Veteran actor Manoj Kumar is travelling from Mumbai to Delhi to receive his Dadasaheb Phalke Award in person today. The septuagenarian — who was in the hospital till some time back — recently shared, “My movements are restricted due to acute health issues. After a thorough medical checkup, my doctors advised me to travel to New Delhi by train. I will be present to receive the award but cannot move around too much.”
The highest award for excellence and contributions to cinema, Dadasaheb Phalke Award has been bestowed on stalwarts since the early 70s. Yet, a study shows it has been given to a number of cine personalities at a time when they were too unwell.
Raj Kapoor was wearing an oxygen mask and gasping for breath when he was awarded. Tapan Sinha was restricted to movements on a wheelchair. The same holds true for Pran and Shashi Kapoor.
Actor Raj Kapoor was wearing an oxygen mask when he was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award.
“It’s astonishing as to why Shashi, Tapanda and Pransaab were awarded when they were so sick. Each of them deserved it duly. They could have been given this award when they were physically fit and able to move. Ashok Kumar, Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand and even Lata Mangeshkar were fit enough to be present and receive their awards,” says Manoj Kumar.
Another recipient, Mrinal Sen supports the argument. “Due recognition should be given to deserving people when they are fit as a fiddle,” he says, adding: “I was present to receive my award and not sick.”
When a stalwart is recognised and awarded at the fag end of his or her career it appears more like a consolation prize. As Adoor Gopalkrishan rightly says, “If a talented artist is awarded at his peak, it is more meaningful.”