NEW DELHI–The government of India on Monday announced that nine film celebrities will be conferred the country’s prestigious civilian honours. Southern megastar Rajinikanth will get the Padma Vibhushan while late India-born British actor Saeed Jaffrey has been posthumously named for the Padma Shri.
The Padma Vibhushan honour has also been reserved for media baron Ramoji Rao of the Ramoji Group, which owns, among other things, film production facility, the Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu sent out a congratulatory note on Twitter, saying: “My hearty congratulations to superstar Rajinikanth, Ramoji Rao garu and others who will be receiving #PadmaVibhushan awards.”
Veteran actor Anupam Kher and singer Udit Narayan will be conferred the Padma Bhushan; actors Ajay Devgn and Priyanka Chopra, and filmmakers Nila Madhab Panda, S.S. Rajamouli and Madhur Bhandarkar will get the Padma Shri honour.
Rajinikanth, who enjoys a massive fan following, tweeted: “Feeling deeply honoured for being awarded the Padma Vibhushan. My heartfelt thanks to my dear fans, well-wishers and friends for all the wishes.”
Lovingly called ‘Thalaivar’ by his fans, the actor has spent over four decades in filmdom and is a phenomena by himself. His family is equally excited that he has been named for the country’s second highest civilian award.
His daughter Soundarya tweeted: “Proud daughter! Appa is now Padma Vibhushan Shri Rajinikanth”, while his son-in-law Dhanush, who’s married to his second daughter Aishwarya, wrote: “Padma Vibhushan for Thalaivar… SUPER thrilled, SUPER proud SUPER day can’t get bigger.”
Equally excited are the other celebrities who have been chosen for the honours.
National Award winning actor Anupam, a cinema and theatre veteran who has over three decades of experience, shared: “Happy, humbled and honoured to share that I have been awarded the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India. Greatest news of my life. #JaiHind.”
The other Padma Bhushan awardee is Udit Narayan, who has been entertaining listeners with his melodious and soulful voice for over 30 years now. He’s best known for his romantic tracks like “Pehla nasha”, “Jadoo teri nazar”, “Mehndi laga ke rakhna”, “Dil to pagal hai” among several others.
Bhandarkar, best known for his films “Chandni Bar”, “Page 3”, “Traffic Signal” and “Fashion”, is “really grateful and honoured” to be awarded the Padma Shri.
“I accept it with all humility, this great respect bestowed by my government and my country,” he tweeted.
In the Arts category, other Padma Vibhushan winners are classical dancer Yamini Krishnamurthi and classical vocalist Girija Devi.
Theatre director Heisnam Kanhailal from Manipur and sculpture artist Ram V. Sutar are among the Padma Bhushan awardees.
Classical dancer Prathibha Prahlad, folk musicians Bhikhudan Gadhvi, Mamta Chandrakar and Malini Awasthi, textile designer Sribhas Chandra Supakar, classical musician Pandit Tulsidas Borkar, classical vocalist Soma Ghosh, folk artist M. Venkatesh Kumar, folk dancer Gulabi Sapera and theatre artiste Naresh Chander Lal have been named for the Padma Shri honour.
Rajasthan’s classical music icon Prakash Chand Surana has been named for a posthumous Padma Shri.