MAN BEHIND ' CHACHA CHOUDHARY '
Art has visual, no words. Literature has words, no visual. Comics have words as well as visuals. This accounts for its popularity. Says well known cartoonist pran whose famous creation 'chacha choudhary' is a craze among young children. 1994 is the silver jubilee year of chacha choudhary comic series which was created by pran on 10 january, 1969. to commorate this occasion , an exhibition of his original drawings was held at all India fine arts and crafts society recently. The youngest among two sisters and five brothers. Pran was born on aug 15 , 1938 in a small town, kasur, now in Pakistan. The family moved to gwalior after partition of the country . after completing M.A in political science , he studied fine arts. He started his cartooning career in 1960.
So, what drew him into cartooning ?
"in those days, foreign comics had a monopoly over India. These, however , could not be understood by majority of the people as they depicted on alien culture . so , I decided to create Indian comics having our own characters and based on local themes" Accordingly he created 'Daabu' a teenage school boy who worked with prof adhikari. This series ran simultaneously in the children's Sunday post , sudha and karmaveer . in 1968 , he created 'Shrimatiji' , a middle class housewife and of course 'chacha choudhary' in 1969. His other comic characters are raman, pinki and billoo which have become phenomenal success one after the other. Laying the foundation for future syndication. The reason for the popularity of prann's characters is that they simple and straight humour which directly tickles the laughter nerve of the reader. In his words : " cartoons help in relieving the tensions of life. It acts as a safety value. If I could offer a couple of laughs to poverty stricken Indians , I would consider my mission a success". And, laughs, he does offer, to the 1 crore or may be more readers all over the country who are hooked into his comics.
Pran has drawn more than1,65,000 cartoons and a record of 225 of his books have been published upto now earning him and entry in the limca book of records as the country's most prolific cartoonist of comics . his two episodes of chacha choudhary series have been acquired for display by the international museum of cartoon art, usa. But where do the ideas come from to feed such a varied and enduring characters ? pran simply picks them up from 'the environment around me ," and during his daily morning walks he shapes up his ideas , come back home and gets down to drowing them, and lo and behold ! by 10 a.m the story is done.
A keen observation is the key to his success story. " I used to observe that every family had an aged wise man who could solve problems with sheer common sense. In the small towns and villages , this sort of a person used to wear a turban on his head . I decided to model my next creation on the lines of the old wise man.," pran said tracing the origin of chacha choudhary. Going by its circulation figure 'chacha' has hit off well the target readers who , according to pran, are "the children who I want to makeideal citizens" for this reason, he depicys less violence in his comics . "violence pollutes the minds of the young generation", he feels.
Pran has noticed that the westrn comics usually depict either humour or violence . he cities the example of two popular comics - batman and superman - which depict violence sans humour . his character 'sabu' from the chacha choudhary series is different in this regard " I have created sabu in the likes of batman and superman but besides being the personification of strength , he also provokes laughter in the readers". The cartoon wizard would not specify as to whether the art of cartooning can be developed or whether it is an inborn talent but opined that the basic requirement of a cartoonist is "a good sense of humour . he should be able to conceive humour in ordinary situations".
And for his teening young readers, pran has a wonderful package coming soon - an animated film of chacha choudhary . the groundwork is already completed and the finale product is expected to hit the market sometimes next year. From a master of arts ( political science) to a master of cartoon , pran has come a long way indeed . thirty four years of dedicated work in this creative field earned him the coveted 'thitholi' award in 1982 , tones of appreciation from the world cover and of course the resounding laughter of his young fans.