Veteran actor Manoj Kumar was on Tuesday conferred the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke award by President Pranab Mukherjee at the 63rd National Film Awards ceremony here, for his contribution to the film industry.
The 78-year-old actor, best known for his patriotic films Purab Aur Paschim, Upkar and Kranti, got a standing ovation from the audience as he was taken to the stage on a wheelchair at Vigyan Bhavan to receive Indian cinema’s highest honour. The actor was sporting an orange bandana of Sai Baba and also presented the President with a crystal statue of the deity as he received the honour.
Kumar, who became the 47th recipient of the award, was presented with the Swarn Kamal (golden lotus) medallion, a cash prize of Rs 10 lakh and a shawl by the President. Best known for his films Hariyali Aur Raasta, Woh Kaun Thi?, Himalaya Ki God Mein, Do Badan, Patthar Ke Sanam, Shaheed, Roti Kapda Aur Makaan, Kumar became popular as “Bharat Kumar” thanks to his patriotic dramas. He went on to star in romantic hits like Honeymoon, Apna Banake Dekho, Naqli Nawab, Do Badan, Paththar Ke Sanam, Sajan, Sawan Ki Ghata.
The actor later shifted his focus to films with patriotic theme by acting in films like Shaheed, which was based on the life of Bhagat Singh. Kumar made his directorial debut with Upkaar, which is said to be inspired by the then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri’s popular slogan Jai Jawan Jai Kissan.
His other films that explore the idea of patriotic duty include Purab Aur Paschim, Roti Kapda Aur Makaan, Kranti, in which he got a chance to work with his idol Dilip Kumar.
Kumar’s career started to decline after Kranti. He quit acting after his appearance in the 1995 film Maidan-E-Jung but returned as a director to launch son, Kunal Goswami, in the 1999 film Jai Hind which had a patriotic theme. The film, however, did not do well at the box office.
The actor won a National Film Award for Upkaar and was honoured with the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 1992. Recent Dadasaheb Phalke winners include iconic names like Shashi Kapoor, Gulzar, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Soumitra Chatterjee and Mrinal Sen.