The big theaters always welcomed him with claps and hopes. For those three hours, most of the time the people would not like him for the role he was playing on the screen (mostly the central antagonist) and that’s what made him a legend in his work. People used to hate him on screen to love him off screen. Yes, when he used to tap the glass in Karz, the audience in front felt the terror and that was his aura. He was none other than the legendary actor Prem Nath.
In the 70s and 80s, this name was good enough to instill the feel of terror among the people. He was a frightening villain and a formidable comedian. On the screen, he was a actor who played versatile characters to entertain the people with his acting skills and comic timings. While many actors preferred to be heroes or the central protagonist, he chose to become the opposite because he realized that he love to thrill people through the roles on the negative shades. With over 150 movies in his bag, he played all the different kinds of personas to engross the audience in the plot completely. He made the people to feel like they were also the part of story that was being played on the screen. Prem Nath shot to fame with Raj Kapoor’s directorial debut Aag in 1948 as its parallel lead. And after that there were many blog busters in his bag.
Dedicating the month of November (which happens to be the month of his birth & death anniversary), Zee Classic, with its proposition Woh Zamana Kare Deewana, will air a four-week festival titled ‘Prem Nath Film Festival’ starting 11th November 2017.
As a part of this special initiative, Zee classic will showcase an iconic Prem Nath film followed by a special feature created by his son, Monty Nath, a filmmaker himself, title ‘Amar Prem Nath’ every Saturday. Through this special feature film, he wants to recreate the special moments played by his father back in time and brief his journey in the film industry as India’s much loved villain. He wants to share the classics of his father to the younger generation and others to show the kind of person his father was.
Amar Prem Nath boasts of never seen before rare interviews of Dharmendra, Vinod Khanna, Manoj Kumar, Dilip Kumar, Shammi Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor, Jeeetendra, Shatrughan Sinha, Subhash Ghai, Amrish Puri amongst many others.
A very few people outside the film fraternity knows that he was the maternal uncle of the Kapoor family. His sister was married to Raj Kapoor.
This documentary will feature inputs from various celebrated actors who have worked with Prem Nath or is somewhere related to him and had known him personally. They shared their memories with the legendary actor and spoke about him at length. These include actors Shammi Kapoor, Amrish Puri, Ajit, Pran, Vinod Khanna, Dara Singh, Feroz Khan, Beena Rai, Sunil Dutt, Om Prakash, etc.
Shashi Kapoor said, “He would work as an extra for Rs.75. His lunch usually comprised of
sugarcane juice and ground nuts. I still remember that he and my elder brother, Raj, would travel in
a rickshaw with loud speakers to publicize the play in small towns. Raj Kapoor and Prem Nathji were
not only related but also enjoyed each other’s company; they were young and full of enthusiasm.
They would say, ‘Come on people, come watch the play presented by Prithvi theatres with famous
actors – Raj Kapoor and Prem Nath’. They would seldom mention the name of Prithviraj Kapoor.
After getting his first break in the movie Ajit, he had to return to where it all began. When RK films
was being conceptualized, it comprised of the theatre group members like Shankar Jai Kishan, Ram
Ganguly and Prem Nath himself.”
Rishi Kapoor said, “I haven’t seen any actor emote so well in my entire career. When the tailor
brought the clothes for the role of Jack Breganza in the movie ‘Bobby’, Prem Nath uncle looked
extremely disappointed and said that it wouldn’t go well with the character. In a huff, he stepped into
the car and drove off. Everybody on the sets thought that he was upset, until he returned an hour
later. He was carrying a bag with a very old suit of his and said, ‘This is the suit that will go well with
the character of Jack Breganza’. To essay the role of Jack Breganza, he lived among the fishermen
to learn and understand the way they live and behave and observe the way they dress. He would
really immerse himself into the character he was playing.”
Shatrughan Sinha said, “I have seen many of his films and admired his work like Barsaat, Rustom
Sohrab and Aan have been terrific films. What made him stand out was that whatever he did, he was
original. He was a very daring, authoritative powerful and an excellent man. He never aped anyone
and neither was he jealous of any actor, in fact even the greatest actors would feel inferior to him.
They say nobody is indispensable but with Prem Nathji that holds no truth.”
Dharmendra said, “His manliness was often the talk of the town and as college students we would
always say that one should have a physique like Prem Nathji. Prem Nathji would do his stunts
himself and never used a body double. For the fight scene with him in the movie ‘Loafer’, he asked
me not to use a stunt man and that we would do the fight scene ourselves. I agreed, although I was
afraid that he is older to me and may get hurt.”
Dilip Kumar said, “He had the facility to do many different roles. Everybody was elated that Bina Rai
and Prem Nath got married.”
Manoj Kumar said, “He played the role of a villain opposite his closest friend. The villain’s role over
shadowed the hero’s role and left a lasting impression. He was not jack of all traits but the master of
all traits. He knew 72 raagas. In the film industry there is no actor who even knew 12 raagas.”
Parikshit Sahni said, “He had written three books in Hindi and English. One was titled ‘Tears of the
Heart’, and in Hindi he had written ‘Shraddhanjali’. The books reflected his maturity.”
Subhash Ghai said, “He had perfect timing and a fabulous knowledge of music. He had become so
famous that producers would shiver at the thought of approaching him. Prem Nathji has played a
very big role in my career. For my first movie, ‘Kaalicharan’, I did not know whom to cast for the role
of the Inspector General, which was the most difficult role of the movie. My director refused to speak
to Prem Nathji and asked me to convince him. My director also said that he may not like to work with
a newcomer. After narrating the script to him at 4am, he shook hands with me and said that the
movie will be a super hit and that’s when I asked him to essay the character of IG.”
Prem Chopra said, “He was highly knowledgeable; you could discuss any topic with him. He was a
very dedicated and devoted actor. Whenever given a role, he would research thoroughly to
understand that character.”
Monty Nath feels really privileged to get this opportunity of making a special feature film dedicated to his hard-working and respected father and he sincerely thanks Zee Classic which is celebrating his father’s life journey.
Schedule for the Prem Nath Film Festival
|11-Nov||Saturday||8:30 AM||Kaalicharan||11:30 AM||Amar Prem Nath Part 1|
|18-Nov||Saturday||8:30 AM||Kabeela||11:30 AM||Amar Prem Nath Part 2|
|25-Nov||Saturday||8:30 AM||Gautam Govinda||11:30 AM||Amar Prem Nath Part 3|
|2-Dec||Saturday||8:00 AM||Johny Mera Naam||11:30 AM||Amar Prem Nath Part 4|
To reminisce Prem Nath’s incredible film journey, tune in to watch ‘Prem Nath Film Festival’ followed by a special feature Amar Prem Nath at 11:30 AM on Zee Classic every Saturday starting 11th November.