Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore, who were one of the most celebrated on-screen couples in Bollywood in the 1970s, were honoured by the Indian government with this year's prestigious civilian awards last Friday.
While Rajesh Khanna has been posthumously chosen for the Padma Bhushan, India's third highest civilian award, Sharmila will receive Padma Shri title, the fourth highest civilian honour.
Khanna, Bollywood's first superstar, who died in July last year, and Sharmila had starred in several hit films including “Aaradhana” and “Ämar Prem” (a Hindi remake of the Bengali film “Nishipadma” starring Uttam Kumar and Sabitri Chattopadhyay, based on novelist Bibhutibhusan Bandopadhyay's book).
Another leading Bollywood personality chosen for the Padma Shri award is director Ramesh Sippy who has churned out several blockbusters including “Sholay”.
Actress Sridevi, who made a grand comeback with “English Vinglish” last year after a long hiatus, will also receive the Padma Shri. “I am honored and humbled by this recognition. Would like to thank my fans for the love and faith they have always given me,” she said.
Actor Nana Patekar has also been chosen for the Padma Shri honour.
Padma awards are given to distinguished people across a spectrum of fields, including science, technology, arts and social work, every year on the eve of India's Republic Day on January 26.