Be it the iconic villain who communicated by tapping on glass in Karz (1980) or the terrifying saint in Sanyasi (1975), when one heard the name Prem Nath, terror struck every house during the 70s and 80s. The legendary actor, Prem Nath’s versatility saw him don many hats – he was a frightening villain and a formidable comedian. 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, 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, Jeeetendra, Shatrughan Sinha, Subhash Ghai, Amrish Puri amongst many others.
With over 150 movies to his credit, Prem Nath showcased a different style with every movie. While many actors prefer to become heroes, Prem Nath opted to be the dreaded villain. 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 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.”
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, Ajit, Pran, Vinod Khanna, Dara Singh, Feroz Khan, Beena Rai, Sunil Dutt, Om Prakash, etc.
So, 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 2017.