Yash Bharti for Abhishek Bachchan

The cinestar was conferred Uttar Pradesh's highest cultural honour in a ceremony held at Lucknow today.

india Updated: Nov 20, 2006 17:56 IST

Abhishek Bachchanhasbeen onMonday conferred Uttar Pradesh's highest cultural honour - Yash Bharti -in a ceremonyheld at Lucknowto honour the star actor.

Abhishek's parents, Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan, were also present at the function.

The Bollywood star was among 11 people who received the award from Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav. Wrestlers Taluqdar Yadav, Jagdish Kaliraman, Shailendra Tomar and Rajiv Tomar; litterateurs Viveki Rai, Uday Pratap Singh and Yogesh Pravin; and journalists Shitla Singh and Vijay Kumar Yadav were also recipients of the award.

Cricketer Mohammad Kaif's father Mohammad Tarif received the award on his son's behalf as he's currently playing in South Africa.

A token Rs. 500,000 was given to all the awardees. But Abhishek donated his share towards "any social welfare programme of the Uttar Pradesh government".

He announced his decision in a brief, formal address he read out at the occasion.

The decision to honour Abhishek had earlier met with sharp criticism from political parties and cultural groups. Large protests had been staged here against his nomination. According to the criteria for the award, the recipient should belong to Uttar Pradesh and should have contributed to the state in some way.

Abhishek is the fourth member of the Bachchan family to get the award. Mulayam Singh has already honoured his grandfather, the late Harivansh Rai Bachchan, and his actor parents, Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan.

Student activists at Lucknow University had even burnt effigies of both Mulayam Singh Yadav and Abhishek.

University Students' Union President Bajrangi Singh had termed Abhishek's selection as "a case of blatant nepotism, prompted on account of the affinity of the Bachchan family with the chief minister".

First Published: Nov 20, 2006 17:56 IST