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August 6, 2014

Pran Kumar Sharma, 1938-2014

Pran Kumar Sharma, who as Pran created a variety of characters including Chacha Chaudhary on his way to becoming one of India's most popular cartoonists, died yesterday morning in a hospital in Gurgaon. He was 75 years old.

imageSharma was born in Kasur near the Pakistani border and was educated in political studies at schools in Gwalior and Delhi. He then diverted to arts training, picking up an extensive education int he fire arts at a school in Mumbai -- a course of study done by correspondence while the future cartoonist lived elsewhere.

Pran's first cartoon work came in comic strip form when he contributed Daabu to the newspaper Milap starting in 1960. The newspaper market at the time was heavily dependent on reprints of western material.

Chacha Chaudhary first appeared in sketch form in the magazine Lotpot in the late 1960s. He was popular but I believe the greatest publishing success the character and his creator received began in the 1980s when comics starring that character and other started appearing in Diamond Comics and were published in magazines rather than newspapers.

Other Pran creations included Pinki, Billoo and Channie Chachi. The cartoonist received the Indian Institute Of Cartoonists' Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001, and is generally credited as one of the talents responsible for popularizing cartoon expression in India.

Pran also briefly taught in the Media Institute established by his son. The cartoonist is survived by that son and a daughter.

The cause of death was cancer. The cartoonist was diagnosed eight months ago but was only admitted to the hospital days before his passing. The prime minister noted his passing on Twitter.
posted 8:15 am PST | Permalink

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