The Padma Awards for 2019 have been announced. This year’s list comprises of 4 Padma Vibhushan, 14 Padma Bhushan and 94 Padma Shri awardees.
From cinema, actor Mohanlal has been conferred with the Padma Bhushan. Actor-choreographer Prabhu Deva, the late actor and screen writer Khader Khan, singer Shankar Mahadevan, drums Sivamani, lyricist Sirivennela Seetharama Sastry, actor Manoj Bajpayee, actor Dinyar Contractor, received the Padma Shri.
Dancer Narthaki Natraj is the first trans person to receive a Padma award. 11 women have been honoured with the award, including the spiritual guru Bangaru Adigalar and folk singer Vijalakshmi Navaneethakrishnan from Tamil Nadu.
54-year-old Dr Nartaki Natraj is a Bharatanatyam dancer and trans activist from Madurai who specialises in the Tanjavur tradition of Nayaki Bhava. She has founded a dance school where she teaches Bharatanatyam, and is known for her research and performances around the world. She trained under veteran dancer K P Kittappa Pillai.
Narthaki left home at a young age, and fought the rampant social taboo that trans persons face. She soon became a symbol of transgender empowerment in the field, particularly in Tamil Nadu.
58-year old actor Mohanlal was awarded the third highest civillian honour. In 2001, the actor had won the Padma Shri. He is also the winner of five National Awards. He has worked in cinema for 40 years, in over 300 Malayalam, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada films.
After the announcement yesterday, Mohanlal spoke to Asianet News and said, “I feel very happy, proud that having worked for 40 years in films, the people who have worked along with me, stood with me and the viewers, I offer my thanks. I’m in Hyderabad for the shooting of Priyan’s Marakkar. Last time, when I got the Padmashri, then too I was in Hyderabad working on Priyan’s Kakkakuyil. I see it as a big endorsement. I wish to offer my thanks to everybody on this occasion.”
Prabhu Deva won the Padma Shri for his work in art and cinema. The actor, choreographer, director has had 25 years in cinema. He has two National Awards for Best Choreography. One was for the Minsara Kanavu in 1996, in which he starred with Kajol and Aravind Swamy. The 2004 Hindi film Lakshya, popular for its dance sequences by Hrithik Roshan, also won him the award.
Prabhu Deva’s is best known for his dance in songs like ‘Mukkabla’, ‘Urvasi Urvasi, ‘Que Sara Sara’. He has directed films in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. Among the best were Nuvvosthanante Nenodantana, the 2005 Telugu film with Siddharth and Trisha, and Wanted in 2005, a remake of Vijay’s Pokkiri.
His film Charlie Chaplin 2, starring Nikki Galrani released yesterday.
Actor-screenwriter Kader Khan was honoured a posthumous Padma Shri. He died on December 31, 2018, at the age of 81. He acted in 300 films, and was a screen writer for over 250. The 80s and 90s were the best time in his career.
As an actor he began collaborating with David Dhawan and Govinda. As a screen writer, he regularly collaborated with Manmohan Desai and Prakash Mehra. His films with them include Dharam Veer, Ganga Jamuna Saraswati, Coolie, Amar Akbar Anthony, Sharaabi, Lawaaris, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar.
His last films were Ungli, Lateef, Hogaya Dimaagh Ka Dahi and Aman Ke Farishtey.
Anandan Sivamani, or ‘drums’ Sivamani, is a leading percussionist of the country. He works extensively with AR Rahman, and has also performed with the tabla maestro Zakir Hussain.
Composer and singer Shankar Mahadevan, a part of the Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy trio, is a Hindustani, carnatic musician and a Veena player. He has composed and sung in Tamil, Kannada and Hindi films. He won four National Awards for his songs in Kandukonden Kandukonden, Kal Ho Na Ho, Taare Zameen Par and Chittagong.
The Padma awards are one of the highest civilian awards in India. They are announced before Republic Day every year to honour people in disciplines like art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service.
The awards are conferred by the President of India at a function in Rashtrapati Bhawan in March or April every year.