I could not believe it: Manoj Kumar on winning Dadasaheb Phalke award

  • Ranjan Dasgupta, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 05, 2016 17:12 IST
Actor Manoj Kumar says he was astonished that he is getting the Dada Saheb Phalke Award. (PTI)

Actor Manoj Kumar expressed surprise when he got to know on Friday that he was getting the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke Award. “I was taking a nap when calls from Ashok Pandit and Madhur Bhandarkar woke me up. I was astonished that I would be getting the Dadasaheb Phalke award. I could not believe it.” says the 78-year-old veteran.

Read: Manoj Kumar to receive Dadasaheb Phalke Award for 2015

It is common knowledge in the film industry that Manoj Kumar has never been crazy about awards in his 58-year-long, distinguished career. He won the first national award as a scriptwriter for Shaheed in 1965, and then in 1967 for the trend setting patriotic film Upkar. “I donated the entire amount I got for my national award for Shaheed to Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s family. Awards do give any creative person a sense of satisfaction. I am happy that the government has at last rewarded my work,” he says, sounding calm, yet ¬emotional. “Today, I ¬remember my late parents. Without their noble teaching and guidance, I would have never reached where I did. I also fondly remember Dr.V.Shantaram, Raj Kapoor and Raj Khosla on this day. They were my inspiration.”

Manoj Kumar says that he would not have reached where he has today without the guidance of his parents (PTI)

Not many know about Manoj Kumar’s close ¬association with Satyajit Ray. He recalls, “At an international film festival at Delhi, I came across Manikda (Satyajit Ray). I asked him if he had watched my film, Upkar. He said he had, but found it melodramatic. I smiled and questioned him if the sequence in his own film Charulata (1964) where a thunder storm occurs when Soumitra Chattarjee sees Madhabi Mukherjee not melodramatic? Patting me affectionately, Manikda said I caught him!! There can’t be anyone like Manikda, even today,” he says.

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