You wanted low budget, commercial movies?-Prem Naseer doled out 100’s of them, over 700 to give a ballpark figure. Cine Goers loved him, especially women who loved the tear jerker family dramas he acted in with Sheela, Sharada and Jayabharati.
If Sathyan was the upper-crust elitist’s accomplished actor, Prem Naseer was everybody’s hero, a true blue collar working class actor, who tirelessly churned out movies after movies for the rich and poor, the penniless farmers and the handrikshaw pullers, the coolies at the railway station and the expatriate malayalees, like my parents who moved to northern part of India looking for work and a better life. He romanced the heroines, beat up the bad guys, played the unemployed union activist, dedicated son and rich spoiled brat with a soft heart, with equal aplomb.
He made a good team with Adoor Bhasi as the comedic sidekick. As a lead pair, Sheela acted with him in a record number of movies. In my eyes he was a true super star, remaining a top Malayalam film actor for many years spanning from early sixties to the early seventies. if Amitabh was my favorite Hindi actor for his splendid performance in Zanjeer and Deeewar, Prem Naseer was my favorite Malayalam actor for all the cheap laughs and stunts, melodious songs ( sung by Yesudas), and family drama.
Naseer sir, thank you from the bottom of my heart for bringing 3 hours of fantasy, every now and then which otherwise was a somewhat forgettable childhood, dealing with the anguish of blue collar working class parents, antagonistic surroundings and a general sense of not belonging.
*Originally posted at passionforcinema.com/cletterman*