Mumbai: Actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha feels that the Dadasaheb Phalke award has come to Pran, an actor par excellence, "too late" but adds that the 93-year-old deserves the honour and it is "better late than never".
"I'd say the honour is too late, too little, too delayed but thoroughly deserving for an incomparable actor who is also a kind and helpful human being. 'Der aaye par durust aaye'. Better late than never and I'd like to add better never than 'late'," said Sinha.
The "Kalicharan" fame actor says that he rooted for Pran earlier, but that time it was given to other actors. The veteran actor was named for the honour Friday.
"What is the point of honouring the dead? We're fortunate to have Pran saab with us and that he got the Dadasaheb Phalke award during his lifetime. He is an actor par excellence and a great human being," he said.
"I recommended him very strongly for the Dadasaheb Phalke award on two different occasions. But the award was given to two other actors. Even Lata Mangeshkarji had tried to get Pran saab the Dadasaheb Phalke (award). But like I said, the whole industry is happy it has finally happened," added Sinha, who has worked with Pran in films like "Dostana" and "Vishwanath".
"I've worked with Pran saab in some really lovely films, including a film called 'Buniyaad' and Subhash Ghai's 'Vishwanath'. Subhash always used to say Pran Saab was the epitome of punctuality, while I was just the opposite. If people adjusted their watches according to Pran saab's schedules, they simply stopped consulting their watches because of me.
"Subhash would plead with me to be on time for the morning shift because the first shot was mine. Needless to say, I was never on time whereas Pran saab who was not needed for the first shot would be there. I'd say the Dadasaheb Phalke award has honoured Pran saab as much as he has honoured the award," said Sinha.
In 1940, Pran started his career as a hero in "Yamala Jat", but achieved fame by playing villain in films like "Madhumati", "Ziddi", "Ram Aur Shyam" and "Kashmir Ki Kali".
In his career spanning over six decades, Pran acted in over 400 movies and played a vast range of roles - from a hero to a villain to a character artist.