Mumbai, July 15: Actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha was dismayed to see the poor turn-out at the funeral of legendary actor Pran, the Bollywood villain audiences loved to hate.
"I saw very few people from the film industry. A man who gave 70 years of his life to the film industry deserved a much more hefty send-off," said Sinha.
Pran Kishan Sikand, popular as Pran, breathed his last at the Lilavati Hospital here late Friday evening following prolonged illness. He was 93.
His last rites were performed the next day and a handful of people like Amitabh Bachchan, Anupam Kher, Karan Johar, Raj Babbar and Shakti Kapoor came to pay their last respects to the departed soul.
Sinha, who cancelled his trip to Patna to attend the funeral, said: "There is no doubt Pranji was an institution. He has inspired generations of actors, including me. When I heard of his passing away, I immediately cancelled my trip to Patna to attend."
Recalling Satyajit Ray's condolence meeting at the Mehboob Studios on the doyen's death, Sinha said: "This was Satyajit Ray who brought renown to Indian cinema and to the nation, the only Indian to win both the Oscar and the Bharat Ratna. And there was hardly anyone at the condolence meet. At Pranji's funeral on Saturday I was sadly reminded of Mr. Ray's condolence meet."
Sinha says he was influenced by Pran.
"I used to copy his hairstyle from 'Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai' during my college days in Patna. Later, I got the chance to work with Pranji in films like 'Ganga Tera Pani Amrit', 'Buniyad' and 'Vishwanath'."
"In 'Mere Apne', I paid Pranji a tribute by copying that idiosyncrasy of his from 'Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai' whereby he kept scratching his neck," he said.
"Pranji did almost 400 films. Indian cinema is a 100 years old, and he was there for 70 of those 100 years. Very few can equal that record. I'd say Pranji was a true achiever and a source of inspiration for generations of actors."