Chacha Chaudhary ka Dimaag computer se tez chalta hai...remember this line? You would if you love comics. For more than four decades, Chacha Chaudhary, the old witty neighbourhood uncle who has a solution to almost all the problems, have regaled readers. The character was created in 1970 by thelegendary cartoonist Pran; he is also credited with creating evergreen comic series like Baboo and Prof. Adhikari (science fiction; 1960), Shrimatiji (1968), Pinky, Billoo — they have all entertained generations of young minds in the country.
A paucity of good Indian comics in the 60s led a young Pran, who had then just competed his post graduation in Political Science, to conceptualise, script and create India's first own comic syndicate. "Those were the days of superman, batman and the complete monopoly of the western comic syndicate,"says Pran (75), who became the creator of the first indigenous cartoon strips, with Indian characters dealing with local themes. His work was laced with humour and the exploits of his characters had the nation grinning ear-to-ear. "There were many cartoonists then,but all political. None had thought of a comic series," muses Pran, who even today does his sketches and scripts the series the old fashioned way — pen on paper — before handing it to assistants who digitise the same.
At the recently concluded Comic Con 2014, Pran was awarded the Lifetime Achievement award. Currently, his works are on display at the Indian Institute of Cartoonists in the city, which has also awarded him a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001. "It's the reception by the readers which has brought all this recognition, and I am indebted to them," says the pioneer.
Reminiscing his journey of the past 45 years, he says: "It has been a fruitful and satisfying experience so far." From having his comic strips published in three newspaper to now 31 newspaper, and 600 comic books to his name....he sure has had a long and successful journey.