'Pran was one of the most towering pillars of Indian cinema': BJP

New Delhi, July 13 (ANI): Expressing profound grief over the sad demise of veteran actor Pran, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday said the former was one of the most towering pillars of the very history and growth of Indian cinema, particularly the main stream Hindi cinema.

"In the last more than six decades, not even a single milestone would be complete without mentioning his role as a villain, as a character artist and even otherwise giving a new life and creativity to the whole growth of our cinema. We mourn his sad demise. He was given the Dadasaheb Phalke award is a matter of assurance, this award ought to have come to him earlier," said BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad.

"But today, when we convey our condolences, we need to recollect that all the future generations when would reflect upon Indian cinema would never fail to notice his powerful imprint on its growth," he added.

Pran's final rites are taking place at Mumbai's Shivaji Park crematorium. Veteran lyricist Gulzar, director Karan Johar, actors Danny Denzongpa and Anupam Kher and director are present at the funeral ceremony along with a host of other stalwarts of the Bollywood fraternity.

Pran, 93, died last night in Lilavati Hospital where he had been admitted last month.

Pran, who impressed all with his performances in movies such as Zanjeer and Amar Akbar Anthony, received the Dadasaheb Phalke award in May this year.

Pran, who began his career as a hero in Punjabi films, made a tremendous impact on Bollywood as the villain in Dilip Kumar's Ram Aur Shyam and was the first actor to break stereotype by playing character roles as well.

In the 1970s, there was almost no major film that did not feature Pran and he was often higher paid than the lead actor.

Pran, who was credited with making the role of the villain as important as that of the hero, was known for his style on screen.

The versatile actor last appeared on-screen in 1997's Mrityudaata.

The legendary actor is survived by his wife Shukla, daughter Pinky, and sons Arvind and Sunil. (ANI)