Remembering Prem Nath — the villain, the Bollywood legend

Known best for his iconic villains in movies like Karz (1980) and Sanyasi (1975), Prem Nath struck terror through his roles in Bollywood cinema during the 1970s and 1980s. But the legendary actor’s versatility also saw him don comedic roles. Remembering the actor on his 25th 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 with Kaalicharan at 8:30am and followed by KabeelaGautam GovindaJohny Mera Naam every Saturday after that.

To celebrate this special initiative, Zee Classic will showcase a biopic created by his son, Monty Nath, titled ‘Amar Prem Nath’ every Saturday at 11:30 AM followed by a popular Prem Nath movie immediately after.

The special feature ‘Amar Prem Nath’ boasts of rare unseen interviews of Shammi Kapoor, Shashi Kapoor, Randhir Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor, Subhash Ghai, Shatrughan Sinha, Vinod Khanna, Amrish Puri and Dharmendra amongst others as they regale over their memories of acting besides Prem Nath.

The series will showcase the range of roles Prem Nath played with style in 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 lead. However, despite over 75 movies to his credit, Prem Nath preferred to thrill audiences as an antagonist.

The special feature-biopic, Amar Prem Nath is a tribute to the actor by his son Monty Nath, himself a filmmaker. The biopic aims to retell his father’s journey in the film industry, and his rise as India’s much-loved villain.

Monty Nath had this to say about his father, “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 everyone. I would like to 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 clan – 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.”

Another legend from the Kapoor dynasty, 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.”

In the special feature, actor Rishi Kapoor reminisced about Prem Nath’s role as Jack Breganza in the movie ‘Bobby’ and the lengths Nath took to get his character to not just portray right but even look right.

Other stalwarts featured in Amar Prem Nath include interviews with Shatrughan Sinha, Dharmendra, Dilip Kumar, Manoj Kumar, Prem Chopra and Subhash Ghai.

Along with these celebrities, the special feature 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.

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.

 

 

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