Superstar Rajinikanth and classical singer Girija Devi were today selected for Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian award, while Anupam Kher, Udit Narayan, Priyanka Chopra and Ajay Devgn are among other Padma honourees from Bollywood.
65-year-old Rajinikanth, one of the most celebrated actors of his generations with fans according him the status of a demi-god, is already a recipient of Padma Bhushan.
Responding to the announcement, his daughter Soundarya tweeted, “Proud daughter!!!!! Appa is now Padma vibhushan shri Rajinikanth.”
Since making his debut with K Balachander’s “Aboorva Ragangal” in 1975, the actor saw a steady rise to stardom, which continues even today. The Tamil superstar has also acted in Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Bengali films. His famous movies are “Thalapathi”, “Nallavanuku Nallavan”, “Sivaji” and “Enthiran” among many others.
Devi, 86, already a Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan recipient, is known as thumri queen for popularising the genre. She is also an exponent of khyal and tappa.
Kher, known for his outstanding character roles in a career spanning over three decades, will receive Padma Bhushan with Narayan, who ruled Bollywood playback singing in the ‘80s and ‘90s.
The “Saaransh” actor said he was “happy, humbled and honoured” to be recognised.
“Today the son of an exiled Kashmiri Pandit, who worked as a clerk in the forest department of a small town, has received the coveted Padma Bhushan in recognition of his hard work. Thank you my country,” Kher tweeted.
Both Kher and Narayan are already Padma Shri winners.
Actors Ajay Devgn and Priyanka Chopra, 33, have been named for Padma Shri awards, besides a posthumous Padma Shri for actor Saeed Jaffrey.
Devgn, a two-time National award winner, is known for his intense performances in films like “Zakhm”, “The Legend of Bhagat Singh”, “Omkara”, “Gangajal”, “Apaharan” and “Drishyam”.
“I feel deeply humbled yet elated to receive such honour from my own country. This announcement today makes it special for me when I’m filming abroad for my new film ‘Shivaay’. I’d like to acknowledge that Padma Samman puts an extra responsibility on me and I promise to serve my country for as long as I can,” Devgn, 46, said in a statement.
Priyanka, who won the National award for “Fashion”, has turned up critically acclaimed performances in movies like “Kaminey”, “Agneepath”, “Barfi!”, “Mary Kom” and “Bajirao Mastani”.
Jaffrey, who passed away last year, starred in as many as 100 Hindi films, including acclaimed projects like Satyajit Ray’s “Shatranj Ke Khiladi”, “Gandhi” and “My Beautiful Laundrette”.
The Padma awards, which are announced on the eve of the Republic Day, are conferred by the President at a function in Rashtrapati Bhawan in March/April every year.