Considering the Bollywood celebrities who have made it to the Padma awardees’ list this year, “it’s good that I did not get one”, says veteran actor-writer Kader Khan. This year, names like Rajinikanth, Anupam Kher, Priyanka Chopra, Madhur Bhandarkar, SS Rajamouli, Udit Narayan and Malini Awasthi, among others, are in Padma awardees’ list.
The ever-versatile actor also hinted that “flattering” the movers and shakers in Lutyens’ Delhi could be one of the reasons behind his colleagues getting the honour. On being told the names of the industry colleagues who won Padma awards this year, the 79-year-old actor said, “... it’s good that they did not give me a Padma Shri. I have neither flattered anyone in my life, nor will I ever. I don’t want these awards if they have been given to people (in the industry) who got it this time.”
Kader, who was admitted to a hospital in October last year for diabetes-related ailments, believes “an award is a no big thing, but its importance lies in the people it has been conferred upon. Earlier, there was a certain honesty in these awards but it’s not the same case now. People have now forgotten to respect others and have become way too selfish. I would think that I was not as capable as those who were chosen for the Padma awards this year. I, however, thank all those who proposed my name for it,” Khan added.
Khan, who has regaled the audience with his comic side in films like Himmatwala, Aankhen and Coolie No.1 among several other entertainers, also urged actors to refrain from indulging in politics. “I would like to urge all the actors to return from the politics. ‘Laut aao, politics tumhari manzil nahi hai’ (Come back, politics is not your destination). It is only breaking you.”
Khan, who it seemed was finding it difficult to speak due to his old age-related illness, sounded especially upset with actor Anupam Kher, who spoke to Hindustan Times after being selected for this year’s Padma Bhushan awards. “What has he done except singing praises for (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi,” he asked.
“I am not contesting the government’s decision of conferring him with the award but the only thing I want to know is the credentials that I lacked for it (the award),” Khan, who termed audiences’ love for him the biggest honour, said.
The central government on January 25 announced the list of Padma awardees, and it led to an outcry on the social media over Kher’s inclusion in it. In a tweet that he posted in 2010, he had questioned the authenticity of the Padma awards.
Kher, whose wife Kirron Kher is a Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Chandigarh, is of late seen posturing with the Narendra Modi government. He also led a ‘Tolerance March’, criticising artistes across the spectrum who indulged in ‘Award Wapsi’ as a mark of protest against growing intolerance in the country. In fact, Malini Awasthi and Madhur Bhandarkar were also on the forefront of the march with Kher.
Just last year, various actors and directors in B-Town had proposed Khan’s name for a Padma Shri award. And back then, he had acknowledged the efforts by his colleagues of “demanding” the honour for him.
“If the government feels that I have done good work, it will honour me. It’s people’s love that they are demanding it for me,” Khan had said then. On the big screen, the veteran actor was last seen in Fauzia Arshi-directed, Hogaya Dimaagh Ka Dahi.