ironical that just after one year Amitabh Bachchan came with ” Zanjeer ” , a super hit , which changed his career graph and position in the industry . ” Prem Shastra ” [ 1974 ] was again a film with big star cast . It dealt with the issue of incest and starred Dev Anand and Zeenat Aman . And ” Rahu Ketu ” [ 1978 ] was his biggest . It starred Shashi Kapoor , Rekha , Pran , Prem Nath , Kamini Kaushal , Bindu and Aruna Irani .

Apart from above mentioned four films , his other films are : Gunah Aur Kanoon ” [ 1970 ] , ” Man Tera Tan Mera ” [ 1971 ]  , ” Man Jaiye ” [ 1972 ] , ” Zaroorat ” [ 1972 ] , ” Milap ” [ 1972 ] , ” Nai Duniya Naye Log ” [ 1973 ] , ” Dil Ki Rahen ” [ 1973 ] , ” Charitra ” [ 1973 ] , ” Dawat ” [ 1974 ] , ” Kaagaz Ki Nao ” [ 1975 ] , ” Ghar Ki Laaj ” [ 1979 ] , ” Log Kya Kahenge ” [ 1982 ] .  ” Hukumnama ” [ 1996 ] was his last film .

Milap

Milap (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dil Ki Rahen

Dil Ki Rahen

Rahu Ketu

Rahu Ketu

Ghar Ki Laaj

Ghar Ki Laaj (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He worked with many stalwarts of Hindi film industry . He signed Prithvi Raj Kapoor , Sanjeev Kumar & Kumkum for ” Gunah Aur Kanoon “ , Shatrughan Sinha , Anil Dhawan , Nadira & Rehana Sultan for ” Chetna “ , Amitabh Bachchan , Jaya Bhaduri & Nadira in ” Ek Nazar “ , Vijay Arora , Reena Roy & Danny Denzongpa in ” Zaroorat “ , Shatrughan Sinha , Reena Roy & Danny Denzongpa in ” Milap ” , Reena Roy , Danny Denzongpa & Nadira in ” Nai Duniya Naye Log “ , Dev Anand & Zeenat Aman in ” Prem Shastra “ , Sanjeev Kumar in ” Dawat “ , Sarika , Raj Kiran & Pradeep Kumar in  ” Kaagaz Ki Nao “ , Shashi Kapoor , Rekha , Pran , Prem Nath , Kamini Kaushal & Aruna Irani in ” Rahu Ketu “ , Sanjeev Kumar , Moushumi Chatterjee & Sohrab Modi in ” Ghar Ki Laaj “ and Shabana Aazmi , Sanjeev Kumar , Shatrughan Sinha & Navin Nischol in ” Log Kya Kahenge ” .

His discovery , his lucky muse and future wife , Rehana Sultan appeared in 4 films directed by him . They are ; ” Chetna ” , ” Man Tera Tan Mera ” , ” Man Jaiye ” and ” Dil Ki Rahen ” .

His other discovery Reena Roy worked with him in 3 films . They are ; ” Zaroorat ” , ” Milap ”  and ” Nai Duniya Naye Log ” .

Shatrughan Sinha  repeatedly worked with him in 3 films . They are : ” Chetna ” , ” Milap “ and  ” Log Kya Kahenge ” . 

Danny Denzongpa , a very choosy actor , worked with him in 3 films . They are ” Zaroorat ” , ” Milap ” and ” Nai Duniya Naye Log ” .

An actor of the caliber of Sanjeev Kumar worked with him in 4 films . They were : ” Gunah Aur Kanoon ” , ” Dawat ” , ” Ghar Ki Laaj ” and ” Log Kya Kahenge ” .

Shabana Aazmi , who does not sign films easily and left , right and centre , also worked in his film ” Log Kya Kahenge ” .

Thespians like Prithvi Raj Kapoor , Sohrab Modi , Pran , Prem Nath , Kamini Kaushal  and Pradeep Kumar also readily worked in his films .

Asit Sen , Johny Whisky , Nadira , Rakesh Pandey and Raza Murad repeatedly worked with him and were almost in every second films directed by B. R. Ishara .

It is astonishing that a man , who was not so well-educated and who used to wash dishes at Qamar Jalalabadi’s house and used to serve tea at Roop Tara Studio , made 30 films and stars of the calibre of Shabana Aazmi , Rekha , Shashi Kapoor and Sanjeev Kumar readily agreed to work with him .

He introduced Rehana Sultan , Reena Roy , Parveen Babi , Raza Murad , cricketer Salim Durrani and music director Bappi Lahiri in films .

His 2 Discoveries Anil Dhawan & Raza Murad at the Funeral

His 2 Discoveries Anil Dhawan & Raza Murad at the Funeral

It is sad that a director of the calibre of B. R. Ishara left the world in penury and was almost work less during his last years .

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