Never met a man as good as Prem Nazir in my life: 'Vellarikka Pattanam' director Thomas Burleigh

Prem Nazir, Thomas Burleigh
'Vellarikka Patanam' released in 1985. Photos: Movie still, Onmanorama

Thirty four years after his death, actor Prem Nazir continues to be remembered with the same love and affection he commanded during his lifetime. Apart from his onscreen brilliance, the actor was also generally known for his big heart.

Mattanchery native and 'Vellarikka Pattanam' director Thomas Burleigh, who has also acted in a few Malayalam films, remembers Prem Nazir as the nicest people he has ever met. Thomas, in a recent interview with Onmanorama, had shared his experience directing the cultural icon for the very first time in his life.

“Surya movies wanted me to direct a film with Prem Nazir. As you would know, he was a very big name during those days. As per their request, I went and met the actor. We decided to do the film together,” remembers Thomas.

He reiterates that Prem Nazir was a very good man. “I have never met a man as good as him in my life. In those days, he was charging Rs 1 lakh for films, which was a very big amount then. He told me to give the amount to his tailor whose wife was sick. The tailor's house had also been mortgaged. He acted for free in the movie,” said Thomas, who was also part of the first musical hit in Malayalam titled 'Thirumala'.

“Finally, I had to go searching for the tailor,” adds Thomas with a smile. He believes that Prem Nazir was interested in doing a film with him because he was an actor. “He knew that an actor was making a movie and he wanted to help me out,” adds Thomas.

Just like Thomas, several people have spoken about Prem Nazir's good heartedness. Director Alleppey Ashraf once had once narrated an interesting story about Prem Nazir, in an interview to Manorama. According to him, the legendary actor had bought the Blue Star building at Valluvarkkottam in Chennai. Prem Nazir had paid Rs 25 lakh in advance after fixing the prize at Rs 65 lakh. According to the agreement, the registration would take place after six months. But the area witnessed a real estate boom during the next six months. The market prize of Blue Star building and the land almost doubled. The owner changed his mind about selling the building and the matter went to court. "The High Court ruled in favour of Prem Nazir, but the owner became ill and was admitted to hospital.

When Prem Nazir visited the man in the hospital, the man said, "Nazir sir, save me. I have three girl children.” Nazir told something to the family and left. Prem, according to Alleppey Ashraf, had returned the building to him.

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