Home minister Rajnath Singh honoured veteran actor Dilip Kumar with the Padma Vibhushan—India’s second highest civilian award — on Sunday, two days after his 93rd birthday. Famously known as the tragedy king, the veteran actor has immortalised films like Devdas, Mughal-e-Azam, Naya Daur, Madhumati, Ram Aur Shyam and Saudagar with his brilliant performance.
Legendary actor Dilip Kumar was presented the Padma Vibhushan at his residence in suburban Bandra. The 93-year-old legend was presented a medal, a certificate and a shawl by Singh, in the presence of the actor’s wife Saira Bano.
When asked about Kumar’s reaction at receiving the award, Saira later told reporters that, “He has always been quiet about himself. He is happy, he smiled and there were tears in his eyes. He is an emotional and sensitive person. For him material things do not matter. He is a simple man, down to earth.”
Rajnath Singh had tweeted about his arrival in Mumbai on Sunday morning for the event.
Reached Mumbai. Shall visit the residence of Shri @TheDilipKumar to honour him for his immense contribution to Indian cinema— Rajnath Singh (@BJPRajnathSingh) December 13, 2015
Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, were among other dignitaries present at the actor’s home when he received the award.
“Dilip Kumar will be honoured with Padma Vibhushan on December 13 at his residence here. Home Minister Rajnath Singh will be coming from Delhi to present the award to him,” Udaya Tara Nayar , who is a close friend of the actor and also the compiler of his autobiography, had said earlier.
Dilip Kumar couldn’t make it to the awards ceremony, which was held in April in the national capital, to receive the honour in person due to health issues. The actor, who turned 93 on Friday, had announced that he would skip his birthday celebrations to mark solidarity towards Chennai floods victims. His wife and actor Saira Banu had said, “He has got so much love from all over the world. What more can I give him? I can only pray for his good health and that’s my gift for him.”
“I think his health gets affected after any celebration. We are also very affected by the Chennai incident and decided to keep it quiet. After what happened in Chennai, it wouldn’t have been right to have a huge celebration,” she added.
The announcement to honour Bollywood veterans Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan and a few others with the prestigious Padma Vibhushan award was made by the government on the eve of Republic Day on January 25, 2015. However, Kumar, due to ill-health, could not attend the special function held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in April when other Padma awardees were honoured by President Pranab Mukherjee.
Born as Muhammad Yousuf Khan in Peshawar, Kumar made his debut as an actor in the film “Jwar Bhata” in 1944 produced by Bombay Talkies. In a career spanned over six decades, he starred in films of a variety of genres such as the romantic Andaz (1949), the swashbuckling Aan (1952), the dramatic Devdas (1955), the comical Azaad (1955), the historical Mughal-e-Azam (1960) and the social Ganga Jamuna (1961). Called as the ‘tragedy king of Bollywood’, he also did films like Kranti (1981), Shakti (1982), Karma (1986) and Saudagar (1991) and others. His last film was Qila (1998). The Government of India honoured him with the Padma Bhushan award in 1991, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1994 and the Padma Vibhushan earlier this year, for his exceptional and distinguished contribution to the Indian cinema.