Actor Rajinikanth will receive the 51st Dadasaheb Phalke Award, the highest award in Indian cinema, Union minister Prakash Javadekar announced on Twitter on Thursday.
“Happy to announce #Dadasaheb Phalke award for 2019 to one of the greatest actors in history of Indian cinema Rajinikant ji. His contribution as actor, producer and screenwriter has been iconic,” Javadekar tweeted.
The prestigious award is named after the father of Indian cinema, Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, and was instituted in 1969. The award is conferred by the government for outstanding contribution to the growth and development of Indian Cinema. The Dadasaheb Phalke Award for the year 2019 should have been announced last year but was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, as were the National Film Awards for 2019.
The award is comprised of a Golden Lotus and a cash prize of ₹10 lakh.
“India every year gives Dada Saheb Phalke award to a film personality. This year this selection has been made by a jury comprising Asha Bhonsle, Mohanlal, Biswajit Chatterjee, Shankar Mahadevan and Subhash Ghai,” Javadekar was quoted as saying by PTI.
“They unanimously recommended that superstar Rajinikanth be conferred with Dada Saheb Phalke award and we accepted it,” the Union minister said.
Last December, Rajinikanth cancelled plans to launch his own political party after being hospitalized for fluctuating blood pressure. Two days after being discharged, he said in a statement: “With extreme sadness I say that I can’t enter politics. I alone know the pain I went through while announcing this decision. Without entering electoral politics, I will serve the people. This decision of mine will disappoint my fans and people but please forgive me.”
The 70-year-old, who has more than 160 films to his credit, was given the Padma Bhushan in 2000 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2016 by the government. He has also received several state and international accolades for his work as a south Indian icon.
Many people hoped to see Rajinikanth contest the ongoing Assembly elections. A large number of the actor’s fans gathered in Chennai urging him to join politics in January this year.
Appealing to his fans, Rajinikanth said, “Some of my fans along with expelled cadres of Rajini Makkal Mandram have protested in Chennai against my decision of not entering politics. I have taken my decision, I appeal to everyone to not indulge in such things (protest) as it pains me.”
Rajinikanth, who completed 45 years in the film industry in August last year, will soon resume shooting for the upcoming Tamil film Annaatthe.