New Delhi: Actor Amitabh Bachchan was conferred with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award on Sunday at the Rashtrapati Bhavan for his outstanding contribution to the world of cinema. This is the highest honour of the film industry.

The prestigious award is named after the father of Indian cinema, Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, and it was instituted in 1969. The award is conferred by the government for outstanding contribution to the growth and development of Indian Cinema. The award is comprised of a Golden Lotus and a cash prize of Rs 10 lakh.

 

Amitabh Bachchan received congratulatory messages from Bollywood celebrities and fans when he was first nominated for the honours. Hema Malini, who had shared screen space with the veteran actor, said she cannot think of a more appropriate person to be nominated for the award. Scores of celebrities congratulated the actor, including son Abhishek Bachchan, Rajnikanth, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Anil Kapoor, Karan Johar, Riteish Deshmukh, Vivek Oberoi, Arjun Kapoor, Ayushmann Khurrana, Huma Qureshi, and Kartik Aaryan.

Last seen onscreen in Badla, the actor is a recipient of four National Film Awards for his roles in Agneepath, Black, Paa and Piku. He made his acting debut in 1969 with Saat Hindustani. He was honoured with Padma Vibhushan – the country’s second-highest civilian honour – in 2015.

Bachchan was earlier supposed to receive the honour at the National Film Awards ceremony last Monday, but the 77-year-old actor was unable to attend the event due to ill health.

Information & Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar had announced at the awards the Hindi cinema veteran will be bestowed with the honour in a special ceremony hosted by the President on Sunday. The Dadasaheb Phalke Award comprises a Swarna Kamal (Golden Lotus) medallion, a shawl, and a cash prize of Rs 10,00,000.

Bachchan attended the ceremony with his wife, veteran actor-MP Jaya Bachchan and son, actor Abhishek Bachchan. In a career spanning five decades, Bachchan has stayed at the top, surprising fans with memorable performances film after film. Born to renowned Hindi poet Harisvanshrai Bachchan and Teji Bachchan in 1942, Bachchan started his cinema journey as a voice-over artiste for Mrinal Sen’s Bengali film “Bhuvan Shome” and made his debut as an actor with “Saat Hindustani”, which was not a box office success.

After a series of flops, the actor finally tasted success in 1973 as a lead hero with Prakash Mehra’s action film “Zanjeer”. The movie established him as the ‘Angry Young Man’, a persona created by scriptwriters Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar, that embodied the frustrations and disappointments of that generation. He channelled the avatar in films such as “Deewar”, “Sholay”, “Mr Natwarlal”, “Lawaaris”, “Muqaddar Ka Sikandar”, “Trishul”, “Shakti” and “Kaala Patthar”. Bachchan tapped into his sensitive side in middle-of-the-road films like “Abhimaan”, “Millie”, “Kabhie Kabhie” and “Silsila”.

He also tried his hand at comedy and went to deliver hits like “Namak Halal”, “Satte Pe Satta”, “Chupke Chupke” and “Amar Akbar Anthony” among others. After a dip in his career during ’80s, came the iconic role of gangster Vijay Deenanath Chauhan in Mukul S Anand’s “Agneepath” (1990), which earned him his first National Film Award. The actor switched to character roles in 2000s with Yash Chopra’s “Mohabbatein” (2001), where he featured alongside Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai as a stern father.

He followed it up with his television debut as the host of the game show “Kaun Banega Crorepati”, which enjoys massive popularity and is a programme that the actor continues to host even now.

With age, Bachchan changed gears and started taking up films such as “Aankhen”, “Baghban”, “Khakee”, “Viruddh”, “Sarkar” films and “Pink”. “Black”, “Paa” and “Piku” earned the veteran star three more Best Actor National Film Awards and they remain a highlight in his storied filmography. In 2019, he received rave reviews for his performance in “Badla”.

The government honoured Bachchan with the Padma Shri in 1984, the Padma Bhushan in 2001 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2015 for his contributions to the arts.

(With Agency Inputs)