Sonu Nigam says he refused the Padma Shri when govt official first called him: 'This is too late'

Published on Feb 05, 2022 06:05 PM IST

Sonu Nigam spoke about his reaction when he was asked if he would accept the Padma Shri award. Here's what he told the government authorities over a call.

Sonu Nigam was honoured with the Padma Shri award.
Sonu Nigam was honoured with the Padma Shri award.

Singer Sonu Nigam recalled his conversation with the government authorities when he was asked if he would accept the Padma Shri award. In a new interview, Sonu revealed that he had initially said that he wouldn't be able to accept the award. The singer also spoke about people getting the award due to lobbying but it had been given to him 'from the universe'.

Sonu Nigam also said that he had prepared an answer in anticipation of such a call. He thought he would reply with ‘Don’t you think it is too late in the day to give me Padma Shri?’ He told the official who called him that the honour was conferred on people who came into the music industry 15 years after him, five years before him.

In an interview with Bollywood Hungama, Sonu said, "‘You guys are giving me Padma Shri now? You guys have been teasing me for a long time. We are also human beings and we also get lured by these temptations. Is there a person who would be felicitated with an award and would not like it? Those who don’t get it, only they say it like that. It’s a good feeling to be given acclamation and recognition at the right time. Justice given late isn’t called justice. So I said, ‘I won’t be able to accept this award’. I said 'This is too late. You are giving Padma Shri to me now. I am past that stage of expecting and I have stopped looking in that direction already'." After about 10 minutes of speaking to him, Sonu ended the call saying that he needed to call his father.

Recalling the moment, Sonu said that he suddenly realized that didn't lobby for the award but that it came to him. He added that it was 'something that has come to me from universe'. He said that for such awards, a lot of lobbying is done. He also said that a few people did it for him 'previously, two or three times'. The singer said that he had told them that if he received the Padma Shri 'this way', he wouldn’t be able to enjoy it.

"I am also aware of who nominated my name as well. He is a legendary classical singer. I will ask him one day if I can tell his name publicly or not someday. Everything has happened so beautifully because a musical authority nominated by name that ‘You should give it to him because it’s been far too late’,” he added.

Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award of the country, was conferred on Sonu last month. He has had a successful singing career of three decades and is regarded as one of the most versatile voices in the Indian film industry.

Also Read | Exclusive! Sonu Nigam: I want to dedicate the Padma Shri to my mother

The singer's songs include Ye Dil Deewana, Kal Ho Na Ho, Saathiya, Abhi Mujh Mein Kahin, Mai Agar Kahoon, Hans Mat Pagli, Do Pal and Sandese Aate Hai among others. Though he predominantly worked in Hindi and Kannada language films, he has also sung in Odia, Bengali, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Nepali, Malayalam, Kannada, Bhojpuri and other Indian languages.

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