When Mala Sinha rejected Dadasaheb Phalke Award, said 'I don't want their award, this is an insult to me...'

Published on Nov 11, 2022 10:28 AM IST

As she turns 86 on November 11, we revisit the time when Mala Sinha rejected the Dadasaheb Phalke award as the invitation card did not have her name and talked about how it hurt her.

November 11, Friday marks Mala Sinha's birth anniversary.
November 11, Friday marks Mala Sinha's birth anniversary.

Mala Sinha was conferred the Dadasaheb Phalke Academy Award in 2013, but she refused to accept the award when she realised that the invitation card did not have her name on it. Veteran Bollywood actor Mala Sinha turned 86 on November 11. (Also read | Thankfully, they thought of me while I am still alive: Mala Sinha on receiving lifetime achievement award)

Having made her debut as a child artiste (Baby Sinha) in 1946 with the Bengali film Jai Boishnob Debi, Mala Sinha went on to feature in some of the most iconic Hindi films such as Pyaasa, Gumraah and Dhool Ke Phool.

Talking about how she was not invited properly for the Dadasaheb Phalke awards event, Mala Sinha had told Bollywood Hungama in 2013, “They've done grave injustice to me. They haven't even mentioned my name on the invitation card! When members of the Phalke committee including their chairperson came home to me to request me to take the award for being what they called a legendary artiste, I was happy to accept it."

She added that she was shocked to see that the invitation card for the event did not have her name, though other awardees - singer Asha Bhosle and Pam Chopra (who received the award on behalf of her late husband Yash Chopra) were there. She called it insulting and added 'it would be better if they had straightaway slapped me physically instead of insulting me in this way."

She also said that she attended the press conference that other awardees, Asha Bhosle and Pam Chopra, did not. "They came home with the invitation last week. Only to insult me in this way. Forget my picture they haven't even put my name in the invitation card. I told them to pick up their invitation cards and leave. I don't want their award. This is an insult to me as an artiste. I can't tell you how upset I am about it. I agree Asha Bhosle and Yash Chopra are great artistes. But am I so small an artiste that my name should be left out? Then don't give me the award. I don't want it."

Mala Sinha had also said that she received offers for the lead roles in two Hollywood films in the 1960s, but her father refused those as he did not want her to ‘work in that atmosphere of intimacy that prevails in Western cinema’. Mala Sinha featured in films including Anil Kapoor-Madhuri Dixit's Khel in the early 90s.

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