Saturday, July 13, 2013

And Pran.

I really don't care that much about "Beauties." What I really like are Talkers. To me, good talkers are beautiful because good talk is what I love. The word itself shows why I like Talkers better than Beauties, why I tape more than I film. It's not "talkies." Talkers are doing something. Beauties are being something. Which isn't necessarily bad, it's just that I don't know what it is they're being. It's more fun to be with people who are doing things. - The Philosophy of Andy Warhol.

I recognize that it's a bit trite to be digging out Andy Warhol quotes but, you know, I really don't care that much about "Beauties." Heroes, heroines come and go with the breeze... I do like Talkers in real life but on screen my favorite people are Characters, as in Character Actors - the filmiest of the filmy. Though I always felt Pran was handsome enough to have been a hero, he fell into a career playing smoldering, seedy, dangerously sexy villains opposite the chocolate box heroes of the day. With his heavy lidded eyes, he was the masculine mirror image of the vamps he was often paired with and I love him for it. Pran in riding boots cracking a whip; Pran raising an eyebrow in amusement while debonairly smoking a cigarette. As a villain he was bad but not unforgivably so. Often times in those 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s films, you'll find his character forgiven and folded back into the family at the end of the film. Because we liked him, we could believe his crime wasn't evilness, just a lack of self-control, our id run wild - a bully unchecked in Ram aur Shayam, a horndog in Brahmachari, a drunk in Gumnaam.

The 1970s saw his villain roles morph into grey roles. He played comedy uncles and sympathetic rogues. They weren't upstanding citizens but neither were they bad people.

Who can forget his memorable tribute to friendship in Zanjeer?

Or his clowning with Dadamoni in Victoria No. 203, two lecherous old codgers stealing the film from right under the nose of the wishy-washy chocolate box hero.

The last role I really remember Pran in was in 1942: A Love Story, giving counsel to Anil Kapoor. Heroic, and tragic, if I remember correctly. A full lifetime away from the whip-swinging villains he played in his youth but a tribute to how beloved he was.

I still love a villain and grey character and the men and women who play them - Sonu Sood, Rahul Dev, Prakash Raaj - but there was only one Pran. And I loved him.

There are lovely tributes up here and here and from Amitabh Bachchan over here. ----

1 comment:

odadune said...

Just going to repost my comment on his passing from Bollywhat:

"RIP Sher Khan. :( Possibly one of the greatest character actors of *any* film industry ever. From suave westernized villains in bad wigs to swashbuckling Pathans to saintly foster-fathers, he played it all, with style."

Note from Filmi Girl:

I love Bollywood - and all the ridiculous things that happen in Bollywood - but it doesn't mean that I can't occasionally make fun of various celebrities and films.

If you don't like my sense of humor, please just move on by - Trolls are not appreciated and nasty comments will be deleted.

xoxo Filmi Girl