For more than four decades he gave his readers a reason to smile. The wit of Chacha Chaudhary and the might of his aide Sabu never failed to entertain but there will be no new anecdotes to share — their creator Pran Kumar Sharma succumbed to cancer in Gurgaon on Wednesday morning. He was 76 and is survived by his wife, son and daughter.
“He will be missed, as will his cartoons,” said Gulshan Rai, managing director of Diamond Comics that has published Chacha Chaudhary since 1981. He recalled the frequent meetings between him and the cartoonist, where the latter always had innumerable ideas on how to better his work. “He was always open to suggestions and was very forthcoming to bring his work onto the new media, whether it was television or mobile phones,” Rai said.
Born in Kasur in Pakistan in 1938, Pran reportedly pursued a course in Fine Art from Sir JJ School of Art, Mumbai, through distance learning. He began his career as a cartoonist in 1960 for Delhi-based newspaper Milap with the comic strip Daabu and first sketched Chacha Chaudhary in 1969 for the Hindi magazine Lotpot. His repertoire includes several other comics such as Billoo, Pinki and Shrimatiji.
As the news of Pran’s death spread, several took to Twitter to express their grief, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who described Pran as a “versatile cartoonist who brought smiles on the faces of people through his rich work”.
While those who knew him well described him as “quiet and hard working”, one of the scriptwriters for his comics, Shambhavi Yadav noted, “I grew up reading his comics and then one day I was writing for them. I knew the characters so well that it came naturally to just spin a story. I used to look forward to the illustration that Pran would make for it, he hardly ever changed the dialogues I’d given.”