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Queen of small screen, Pranna Shangloo battles penury; local charities line up for help

KM/Special Arrangement

Srinagar: Some call her ‘Durga Khote’ of Kashmir and some describe her as ‘Lalita Pawar’ of the small screen. For Kashmiris, she is known for her iconic mother roles in dramas that were telecast on Doordarshan Kendra Srinagar in the eighties.

Enter 2021, Pranna Shangloo, 65, is living in penury. With no source of income, she is literally at the mercy of local philanthropists and charity organizations.

Pranna was once one of the busiest actors in Kashmir. Her good screen presence, ability to enter into another character, understanding human behaviour, and dialogue delivery made her a household figure in Kashmir. 

Luck, however, had other things in store. After the death of her husband in 2009, she was left alone. Work started drying up. Coupled with the apathy of fellow artists and the government, Pranna was left to fend for herself.

KM/Special Arrangement

“Nobody came forward for help. Except for my daughter, local philanthropists, and some charity organizations, nobody came to my rescue. I am thankful to local charities which helped me a lot,” Pranna told The Kashmir Monitor.

Hailing from Chotta Bazar in Srinagar, she was married to a banker. Since her husband was working in a cooperative bank, she was not entitled to any family pension after her death. 

Pranna was among few Kashmiri pandits who did not migrate at the onset of militancy in 1990. Later, she sold off her house at Chotta Bazar and bought a new one at Chadoora.

Visibly weak, she still remembers the hay days when she ruled the showbiz in Kashmir. “I have lost count of the dramas I have acted in. The list is huge. Arin Mael, Habba Khatoon, and Rasool Mir are few dramas that come to my mind. Not only Kashmiri, but I have also worked in Urdu dramas as well. These were very popular,” she said.

Now at the twilight of her life, she is suffering from different ailments.  Such is her condition that she is struggling to buy medicine.

“Cultural Academy was paying some financial grant some years ago. I received assistance for two years. Later they said the scheme has been shelved. Doordarshan still owes me Rs 7000. I remain very ill. I have to consult doctors. For some time I was putting up at rented accommodation and my daughter was bearing all expenditure,” she said.

Ironically, fellow artists and producers too have turned their back on her. “Some producers helped me when my husband was ill. Later nobody came forward. I hope the government will realize my plight and come to my rescue,” she said.

J&K Radio and Doordarshan Drama Artists, Freelance Producers and Directors Association, an apex body of artists, said all professionals are out of work since 2010.

“I am talking of professional artists who were solely dependent on creative work. Some artists were government employees. They retired from services and are getting pensions. Professional artists are out of work since 2010. The situation is really bad,” said Tariq Javid, president of the Association.