Why give veterans the Dadasaheb Phalke Award so late?

  • Ranjan Dasgupta, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 02, 2016 19:45 IST
Actor Manoj Kumar says his doctor has allowed him to travel to Delhi to receive the Dadasaheb Phalke award, but has advised him against moving around too much. (HT Photo)

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.

Read: It’s a pleasant surprise, says Manoj Kumar on Dadasaheb Phalke award

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.

The 77-year-old Shashi Kapoor could not travel to New Delhi because of ill health. (AFP)

Read: Shashi Kapoor receives Dadasaheb Phalke award at star-studded event

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.”

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

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.”

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