As the focus of the Padma Awards, announced on Wednesday, remained on real life heroes and talent from the classical music and dance world, Bollywood celebrities largely remained ignored in the list of 89 awardees for the year. Hours before the official announcement was made by the government, congratulatory messages for actor Manoj Bajpayee on being named for a Padma Shri honour started doing the rounds on social media. But his name featured nowhere in the final list.
According to a news report by a daily, veteran actors Asha Parekh and Rishi Kapoor, singer-composer Shankar Mahadevan, singers Sonu Nigam and Kailash Kher, apart from Manoj, were a part of a shortlist by the government for the Padma awardees.
However, among these names, only Kailash Kher has been named for a Padma Shri, the country’s fourth highest civilian award.
A Padma Vibhushan has been reserved for celebrated singer KJ Yesudas, who has spent over five decades in the industry, while renowned Grammy winning instrumentalist Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, who grabbed global attention after he modified the Hawaiian guitar into a combination of sitar, sarod and veena, and named it Mohan Veena, has been named for a Padma Bhushan honour.
An exhaustive list of Padma Bhushan awardees does not feature any popular name from the Hindi film industry, except for Kailash — a contrast to last year’s Padma awards list which included names like Anupam Kher, Udit Narayan, Ajay Devgn, Priyanka Chopra, Nila Madhab Panda and Madhur Bhandarkar, apart from popular names like Rajinikanth, Ramoji Rao and S.S. Rajamouli.
Kailash sounded excited like a child when IANS contacted him after the announcement
“By the grace of God, I got this honour. It’s a moment of pride and celebration. It’s because of a lot of prayers and hard work along with blessing from my parents and gurus, and love from fans,” Kailash told IANS.
Singer Anuradha Paudwal, who was once active in the Hindi film industry, is also among the Padma Shri awardees.
Also, veteran film critic Bhawana Somaaya, whose latest book was launched in Mumbai by megastar Amitabh Bachchan, has been named for a Padma Shri for her contribution in the field of Literature and Education – Journalism.
From the regional film industries, National Award winning Odia actor-filmmaker Sadhu Meher and multi-lingual actress Bharathi Vishnuvardhan — who has had an exhaustive filmography in Kannada, Tamil and Telugu languages — have been named for the honour.