Rajinikanth to get Dadasaheb Phalke Award, top film honour, for 2019

The announcement came days ahead of the April 6 assembly election in Tamil Nadu

Rajinikanth
Rajinikanth has delivered superhit films such as Billu, Muthu, Baashha, Sivaji, and Enthiran | File Photo: PTI

Tamil superstar Rajinikanth will be honoured with the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award, which is India’s highest film honour, for 2019. The award will be presented to him on May 3.

The announcement was made on Thursday by Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar. This came days ahead of the April 6 assembly election in Tamil Nadu. The matinee idol, who made his debut in the 1975 Tamil film Apoorva Ragangal, had plans to contest the polls with his outfit Rajini Makkal Mandram, but later stepped back.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed Rajinikanth, 70, for his contribution to cinema and also congratulated him on the honour.

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“Popular across generations, a body of work few can boast of, diverse roles and an endearing personality…that’s Shri @rajinikanth Ji for you. It is a matter of immense joy that Thalaiva has been conferred with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award. Congratulations to him,” the prime minister tweeted.

Javadejkar, who announced the award, said: “India every year gives Dadasaheb Phalke award to a film personality. This year this selection has been made by a jury comprising Asha Bhonsle, Mohanlal, Biswajit Chatterjee, Shankar Mahadevan and Subhash Ghai.”

“They unanimously recommended that superstar Rajinikanth be conferred with Dadasaheb Phalke award and we accepted it,” he said.

For about 50 years, Rajinikanth has been the “uncrowned king” of the film world, Javadekar said, hailing the actor. “He has been shining like the sun in the film world. He has created a space in the hearts of the people through his talent, hard work and diligence,” he said.

The Union minister expressed confidence that the country will be delighted on Rajinikanth being bestowed with this honour. He said the award will be presented to Rajinikanth on May 3 along with the National Film Awards.

To a question that the announcement comes just ahead of Assembly polls in Tamil Nadu, Javadekar shot back, “This is an award related to the film world and Rajinikanth has been working for 50 years…one must ask proper questions.”

Related news | Dadasaheb Phalke Awards: Deepika, Akshay, Sushmita Sen, Bobby Deol bag awards

Later, in a tweet, Javadekar said, “Happy to announce #Dadasaheb Phalke award for 2019 to one of the greatest actors in history of Indian cinema Rajinikanth ji. His contribution as actor, producer and screenwriter has been iconic.” He also thanked the jury for their work.

In December last year, Rajinikanth had shelved plans to make a foray into electoral politics. Making a U-turn, he had announced he will not enter politics in view of his frail health.

Rajinikanth has delivered superhit films such as Billu, Muthu, Baashha, Sivaji, and Enthiran. He also starred in several Bollywood movies such as Hum, Andha Kanoon, Bhagwaan Dada, Aatank hi Aatank and Chaalbaaz.

(With inputs from agencies)

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