Bollywood missing! Industry reacts to the dry spell at 2018 Padma awards

Major Bollywood actors and filmmakers feature on the Padma awards list almost every year. But this year is an exception, with only composer Illaiyaraja and stage and screen actor Manoj Joshi representing mainstream entertainment.

bollywood Updated: Jan 27, 2018 19:25 IST
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Hindustan Times
Kailash kher,Shyam Benegal,Bollywood
In 2018, renowned film composer Illaiyaraja (left) has been awarded the Padma Vibhushan, and veteran actor Manoj Joshi has been awarded the Padma Shri.

On the 69th Republic Day, when the list of Padma awardees — Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Vibhushan — was announced, the one fact that jumped out was the absence of any major named associated with Bollywood. The awards, given in the fields of literature, art, sport, social work, medicine, science, and public affairs, have only two names from mainstream entertainment this year — renowned film composer Illaiyaraja, awarded the Padma Vibhushan, has a tenuous link with Bollywood at best; and veteran actor Manoj Joshi, awarded the Padma Shri, is a familiar face, but not a name that has instant movie star recall.

Actor Manoj Joshi says that he, too, is a part of Bollywood, whether anyone thinks so or not.

Joshi, who was in Page 3, Phir Hera Pheri, Chup Chup Ke, Vivah, Ready, and Bhool Bhulaiyaa, is much more than a film actor. He says, “I’ve done my work with a lot of passion, dedication and honesty. I’ve done theatre and films in three languages — Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati. I feel that the nation has recognised my craft and work and honoured me with this award.”

Asked about Bollywood’s absence from the Padma honours this year, Joshi says, “I’m also a part of the industry, though I might have a smaller screen presence. I don’t bother whether people consider me a Bollywood actor or not; I’m doing my work sincerely. And this Padma Shri is not just an award to show off but it adds to your responsibility towards society.”

In the past, there have been names such as Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Vidya Balan, Rekha, Irrfan, Amitabh Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra, and many more being conferred with Padma awards.

Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar is a past recipient of a Padma Shri award.

Reacting to the near-absence of Bollywood, filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar, a recipient of Padma Shri in 2016, says, “Maybe the nominations were not sent. But Illaiyaraja got it and so did Manoj Joshi, who is a very reputable name in terms of [film] acting and a long-term theatre personality, too. I can’t say why Bollywood names didn’t get an award.”

Filmmaker Shyam Benegal feels that Illaiyaraja can represent the whole entertainment industry.

Filmmaker Shyam Benegal, Padma Shri (1976) and Padma Bhushan (1991) recipient, says that these honours are not meant for any one region. “Illaiyaraja is one of the most eminent music directors and he represented the entertainment industry this year by getting Padma Vibhushan. You see, these are national honours and not some regional awards. And it’s not necessary that every year you will have someone from Bollywood getting it.”

Singer Kailash Kher believes there could be technical reasons why Bollywood names did not make it.

Composer-singer Kailash Kher, Padma Shri (2017) recipient, states that there could be technical reasons as to why no big names from Bollywood were on the list. “Since there’s a process in place where either you nominate yourself or someone else from your state recommends your name, a lot of times, entries don’t reach the selection committee at all,” he says.

Kher also points out, “Another reason could be that because there’s no relevant personality or a product, hence, the majority of the selection committee didn’t have anything to approve [from Bollywood names].”

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First Published: Jan 27, 2018 19:25 IST