• Wednesday, May 29, 2024

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Amitabh Bachchan receives Lata Deenanath Mangeshkar Award

Indian singer Usha Mangeshkar (L), Indian Amitabh Bachchans and Padmini Kolhapure (Photo by SUJIT JAISWAL/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Mohnish Singh

Amitabh Bachchan was honoured with the Lata Deenanath Mangeshkar Puraskar on Wednesday and the megastar said he is fortunate to receive the award in the memory of the singer whose voice connected listeners to a higher power.

The family and the trust instituted the award in memory of the melody queen, who was the eldest of the five Mangeshkar siblings after she died in 2022 following multiple organ failure.

Bachchan received the recognition on April 24, the Memorial Day of Deenanath Mangeshkar, the theatre-music veteran and father of Mangeshkar siblings.

The 81-year-old star, whose career spans over five decades in films and is known for movies such as Zanjeer, Deewar, Chupke Chupke, Mohabbatein, and Piku, said he was blessed to receive the award.

“I’m fortunate to receive this award today. I never really regarded myself worthy of such an award, but Hridyanath (Mangeshkar) ji tried hard so that I could come here. He even invited me to this ceremony last year.

“Hridaynath ji, I apologise to you for last time. I had then told you I was unwell. I was healthy but didn’t want to come here. This year I had no excuse, so I had to come here,” Bachchan said in his award acceptance speech.

“The sweetness in her voice was honey and as the flow of honey never breaks, her ‘swar’ (chord) never breaks. Whenever someone hits the right chord, our soul meets with ‘parmatma’ (the higher power). And Lata Mangeshkar ji’s ‘swar’ joins us with God,” Bachchan added.

Singer Usha Mangeshkar, the third eldest Mangeshkar sibling, presented the award to Bachchan. Earlier, veteran singer Asha Bhosle, the second Mangeshkar sibling, was supposed to give away the trophies but gave the event a miss as she is unwell.

The award, known as the Lata Deenanath Mangeshkar Puraskar, is given every year to an individual who has made a path-breaking contribution towards the nation, its people and society. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was its first recipient, followed by Asha Bhosle in 2023.

The function was presided over by music composer Hridaynath Mangeshkar, the youngest Mangeshkar sibling.

At the event, music maestro A R Rahman received the Master Deenanath Mangeshkar Puraskar for contribution to Indian music.

“It’s such a great honour. This is so inspiring. When my father (composer R K Shekhar) was working in the film industry in the south, he used to wake up facing Lata Mangeshkar ji’s photograph.

“When I became a composer from the south, the enormous love I got from you guys changed my life. There’s one thing I tell my family and kids: ‘Look at the Mangeshkar family, their dedication’. Today, we need to celebrate that dedication of the family. I am a student, I learn from all of you,” the 57-year-old said.

The Master Deenanath Mangeshkar Puraskar was also presented to the non-profit organisation Deepstambh Foundation Manobal for services in the field of social service, while Ashtavinayak Prakashit’s “Galib”, produced by Malhar and Vajreshwari, was recognised as the best drama of the year.

Marathi writer Manjiri Phadke received Master Deenanath Mangeshkar Puraskar (Vagvilasini Puraskar) for contribution to literature, while actor Randeep Hooda was feted with the Vishesh Puraskar for best film production and actor.

Hooda, who received the trophy for Swatantrya Veer Savarkar, said it is a special award for him.

“Mr Savarkar was not just a national figure but also had a close relationship with the Mangeshkar family… I’m grateful for this validation and this is an honour for me,” he added.

Actor Ashok Saraf was recognised for his contribution to cinema and drama and actor Padmini Kolhapure was honoured with Master Deenanath Mangeshkar Puraskar for cinema.

Kolhapure, niece of Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle, thanked her family for their love and support.

“Whatever I am today, I am because of Asha Bhosle who brought me into the film industry. 10 years ago, my father Pandharinath Kolhapure was also given the Deenanath Mangeshkar Award. So, this is a very important award for me. This is an award from my family and I accept it with gratitude,” said the actress, known for films such as Prem Rog, Woh Saat Din, and Chimani Pakhar.

The recipients also included singer Roopkumar Rathod for his contribution to the field of music, Bhau Torsekar for editorial services and Atul Parchure for services to theatre and drama.

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