New Delhi: Veteran Bollywood star Manoj Kumar, also known as Bharat Kumar for his nationalist and patriotic films based movies like Purab Aur Paschim, Upkar and Kranti, was on Friday chosen for the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke award, the highest official recognition in Indian cinema. The 78-year-old actor became the 47th recipient of the award, which consists of a golden lotus, a cash prize of Rs 10 lakhs and a shawl, a government statement said.
Kumar’s name was unanimously recommended by a five member jury consisting Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Salim Khan, Nitin Mukesh and Anup Jalota. Best known for his films Hariyali Aur Raasta, Woh Kaun Thi?, Himalaya Ki God Mein, Do Badan, Patthar Ke Sanam, Shaheed, Roti Kapda Aur Makaan and Kranti, Kumar became popular as ‘Bharat Kumar’ thanks to his patriotic dramas.
Kumar said the announcement came as a surprise and he thought it was a joke. “I am very happy to receive this honour from the government. I did not expect it. I was sleeping when Ashoke Pandit called me. I couldn’t believe initially, I thought he was fooling me. He asked me to watch TV so that’s how I learnt about it,” Kumar told agencies. “I would go to Delhi to receive the award,” he said. When asked whether the honour came late to him, he said, “I don’t want to get into this. I always believe in working hard... I don’t think about the results.”
The actor has been away from the limelight but he said he has been working on a movie on Aryabhatta, the renowned mathematician. Anupam Kher congratulated Kumar: “Congratulations Manoj Kumar Ji for Dadasaheb Phalke Award. Your films taught us what it means to love your country. Jai Ho. Patriotism.”...