From English teacher, to model, to beauty pageant winner, to film sensation, it has been an eventful journey for the Kalimpong-hailing beauty Prema Narayan. She was born on 4 April in 1955, the only child of a father who was a renowned singer and a businessman in Calcutta, and a mother who was a stage dancer. Attending boarding school at the age of 8, she studied at St. Joseph’s, Bombay, St. Thomas’, Calcutta, and graduated from Siddharth College, Bombay. She had been on stage since early childhood, having acted in two Bengali plays and three English comedies directed by her uncle.
Narayan started off as an English teacher in a convent school, before she opted for modelling. Participating in the Femina Miss India contest in 1971, she was crowned Femina Miss India World 1971. She went on to represent India at Miss World 1971, and was also appointed to represent India at Queen of the Pacific pageant held in Australia where she was crowned first runner-up.
With film offers coming her way after her beauty pageant win, she stepped into the industry. She won attention for her performance in films such as Maa Bahen Aur Biwi (1973) and Manzilein Aur Bhi Hain (1973). Making waves as a dancer, vamp and in supporting roles, she is known for films like Umrao Jaan (1981), Mangalsutra (1981) and Pataal Bhairavi (1985). She also garnered a Filmfare Award Best Supporting Actress nomination for her performance in Amanush (1975), which marked a distinct change from her usual westernized roles. She was last seen on screen in Yeh Basti Badmashon Ki (1999). Among the many films she acted in are Maa Bahen Aur Biwi (1974), Ponga Pandit (1975), Amanush (1975), Udhar Ka Sindur (1976), Karm (1977), Swarg Narak (1978), Surakshaa (1979), Jaaye To Jaaye Kahan (1980), Barsaat Ki Ek Raat (1981), Satte Pe Satta (1982), Kissi Se Na Kehna (1983), Baazi (1984), Bhago Bhut Aaya (1985), Angaarey (1986), 7 Saal Baad (1987), Pyaar Ka Mandir (1988), Joshilaay (1989), Thanedaar (1990), Mera Damad (1995), and Yeh Basti Badmashon Ki (1999).
On the personal front, Prema Narayan is married to Rajiv, a lawyer. The couple has two sons.