Punjabi folk singer Pammi Bai and noted theatre personality Rani Balbir Kaur have been selected for the coveted Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards for the year 2015.
The duo is among the 43 artistes selected across the country. The names were finalised at a meeting of the general council of the Sangeet Natak Akademi.
The award carries a purse money of Rs 1 lakh and a citation. The President will confer the awards on selected artistes next month.
“It’s a great honour. Though belated, I feel it has given me a new lease of creative life,” said Chandigarh-based Rani Balbir Kaur, who has been conferred the award for her overall contribution to theatre.
One of the first woman directors in Punjabi theatre, the 72- year-old thespian started her career in 1972 and since then has played a vital role in bringing Punjabi ethos on the stage. She is first one to have restructured the original sufi epics into full-length plays.
She is also first Punjabi actress to have performed at Broadway, US, in the title role of Rani Jindan, the last queen of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Her brilliant performances were witnessed in Hayavadan, Antigone, Sahiban, Rani Jindan, Ghasi Ram Kotwal, Mahiya Mera Thanedar and Waqt Ne Kiya Kya Hasin Situm.
Folk artist Pammi Bai said: “This prestigious award has further put more responsibility on me to preserve Punjab’s culture and heritage. The 57-year-old singer has been conferred the award in traditional folk art category.
Best known for his signature smile and promotion of traditional Punjabi folk music, he said: “This award is a big morale-booster. I will keep doing my bit for Punjabi folk art and culture.”
Active for the past 30 years, Pammi Bai’s songs and performance has flavour of various ‘Bhangra’ forms such as Jhoomar, Malwai and Giddha besides wide use of traditional music instruments like toomba, algoza, , sarangi, dhol, ghara, chimta, dafli and dhoru.