MUMBAI — Actor-filmmaker Shashi Kapoor was today presented Indian cinema’s highest honour, the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke award, by Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley at Mumbai’s Prithvi Theatre in the presence of his family members and friends from the industry.
Kapoor, who is wheelchair-bound, was unable to attend the award ceremony in Delhi because of his health. Therefore, the Minister came to Mumbai to give away the award.
"It is indeed an important moment as one of our veteran actors is getting the award. It is conferred on Shashi Kapoor, who is undoubtedly a versatile personality Indian cinema has ever produced... an actor par excellence who competed with the best and carved out best work as actor, producer and director. We are presenting this award symbolically at the institution he created," Jaitley said after bestowing the honour.
The 77-year-old actor is the third person from the Kapoor family to receive the honour from the government, after his father Prithvi Raj Kapoor and elder brother Raj Kapoor.
"The way the Kapoor family is producing talent, I am sure this award is not the last one (for the family)," Jaitley said.
"I wish him an improved health... long life... best in life," the Minister said. Wearing a black outfit and an orange shawl, Kapoor arrived at Prithvi Theatre on a wheel chair.
Jaitley presented him a citation, shawl, medal and a cheque.
Kapoor folded his hands and smiled at everyone after receiving the award. He got a standing ovation from everyone present at the function. The event was moderated by noted actor and Kapoor's nephew Rishi Kapoor.
An audio-visual presentation of Kapoor's cinematic journey, from a child artist to a lead actor, producer and a theatre personality, was shown. It had a voice-over by Ranbir Kapoor and senior actors Amitabh Bachchan, Rishi, Shabana Azmi and Randhir Kapoor, who shared their experiences about Kapoor.
Born in 1938, Kapoor hit the spotlight from the age of four acting in plays directed and produced by his father, while travelling with Prithvi Theatre. He started acting in films as a child in the late 1940s.
His best known performances as a child artist were in "Aag" (1948) and "Awaara" (1951), where he played the younger version of the character played by Raj Kapoor. Kapoor also worked as assistant director in the 1950s.
Kapoor made his debut as a leading man in the 1961 film "Dharmputra" and went on to appear in more than 116 films during 60s, 70s and until the mid 80s.
Some of his memorable films include 'Deewar', 'Kabhie Kabhie', 'Namak Halal', 'Kaala Pathar' and others.
From the Kapoor family, those present on the occasion included Raj Kapoor's wife Krishna Raj Kapoor, Shashi Kapoor's son Kunal Kapoor, Rishi with wife Neetu and son Ranbir, Babita with daughter Karisma and younger son-in-law Saif Ali Khan, Shammi Kapoor's wife Neela Devi.
Several celebrities from the film industry like megastar Amitabh Bachchan, his son Abhishek, Rekha, Hema Malini, Javed Akhtar, Azmi, Hiroo Johar, Rakesh Omprakash Mehra, Waheeda Rehman, Asha Bhosle, Anupam Kher, Poonam Dhillon, Supriya Pathak, KK Menon and others were also present at the function.
Prithvi theatre, founded by Kapoor in the memory of his father Prithviraj Kapoor, continues to be nurtured by the actor's daughter Sanjana.
He was honoured with Padma Bhushan in 2011.
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