Monday, March 23, 2015





This author  vividly remembers how food was served to us at 8.30 pm and my mother would finish everything by 9.15 pm. Thereafter everyone in our family kept glued to the radio in hush silence waiting till 9.30 pm when we would hear something like this:-


“ Ye chhu Radio Kashmir Srinagar. Raaetch henz saad’a nuv bajeiye . Booziv drama’ lala joo and sons’. Tehreer Ali Mohammad Lone ta peishkush Pran Kishore .” or "This is Radio Kashmir Srinagar . It is 9.30 pm now. Tune in to our drama ‘Lala Joo And Sons’ scripted by Ali Mohammad Lone and produced by Pran Kishore”. Some notable and very popular plays produced by Pran Kishore could be listed as under:-


 (1) ‘Vyaathh rooz pakaan’ ( a drama series for which Akhtar Mohi ud Din, Ali Mohammad Lone and Som Nath Zutshi wrote powerful radio dramas. Ali Mohammad Lone’s drama for this series was selected in the National Drama Festival and won the first prize )

(2)’ Vaitaal Pacheesi’ ( From Kathaa Sarit Saagar translated by Ali Mohammad Lone. Pran Kishore acted as Vaitaal )

(3) ‘Bombur Ta Yemberzal’ ( opera written by Dina Nath Nadim ) 

(4)’Dr Faustus’(translated by Rehman Rahi. Pran Kishore acted as Dr Faustus )

(5) ‘Vitasta’ ( opera by Dina Nath Nadim. The stage adaption was also directed by Pran Kishore Kaul ) 

(6) ‘Lala Joo and Sons’ ( written by Ali Mohammad Lone )

(7) ‘Aadam Chhu Ajab Zaat’ ( written by Akhtar Mohi ud Din )

(8) ‘Yeli Vattan Chhu Khuur Iwaan’ ( scripted by Hari Krishen Kaul )

(9) ‘Vaen Kaemsinz Vaer Chhi’ and’’ Harud’ ( scripted by Dr Shanker Raina )

(10) ‘Myon Marun,’Buss Akh Tamaah’ and ‘D’aan Tha’r‘ ( Scripted by Bansi Nirdosh )

(11) ‘Agar Aash Sorie’, ‘Kaend Sahraav’,’ Jheel Bulaa Rahi Hai’, ‘Aadam Hawa Ta Iblees’, ‘P’asha kiss Vatchhus Tal’ and ‘Myani Jigreikk Daadi Voath’ ( scripted by Ali Mohammad Lone )

(12 ) ‘Buut Ta Bulldozer’ ( scripted by G R Santosh )

( 13) ‘Shuhul Naa’r , ‘Taent Kur’ and’ Kaejj Raat’ ( scripted by Sajood Sailani )

(14) ‘Vijvaav’ ( scripted by Som Nath Zutshi )



The radio plays that he produced or directed , broadened the listener base of Radio Kashmir Srinagar. The dramas scripted by  Amar Malmohi, Shamas ud din Shamim, Rattan Lal Shant, Autar Krishen Rehbar, Shabnam Qayoom, Moti Lal Kemu and many more playwrights were also produced or directed by Pran Kishore for Radio Kashmir. It is practically impossible to record all plays that he either produced or directed or wherein he acted. The list could be endless.

On account of his exceptional command over English, Hindi, Urdu and Kashmiri languages, Pran Kishore also translated many plays from English, Urdu and Hindi to Kashmiri and ensured their broadcast from Radio Kashmir, Srinagar. Many plays produced by him for Radio Kashmir Srinagar won awards in the National Radio Drama festivals. He even translated Stein’s Rajtaringini and presented it as a radio feature. Many radio artists have confirmed to this author that he was always present during the recording and rehearsals of his plays. He would meticulously record every dialogue to its perfection in a professional environment. He would not allow any side talks and nobody would dare to disturb his work not even his close associates like Kedar Sharma, P L Razdan and M L Kuchroo. Jai Kishen Zutshi, who was also associated with radio dramas and who later shifted to Doordarshan, was trained by Pran Kishore .


His radio features on saint poetess ’Lal Ded’ and the tallest saint of Kashmir's Reshi order fondly known as  ‘Nund Ryosh’, remain unmatched to this day in terms of production, script and presentation. For the ‘Lal Ded’ feature, he sought assistance from Prof Jay Lal Kaul and Master Zinda Kaul. Both features were broadcast through various AIR stations in India. ‘Aab Ta Hayaat’ ( Water And Life ) is a radio feature that won him national and international fame. Not many of us know that it was presented before a mammoth gathering in Milan, Italy. This Radio feature was written and presented by Pran Kishore Kaul in his unique and impressive voice. Pran Kishore's voice is an amalgamation of rainbow colours, thundering clouds and whistling breeze. Sweet-scented all over, soft when needed and imposing when required. This voice was dubbed for many characters in the Kashmiri feature film’ Maenzraat’. The Kashmiri version of this film was directed by Pran Kishore Kaul. This feature film received ‘Silver Peacock’. The stage adaptation of poet Dina Nath Nadim’s opera ‘Bombur ta Yemberzal ‘ was superbly directed by him and shown to the Russian delegation in December 1955 in Srinagar. The Russian delegation included Marshal Bulganin and Nikita Khrushchev. He also directed the stage adaptation of ‘Vitasta’ opera scripted by Dina Nath Nadim. The opera was performed in various cities of the country and it won rave reviews in print media everywhere. So happened with 'Piya Baaj Pyala ‘ and ‘ Himalaya Ke Chashme’ that he directed. He started the annual ‘Jashn e Tamseel’ festival for radio dramas. Many Kashmiri playwrights touched heights of popularity through the radio plays that he produced or directed. Many Kashmiri radio dramas featured in the Akaashwani awards. As a presenter, he is endowed with a rich imagination to do anything and everything that is required to create a good drama, a good script, and an unsurpassed production. A perfectionist to the core, he remains a nice and cultured human being for all who happen to come close to him.


Writing is another field wherein Pran Kishore Kaul has excelled. His Kashmiri novel. ‘Sheen Ta Vatta Podh’ won him the best book award from the Jammu And Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture And Languages. This novel also won him the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award. This novel is based on Gujjars and Bakerwals with Characters like Raj Wali Khan, Reshma Qamroo, Peera, Laali, Maaja, Nooran Bibi, Laal Khan, Mastaan Khan and Zorawar. Raj Wali Khan and Reshma are central characters in this wonderful novel. If you read the novel, you are bound to get surprised as to how he acquired such in-depth knowledge of the life, customs and traditions of Gujjars and Bakerwals. Balraj Sahni, his friend and well-known Hindi cinema actor was interested in making a film on this novel and also wanted to play the role of Raj Wali Khan. He also authored some more books like, Gul Gulshan Gulfaam, The Zoon of the Saffron Fields, Radio Kashmir and My Days in Broadcasting, ‘Sheen- Snow And The Bridle Path and a monograph on his lifelong friend and artist G R Santosh.


Pran Kishore Kaul remains a school of excellence in many areas like broadcasting, radio drama, stage acting, scriptwriting, cinematography, production, direction, special effects, film acting, painting, and writing. His affable mannerism, crystal-clear integrity and dynamic outlook endeared him to a vast circle of friends that included Prabhat Mukerji, and actor Tom Alter. He is a connoisseur of music, dance and poetry. Name any segment of fine arts, literature and mass communication, Pran Kishore has put his imprints and added his contribution directly or indirectly. Pran Kishore could have been another Abbas Kiarostami had he moved out and joined films. Like Kiarostami, the celebrated filmmaker from Iran, Pran Kishore’s scripts, line of direction and presentation are always rooted in the ground and the content has something deeper to convey. And had he had done so, a generation of stage artists, writers and actors from Kashmir, whom he helped to grow, would have been denied his help and guidance.

Post-retirement, Pran Kishore Kaul scripted some popular TV serials like GUL GULSHAN GULFAAM (based on his Novel by the same title), SAAYE DEVDAAR KE and JUNOON apart from many other assignments that he completed to perfection. He also set up his own production house known as PRAGAASH PRODUCTIONS. Along with his dance-drama troupe, he went to many places including Hong Kong spreading the fragrance of the grand culture of Kashmir. A galaxy of dancers, singers and musicians from Kashmir were associated with this production troupe prominent being Ali Mohammad Sheikh, Kishen Ji Langoo, Mrs Prerna Jailkhani, Dalip Langoo, Saleha and many more. About Gul Gulshan Gulfam, Prem Krishen  ( son of veteran actor Prem Nath and co-producer of the TV serial ) says this:-

"My father desired to make something based on Kashmir which he loved intensely. And we made Gul Gulshan Gulfam. Pran Kishore wrote a wonderful script that gave a total feel of Kashmir. He also made some good suggestions that added to the popularity of the serial.”




   ( Pran Ji shooting Kashmiri feature film Maenzraat at some outdoor location near Tangmarg  Kashmir )


 ( A memorable photograph of  The Radio Kashmir Team .. Pran ji, Bashir Butt , Pushker Bhan , Quaiser Qalandhar ,Ali Mohd lone , Manohar Prothi, Jagan  Nath Saqi ,Kamal Ahmed Siddique, Som Nath Sadhu , Mohd sultan Pandit and many more  )


                                  ( Pran ji with GyanPeeth Awaedee Kashmiri Poet Prof. Rehman Raahi  )
                    ( Pran ji with Pushkar Bhan  a talented actor and writer who wrote the most popular  Hero Machama and Sindhbaad Machama series for the Radio Kashmir   )
                                                        ( Pran Ji with Ustaad Bismillah Khan )                   

          ( L To R Pran Kishore , His daughter , Broadcaster Uma Khosla and Pran ji's wife Late Shanta kaul )
                                                              ( Pran Kishore )
  Remembering his childhood   days  Pran Kishore Kaul informs this:-

“” In 1943, a play named NEELAM was staged in S P College in which I and Qaiser Qalandhar acted . For this play , Prof.Raja Mohd Maqbool Changed my name from Pran Nath Koul to Pran Kishore . That day onwards , I remained Pran Kishore . I was born at Mallapora,  Habba Kadal in  Srinagar  city . I have clear memories of Kashmir during those days. The Jabri schools, poverty , simplicity and then an aircraft hovering over the sky and landing in Srinagar . Kashmiris coming out on roads and looking towards the sky . The funny Ladishaah song created for this strange phenomenon happening over Kashmir’s sky ,

' Havaai jahaaz yeli aav Mulk e Kashmir 
Yimuvv Vuchh timav korr Toba Taqseer
Godeineythh khoat taathh Taraakh Wazir 
Athhuss kyaathh Aaeissus Natchaan jejeer' 

“ When the first aircraft flew over Kashmir ,
Every one who saw it exclaimed “Oh God ! save us “
It was Taraak wazir who first boarded this aircraft 
With a dancing Hookah in his hand.|”

 I vividly remember the day when electric Bulb was switched on for the first time in our house in Srinagar city and the benefits of electricity were made known to us .The electric power for the same was generated by Mohra Power  House .Prior to that , Maharaja’s Palace was only connected to electric power .There used to be a turbine based Mini Power House on Jhelum bank near the present day old secretariat that would supply electricity to Maharja’s Palace .This place is still known as Bijli Ghar. Present generation can not visualize how happy people were with this electric connection that was provided to them.

People had no wrist watches or clocks . Just the deafening sound of a canon fired from Hari Parbat fort made you to believe that it was 12 noon. At 9 pm ,the city dwellers were informed about the time when the electricity was slowly dimmed and finally switched off in the entire city . It was immediately restored .I vividly remember how for the first time , city dwellers were supplied water from Harwan reservoir through a well laid out system of pipes .Water Works Department was started during the rule of Maharaja Partap Singh and it took them some years to complete this task.Once the work with regard to building of the reservoir and laying of the pipes in the city was completed , an estimate about the expenditure was provided to Maharaja . The Maharaja was also advised by the British engineer incharge to levy tax on the people of the city and recover the expenditure . To this suggestion Maharaja replied .' Water is God’s gift to humanity . You mean I should sell this and earn Money ? No .' And free came the drinking water to the city dwellers for the first time through taps from Sarbandh at Harwan."

( L to R G R Santosh , Pran kishore and Ali Mohd lone )
( Sh M S Pandit IAS  looking at Pran ji's paitings )
                                                          ( A painting by Pran Kishore Kaul )
                                                                ( A painting by Pran Kishore Kaul )
                                                           ( A painting by Pran Kishore Kaul)


                                          ( Above 8 sketches done by Pran Kishore Kaul )


Not many of us know that Pran Kishore Kaul is a good painter. To this author, he said:-


 “Once Shanta Ji, my wife told me to exit from all activities and focus only on painting. It couldn't be that way as other things were destined to happen even though the painting had been my first love. If anyone asks me what gives me more satisfaction, I would straightway say painting. I also like to enter the kitchen and cook at times. Yes, the non-vegetarian dishes of Kashmiris. Painting could be a result of my close association with G R Santosh. I tell you Santosh would also cook Kashmiri dishes and feel proud in entertaining his friends. Ali Mohammad Lone, I and Santosh would often cook and eat together Kashmiri non-vegetarian dishes. We would do it on many Sundays in Bani Prassun Batacharya’s government quarter. Bansi was a sculptor who was also a technical expert engaged by the Government of J&K”


A widely travelled man, Pran Kishore remains an encyclopedia of knowledge on the art, culture and history of Kashmir. Presently settled in Pune, he leads a somewhat lonely life after the death of his wife and lifelong companion, Shanta Kaul. Shanta ji was also a broadcaster par excellence. A documentary on his life and work was produced by Sahitya Akademi recently. He has also been conferred the Padama-shri award in 2018. When this author spoke to him some days back ( in March 2023 ), he was busy editing his documentary on Saint Gopinath Ji of Kashmir. He loves Ghalib and Rumi and quotes them often in his conversation. I end this brief write-up on Pran Kishore Kaul with two lines from Rumi’s verse:-

 “Goyand ke Ishq aghebat taskin ast

Aval shor ast va aghebat tamkin ast”……..Rumi


(They say you will find relief at last in love

First, it’s bitter, but finally, it’s sweet.)


( Avtar Mota )                                       

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