New Delhi: Superstar Rajinikanth will be honoured with the Padma Vibhushan for his contribution to Indian cinema. In the field of art, classical dancer Yamini Krishnamurthy and singer Girija Devi will also be conferred the country’s second highest civilian award, the government announced on Monday.
Excited over the news, the 65-year-old superstar’s daughter Soundarya Rajnikanth, a filmmaker, tweeted: “Proud daughter! Appa is now Padma Vibhushan Shri Rajinikanth.”
The government also announced Padma Vibhushan awards for spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, legendary Tamil actor Rajinikanth and late industrialist Dhirubhai Ambani.
Dhanush, the husband of Rajinikanth’s other daughter Aishwarya, tweeted: “Padma Vibhushan for Thalaivar… SUPER thrilled, SUPER proud SUPER day can’t get bigger.”
Actress Shriya Saran, who worked with Rajinikanth in “Sivaji”, is very happy as well.
“He deserves more and more awards. He is a superstar not because of his films. He is a superstar because everyone loves him,” she told reporters.
“More than just a star, he is a superb human being. He has superb sense of humour and he is a superstar because he has a kind heart. Working with him was life changing for me,” she added.
The actress loves the fact that he treats everyone with “the same love and dignity. It could be a spot boy, light man, producer or his co-actor. That speaks volumes about a man.”
Rajinikanth, born Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, worked as a bus conductor. But today, he is idolised in the country as a megastar.
He made his debut in Tamil cinema with K. Balachander’s National Award-winning film “Apoorva Raagangal” in 1975.
Fondly known as ‘Thalaivaa’ (which means leader) by his admirers, he not only went on to star as a hero in films, but also took punches from the leading men in movies like “16 Vayadhinilae” (Tamil) and “Moondru Mudichu” (Tamil) in which he portrayed characters with negative shades.
Rajinikanth made his Bollywood debut with “Andha Kanoon” along with megastar Amitabh Bachchan and ‘dream girl’ Hema Malini in 1983. He went on to work with Big B in another Bollywood movie “Hum” in 1991.
It’s not just his acting prowess that continues to be lauded by the audience across the country, but also his inimitable style. From the way he flips his cigarette to his signature walk, the actor is known for his unparalleled style in his movies.
Age has clearly not played spoilsport for the actor’s craft, which he has showcased in recent films like “Robot”, “Lingaa” and “Kochadaiiyaan”.
As of now, he has films like Tamil sci-fi drama “2.o”, the sequel to 2010 blockbuster “Enthiran”, “Robot 2” and “Kabali” in his kitty.
Yamini Krishnamurthy, who will also be honoured with the award at a ceremony to be held here in April, is an eminent dancer and one of the major figures of Bharatnatyam and Kuchipudi dance forms. She has also received the Padma Shri and the Padma Bhushan in the past. She also published an autobiography (with Renuka Khandekar) titled “A Passion for Dance” in 1995.
Girija Devi, also a Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan awardee, is considered to be one of India’s greatest vocalists. She is said to be one of the last masters of the Purab ang gayaki tradition of the Banares Gharana.
Others who will get Padma Vibhushan – the second highest civilian award after Bharat Ratna – are classical dancer Yamini Krishnamurthi, classical singer Girija Devi, media baron Ramoji Rao, Dr Vishwanathan Shanta (oncology), Jagmohan (public affairs), Vasudev Kalkunte Aatre (science and engineering) and Avinash Dixit (literature).