Prem Nath was a synonym of terror on the celluloid during the 70s and 80s for his iconic villainous performance in Karz (1980), the way he communicated by tapping on glass and the spine-chilling saint in Sanyasi (1975). The legendary actor, Prem Nath’s versatility bloomed into multiple genres – be it, being a dreadful villain or a formidable comedian for that matter.
Well, since the month of November happens to be the month of his birth & death anniversary, Zee Classic is here to dedicate with its proposition Woh Zamana Kare Deewana, 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, titled ‘Amar Prem Nath’ every Saturday. Amar Prem Nath boasts of never seen before rare interviews of Dharmendra, Vinod Khanna, Manoj Kumar, Dilip Kumar, Shammi Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor, Jeetendra, Shatrughan Sinha, Subhash Ghai, Amrish Puri amongst many others.
With over 150 movies to his credit, Prem Nath experimented with various style in each of his movies. While other actors preferred to encash their charm, despite having his chocolate looks Prem Nath refused to opt for main lead. Rather, he tried to showcase his mettle in comic as well as negative role. Prem Nath shot to fame with Raj Kapoor’s directorial debut Aag in 1948 as its parallel lead. However, he preferred to thrill audiences as an antagonist.
The special feature, Amar Prem Nath is a tribute to the legendary actor by his son Monty Nath. A filmmaker himself, the feature is a retelling of his father’s journey in the film industry, and his rise as India’s much-loved villain.
Commenting on the airing of this feature, Monty Nath said, “Even in his time, Dad was a visionary. His approach towards movies was very different. He didn’t want to be the hero, he just wanted to entertain everyone. He soon realized that playing the antagonist brought him real thrill. Amar Prem Nath is my way of showing the world what kind of person my father was, and I am really thrilled to be able to share this film with the younger generation and everyone. I would like to sincerely thank Zee Classic for celebrating my father’s life journey!”
A little-known fact is that the icon was the maternal uncle of the Kapoor family – Randhir Kapoor, Rajiv Kapoor and Rishi Kapoor.
Reminiscing the time spent with his maternal-uncle, Randhir Kapoor said, “I am very honoured, elated and thrilled that Zee Classic is airing a movie on my uncle, Prem Nath. There never was and will never be a replacement, at least not yet, to the kind of entertainer my uncle was. The fondest memory of my uncle was working with him in ‘Bobby’. I have done several movies with him but this one in particular is very close to my heart. As an uncle, he was very loving and extremely fond of me. I will always be grateful to him.”
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.”
Along with these celebrities, the documentary will also feature inputs from other celebrated actors who have spoken about the actor at length. These include actors Shammi Kapoor, Amrish Puri, Ajit, Pran, Vinod Khanna, Dara Singh, Feroz Khan, Beena Rai, Sunil Dutt, Om Prakash, etc.
Schedule for the Prem Nath Film Festival
This festival celebrates the legendary actor Prem Nath, by showcasing 4 of his most famous movies (Kaalicharan, Johny Mera Naam, Kabeela & Gautam Govinda) lined up for each Saturday, followed by a showcase of a special documentary series, “Amar Prem Nath“.
|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|