Prem Nazir was born on 7th April 1926 and his actual name is Abdul Khader. However, due to his exceptional work in Malayalam cinema, he came to be known by his stage name - Prem Nazir. He was given the of Nithya Haritha Nayakan, i.e. Ever Green Hero, of Malayalam cinema. He is a record holder of Guinness World Records - one for acting in a lead role for 725 movies and the second for starring alongside the same heroine in 130 movies. Apart from these, he holds other records such as acting opposite 80 heroines and starring in 39 films, all of which released in the same year. He is popular for his work in Azhakulla Saleena, Nadhi, Dhwani, Anubhavangal Paalichakal, Murappennu, Padayottam, etc. Although he tried to join politics too, his career in that remained unsuccessful.
He was awarded the Padma Bhushan Award and Padma Shri Award in 1983. He was born in Chirayinkeezhu, which is a princely state of Travancore and is now a part of Kerela. His father is Akkode Shahul Hamid and mother, Asuma Beevi. He has two brothers and six sisters. He completed his basic education from Kadinamkulam Lower Primary School, after which he attended Sri Chithiravilasam School. He attended college at SD College, Alappuzha, and SB College, Changanassery. He became a drama artist and gained experience in the field while he was studying.
He was named Prem Nazir in 1952, by Thikkurussi Sukumaran Nair on the sets of Prem's second film - Visappinte Vili. He made his debut in a play while he was still in college. The play was Merchant of Venice, and he played the character of Shylock. He then acted in his first movie in 1952 titled Marumakal. Visappinte Vili was his breakthrough into Indian cinema. He soon became the romantic hero of his time and industry. He was the first real superstar of Malayalam cinema, and he won over the hearts of the masses with his excellent performance. The continuance of mythology and devotion themes in films was also one of the reasons for his rise to fame.
He started taking up diverse roles in movies such as themes touching upon the social injustices done in the name of religion. 1956 to 1976 were the golden years of his rule over Malayalam cinema. He showcased his skill as a versatile actor with the film Irrutinte Athmavu in 1967; wherein he played the role of an imbecile. His golden period saw a lot of characters being brought to life by his acting. He played several historical characters as well Hindu deities such as Krishna, Ayyappa and Rama. Although he entered his old age in mid- 1970s through 1980 s, he did not retire completely. The year 1979 saw Prem Nazir in 39 films, which led to the making of a record. He eventually and voluntarily started taking only supporting roles in the 1980 s.
In 1981, he got to play a significant role in Vida Parayum Munpe. His role in the film won him the Kerela State Special Jury Award. CID series and Vadakanpaattu are the two main genres of films that Prem Nazir popularized. He played the role of James Bond-like protagonists in the CID investigative series. On the other hand, Vadakanpaattu was a series of movies based on folklore from Kerela.
Prem Nazir had three daughters and one son with his wife,Habeeba Beevi. Shanavas, his son, also tried acting in films, but he did not find the same success as his father. Prem Nawas, Nazir's brother, also acted in several films before he began producing films. Prem Nazir did not drink alcohol or indulged in smoking. He joined Indian National Congress to try his hand at politics but did not go too far with that. He was a social reformer and generally liked to help people out.
He donated a lot of money for the welfare of his hometown and had also written a book about the characters he played in his films. He passed away on 16th January 1989, owing to measles, viral fever and peptic ulcer. For his invaluable contribution to Malayalam cinema, there is a Prem Nazir Award category, initiated since 1982. He was also a member of the National Film Award jury. Even today, he is known as the most influential actor in the history of Malayalam cinema. He ruled the industry for over three and a half decades.