Veteran actor and director Manoj Kumar will be conferred the 47th Dadasaheb Phalke Award for the year 2015. The award — conferred by the Centre for outstanding contribution to the growth and development of Indian Cinema — consists of a Swarn Kamal (Golden Lotus), a cash prize of Rs 10 lakh and a shawl.
The award is given on the basis of recommendations of a committee of eminent personalities set up by the Centre. This year, a five-member jury comprising Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Salim Khan, Nitin Mukesh and Anup Jalota unanimously recommended Kumar’s name for the award. Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley spoke to Kumar Friday and congratulated him.
In a statement to the press, Kumar said, “It is after about six decades that the government has recognised my efforts and contribution to Indian cinema. I am honoured today and fondly remember Raj Kapoor sahab and Raj Khosla ji. They would have been the happiest, had they been around.”
Manoj Kumar was born in July 1937 in Abbottabad, then part of pre-Independent India. When he was 10, he shifted to Delhi. After graduating from Hindu College, University of Delhi, he decided to enter the film industry.
After making a début with Fashion in 1957, Manoj Kumar got his first leading role in Kaanch Ki Gudia in 1960. In the following years, he played memorable roles in films like Hariyali Aur Raasta, Woh Kaun Thi?, Himalaya Ki God Mein, Do Badan, Upkar, Patthar Ke Sanam, Neel Kamal, Purab Aur Paschim, Roti Kapda Aur Makaan and Kranti. Do Badan was remembered for Raj Khosla’s direction, Manoj Kumar’s performance, an outstanding musical score by Ravi and immortal songs by lyricist Shakeel Badayuni, among others.
Manoj Kumar is known for acting in and directing films with patriotic themes. His image as the patriotic hero started with the 1965 film Shaheed, based on the life of Bhagat Singh. After the India-Pakistan war of 1965, then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri asked him to make a film based on the popular slogan Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan. The result was Kumar’s magnum opus and directorial debut, Upkar, which went on to win National Film Award.
In 1992, Kumar was honoured with the Padma Shri.