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Late cartoonist Pran’s son keeps his legacy alive

Pran was the creator of popular comic characters Chacha Chaudhary and his aide Sabu among others

ABHIMANYU DAS  New Delhi | 11th Apr 2015

Sabu and Chacha Chaudhary

Nikhil Pran, son of late cartoonist Pran Kumar Sharma, who passed away last year after battling cancer, continues to keep his father's legacy alive. Pran, which is how he was commonly known, was the creator of popular comic characters Chacha Chaudhary and his aide Sabu, among others. His comic strips featuring these characters, which are now produced by his son, are syndicated to 35 publications all over the country. More than five million readers all over the country regularly read the exploits of his famous characters, Chacha Chaudhary, Sabu, Shrimati-ji, Pinki, Billoo, Raman and Channie Chachi published in 10 Indian languages.

Pran was awarded the Padma Shri by the President of India on 30 March 2015. The award was received by his wife. He has left behind a son and a daughter who is also a computer engineer.

Nikhil, who studied computer engineering at Manipal University, said that initially his father did not want him to follow in his footsteps. "He never wanted me to join his profession. Maybe it was because of the hardships he experienced early on in his life," he said.

Born on 15 August 1938 in Kasur, now in Pakistan, Pran had an MA Political Science. He also did his Fine Arts Diploma from Sir J.J. School of Arts in Mumbai. He started his career in 1960 as a pocket cartoonist in Daily Milap newspaper. At the time, foreign comics were very popular in India. Pran created Indian characters with local themes and humour. In 1971, the first comic strip of Chacha Chaudhary was created.

Nikhil said that technology was helping them in the endeavour. "We have in our database one lakh images created by him. We cut and paste them to create new strips. It has reduced work by 50%. We have also hired new writers and artistes. All the work is now in digital mode," he said.

For the last one year, Diamond Magazines has been publishing the comics, instead of Diamond Comics, the old publisher. Nikhil Pran said that there were certain issues with the old publisher, which could not be resolved, leading to the shift to Diamond Magazines.

"I miss his guidance. There is a vacuum created by his loss. Till today, if I am in a problem, I consider how he would have tackled the matter. We would have our arguments, but he would always be proved right afterward," he added.

Readers of Chacha Chaudhary will not be surprised, since his mind is said to work faster than a computer.

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