New Delhi: Veteran actor Manoj Kumar thanked the Indian government for honouring him with the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award on Friday. The 78 year old actor also praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“It's a pleasant surprise. I was sleeping, and I started getting calls from my friends. I thought they were kidding, but when I read the news myself, I realised that it's for real,” Manoj Kumar had told earlier today.
“Let me digest the fact that I am getting this award. It is certainly one of the most prestigious awards we have. I am extremely satisfied with whatever I have achieved in my life, and my family is extremely happy with this news,” added the actor, most of whose works have dwelt upon patriotic themes.
The award is conferred by the Government of India for outstanding contribution to the growth and development of Indian Cinema.
The honour is given on the basis of recommendations of a committee of eminent personalities set up by the government for this purpose. This year, a five member jury - Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Salim Khan, Nitin Mukesh and Anup Jalota - unanimously recommended Manoj Kumar for the prestigious award.
Expressing his gratitude Manoj Kumar said, “I am thankful to the government and citizens of the country.”
“I will try to maintain the same honesty in my future endeavours as I have done in the past,” he went on.
Appreciating the Prime Minister, Manoj Kumar said, “Narendra Modi is uplifting the nation.”
Having starred in films like “Upkar”, "Hariyali Aur Raasta", "Woh Kaun Thi", "Himalaya Ki God Mein", "Roti Kapda Aur Makaan" and "Kranti", the National Award winner and Padma Shri awardee has also directed over five films, including “Roti Kapda Aur Makaan”.
Manoj Kumar's last big screen appearance was in the 1995 film “Maidan-E-Jung”. He says he will try to be more active in the film industry now.
“I have been absent from the limelight, and that's my mistake. I have been wanting to make a movie and will soon make one as I want to be more active,” he said.
With inputs from agencies