Rajendra Nath & Prem Nath

An excellent man, like precious metal, is in every way invariable; A villain, like the beams of a balance, is always varying, upwards and downwards. – John Locke

No quote is perhaps more apt on the celebrated brothers of Indian Cinema, Prem Nath and Rajendra Nath. While one was a villain so vile and a character so versatile, that you could strangle him or hug him as his role might be, the other had jovial tricks up his sleeve that could make you smile every time he was on screen. When they started their respective careers, none probably imagined that they would be so different on screen, no matter how similar in real.

The hero exits, enters the actor

Prem Nath in Sagai (1951)
Prem Nath in Sagai (1951)

Prem Nath was the first one to enter the bling world of Bombay, to try his hand as an actor. Needless to say, destiny had other plans for him. We can be just grateful that destiny had other plans for his versatile talents. After his debut under the wing of “showman” Raj Kapoor’s Aag, there was no looking back for this actor. He not only played critical supporting roles, but also was a severely menacing villain.

Who can forget the chubby and cuddly dad he played to the coy Dimple Kapadia in Bobby. When we look back, there is not a single role of Prem Nath that we could have imagined being performed by someone else. Be it the greedy Diwan of Raja Jaani, or the dangerous murderer of Johnny Mera Naam, or even the CBI Inspector of Nafrat, Prem Nath did justice to every role he played.

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Premnath with Madhubala in Badal (1951)

Follows the joker of hearts, with the heart of gold

Rajendra Nath, who was by then least interested in studies, quit college, and followed into the footsteps of elder brother Prem Nath, to take a plunge into the unknown world of Bollywood. However, he had to struggle to make up on his own in this world, where many talents went unnoticed every day. After a long period of struggle, he finally managed to brag a role alongside biggies like Shammi Kapoor and Asha Parekh, in the romantic comedy Dil Deke Dekho.

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He won many hearts and accolades for his portrayal as one of the suitors who try to woo the leading lady. Since then, there was no looking back for Rajendra Nath, who funny antics could lighten up the gravest of scenes, and fill the hall with laughter. Like Prem Nath, when we look back to his roles, we cannot imagine anyone but him filling those shoes, such is the impact that he left with his superb performances.

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Rajendra Nath with Shammi Kapoor

All good things and times do come to an end

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Prem Nath with Prem Chopra and Kid Abhishek Bachchan

Prem Nath did his last role in the movie Hum Dono, in 1985, whereas Rajendra Nath gave his last adieu to comedy in quite a few movies, in the year 1992, most popular being Bekhudi, which also marked the debut of Kajol. Alas, as they say, all good things and all good stints do come to an end, so was the long and fulfilled career of these two actor brothers. More or less, by that time the genre of comedy and villainy, both were going a major transition period, and the era of 70s was slowly coming to an end.

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B-town laughter kings -Mohan Choti, Johnny Walker, Mehmood, Rajendranath, Rashid Irani and Mukri

Adieus

Sadly, the year 1992 saw the demise of Prem Nath, one of the most gifted and multitalented actors Indian Cinema had ever witnessed. Rajendra Nath too, passed away in the year 2008, and with him, ended the legacy that both these brothers left behind, in the form of raw and pure talent. The respect that these legendary actors commanded could be known from the fact that almost the whole industry came together to pay their tributes, on their demise. In the world of cinema, the Nath brothers left a lasting impact.

They reached a height and carved a niche which no one could dream of achieving. In their respective genres, these were two gems, that have been lost now, and all that remains is the shine of their memories, lighting up the land of Indian Cinema, whenever their evergreen talent is played, and replayed, on screen.

 

Written By – Kadambari Srivastava

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