Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday condoled the demise of Pran Kishan Sikand, known as Pran, describing him as "an icon" and a talent whose "versatility in etching a lasting impression on cinema audience's mind improved with time".
Pran, who has over 400 films to his credit in a career spanning six decades, died in a Mumbai hospital late Friday following prolonged illness. He was 93.
In a condolence message, Manmohan Singh said: "Pran had entertained several generations of Indians with his riveting performances in hundreds of celluloid roles. His versatility in etching a lasting impression on cinema audience's mind improved with time for which he was bestowed with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award."
"He worked with doyens of film industry among which he was an icon," said Singh, expressing sadness over Pran's passing away.
"I convey my heartfelt condolences to the members of the bereaved family and Pran's countless fans and admirers. I pray for peace of the departed soul," he added.
The thespian was bestowed the 44th Dadasaheb Phalke Award for Lifetime Achievement earlier this year.
Pran began his career as a photographer in 1940, but then he moved in front of the camera post a chance meeting with a film producer, who gave him his debut role in a film called "Yamla Jat".
Later, when he moved from Lahore to Bombay (now Mumbai), with the help of renowned writer Saadat Hasan Manto and actor Shyam, Pran got a break in Bombay Talkies' film "Ziddi", in which Dev Anand played the lead role.
That set the momentum for the versatile talent, who brought new mannerisms and style and lent new dimensions to negative characters.
If he played villain convincingly in films like "Madhumati", "Ziddi" and "Ram Aur Shyam", with the same ease he slipped into character roles like the lovable Malang Chacha in "Upkar" or a loyal friend Sher Khan in "Zanjeer".
Among his memorable movies are "Azaad", "Madhumati", "Devdas", "Dil Diya Dard Liya", "Ram Aur Shyam", "Aadmi", "Ziddi", "Munimji", "Amardeep", "Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai", "Chori Chori", and "Chhalia".