Film journalist and author Bhawana Somaaya feels blessed and honoured to receive the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian award, for her contribution in the field of Literature and Education – Journalism.

The veteran journalist told IANS here: “On Wednesday, around 12 p.m… I received a call from the ministry saying that they are honouring me with the Padma Shri award. I was so occupied writing my review that time, I thanked him and said that I am privileged to get that and disconnected the phone. I didn’t think much about it.”

“After two hours when I came back home from the recording (for her radio show) and started receiving messages and calls, I realised what just happened. I feel humbled and honoured to receive the award. I take it as a blessing of my parents.”

She started her career as a film journalist in 1978 and worked with some of the leading newspapers. Somaaya was the editor of Screen magazine for seven years. So far, she has penned 13 books on the film history of Indian cinema and biographies of film stars like Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini and iconic singer Lata Mangeshkar.

Some of her popular books include “Salaam Bollywood: The Pain and the Passion”, “Amitabh Bachchan: The Legend”, “Hema Malini: The Authorized Biography” and “Once Upon A Time In India – A Century of Indian Cinema”.

Somaaya was also a part of the advisory panel of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and was recently appointed as a core committee member of Shyam Benegal committee.

Asked about the role of censorship in films, she said: “Since I am a member of the core committee, I am not allowed to say much about it right now. But yes, the guideline needs to be revisited and I am sure it will happen within a matter of time.”

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