The news of the Dadasaheb Phalke Award — the highest award in Indian cinema — being conferred on veteran actor Pran, brought more anguish than happiness for his family, as they felt that the honour came too late.
The daughter of the 93- year-old thespian, Pinky, was quoted as saying, “It (The Award) comes very late, for him. It is very important also. We feel he deserves it, so of course, he should have got it earlier.”
Pran acted in over 400 movies in a career spanning over six decades and played a vast range of roles.
This has stirred a debate in the industry on whether this award should be given to artists earlier in their career rather than when they are past their prime. Here’s what the industry experts have to say.
Dadasaheb Phalke award is like a lifetime achievement award and it’s one for the entire nation. And such an award is usually given when one has stopped working. Anyways, there are so many other awards for younger artists —Onir, filmmaker
Earlier, the better it is
As Dadasaheb Phalke award is given to people when they are past their prime, it looks more like an obligation from the government. It should be given to an artist who still has years of their career left. - Anupam Kher, actor
The Dadasaheb Phalke award should be given to people when they can actually enjoy the glory of the recognition. Most of the time, the recipient is not even in the condition to receive the award in person - Hema Malini, actor
It’d be better if the award is given to the person early and he/she can enjoy it. It would help give a push to his/her career. Even the government wants the most deserving person to get the award and choosing the recipient is not easy
- Mahesh Bhatt, filmmaker
The story behind the awards
Dadasaheb Phalke Award is India’s highest award in cinema, given annually by the Indian government to recognise the contribution of film personalities towards Indian cinema. A committee consisting of eminent personalities from the Indian film industry is appointed to choose the winner. It was introduced in 1969, the birth centenary year of Dadasaheb Phalke, who is considered the father of Indian cinema. Phalke made India’s first full-length feature, Raja Harishchandra in 1913. He made 95 movies and 26 short films in his career spanning 19 years, till 1937.
Here’s a look at the winners of the last 10 years and their age when they were conferred the award
2011: Actor Soumitra Chatterjee Age:77
2010: Director K.Balachander Age:80
2009: Filmmaker D.Ramanaidu Age:73
2008: Cinematographer V. K. Murthy; Age:85
2007: Singer Manna Dey; Age:88
2006: Director Tapan Sinha; Age:78
2005: Director Shyam Benegal; Age:71
2004: Director Adoor Gopalakrishnan; Age:63
2003: Director Mrinal Sen; Age:80
2002: Actor-filmmaker Dev Anand; Age: 80