Prem Nath was born on 21st November, 1926 in Peshawar. His family moved to Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh after partition, and later on to Bombay. Premnath played mostly negative and supporting roles throughout his career although he did play leading roles in a few films in the 1950s.
Prem Nath made his debut in the film Daulat Ke Liye in 1947. It didn’t do too well. He was then cast in Raj Kapoor’s first film Aag (1948) which was a great film. In 1949, Prem Nath again worked with Raj Kapoor in his film Barsaat which became a blockbuster. Its music is even popular today, which comprised of tracks like ‘Hawa mein udta jaye…’ and ‘Jiya beqaraar hai…’. Prem Nath worked in a couple of films with Dev Anand, viz. Hindustan Hamara (1950) and Aaram (1951). Both didn’t do too well. He then appeared in a couple of more flops like Sagai (1951) and Buzdil (1951), after which he featured in the hit film Badal (1951), alongside Madhubala. Appearing in a song in Raj Kapoor’s blockbuster film Awaara (1951) gained Prem Nath more popularity. In 1952, he starred in Aan, along with Dilip Kumar. The movie was a huge hit. The same year, he had two other releases, Anjaam and Saqi. Both the movies failed to do well. In the next few years, most of the films in which Prem Nath featured had flopped. These included his films with Bina Rai (his wife now) such as Aurat (1953), Hamara Watan (1956) and Samundar (1956), besides other films like Anjaan (1956), Forty Days (1959), Jagir (1959), Gambler (1960), and Rustom Sohrab (1963). Prem Nath finally got a hit in 1965 with Sikandar E Azam, also starring Prithviraj Kapoor and Dara Singh. He then featured in the Shammi Kapoor-starrer Teesri Manzil (1966) which was a hit. The same year, the historical film Amrapali (1966) released, which unfortunately flopped. Baharon Ke Sapne (1967), starring Rajesh Khanna and Asha Parekh in pivotal roles, was critically acclaimed. Prem Nath also featured in Mahua (1969), whose music was a hit. Dev Anand’s Johny Mera Naam (1970) became a blockbuster, while Pushpanjali (1970) faired below average. Dev Anand’s Tere Mere Sapne (1971) was a good film as well. In 1972, Prem Nath had a few hits with Gora Aur Kala, Beimaan and Raja Jani, while his other flicks Mom Ki Gudiya, Wafaa and Shor failed to do well. In 1973, he starred in Rishi Kapoor’s and Dimple Kadpadia’s debut film Bobby which became a blockbuster. His other film Loafer (1973) also was a hit. 1974 also was a good year for Prem Nath. He featured in hits like Amir Garib and Pran Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaye, and in the blockbuster film Roti Kapada Aur Makaan. He also appeared in Chattan Singh, with Vinod Mehra, which had flopped. Manoj Kumar-starrer Sanyasi (1975) became a blockbuster. Dharmatma (1975) too was a hit, while Dharam Karam (1975) faired below average. Prem Nath had many releases in 1976 as well. Manoj Kumar’s Dus Numbri became a blockbuster, while Dev Anand’s Jaaneman faired below average. Nagin was a huge hit. Kalicharan and Aap Beati also did well. 1977 was a year of flops with Prem Nath featuring in films like Chandi Sona, Darinda, Jadu Tona, Yaaron Ka Yaar and Chala Murari Hero Banne. In 1978, Kaala Aadmi and Shalimar had flopped, while Heeralal Pannalal became a hit. Rajkumar Kholi’s Muqabla (1979) was an average affair, while the multi-starrer Jaani Dushman (1979) was a huge hit. Gautam Govinda (1979) and Ahinsa (1979) failed to do well. Prem Nath also featured in Karz (1980), starring Rishi Kapoor and Tina Munim, which was a hit. Subhash Ghai’s Krodhi (1981) was a flop, while Manmohan Desai’s Desh Premee (1982) did average business. Prem Nath’s last film was Hum Dono (1985), starring Rajesh Khanna and Hema Malini. The film was a good family entertainer.
Prem Nath is the brother of actors Rajendra Nath and Narendra Nath. He married actress Bina Rai with whom he had two sons, actor Prem Krishen and Kailash Nath (Monty). He is the grandfather of actress Akanksha Malhotra. His sister Krishna married Raj Kapoor. He was also a family friend of actress Asha Parekh. Prem Nath also appeared in an episode of the American television series “Maya” in 1967. He even featured in an American film titled “Kenner” opposite former football player turned actor Jim Brown, in 1969. Prem Nath was also an army man. He died of a heart attack on 3rd November, 1992 at the age of 65.