Rajinikanth, the actor who was last seen in the 2020 film Darbar, will be conferred with the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke Award for his contribution to Indian cinema, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar announced on social media on Thursday.
Happy to announce #Dadasaheb Phalke award for 2019 to one of the greatest actors in history of Indian cinema Rajnikant ji
His contribution as actor, producer and screenwriter has been iconic
— Prakash Javadekar (@PrakashJavdekar) April 1, 2021
The recipient of the country’s highest film honour for 2019 was decided by a jury comprising singers Shankar Mahadevan and Asha Bhosle, actors Mohanlal and Biswajeet Chatterjee, and filmmaker Subhash Ghai.
While the Dada Saheb Phalke Award for 2019 was supposed to be held in 2020, it was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the consequent lockdown.
Reacting to the news, Rajinikanth expressed his gratitude to the Central government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a statement on social media.
The Robot actor’s career in the film industry spans over 40 years, beginning in 1975. Born as Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, Rajinikanth debuted with a supporting role with K Balachander’s Tamil drama Apoorva Raagangal in 1975. He went on to feature in some of the biggest Indian films, mostly in Tamil, such as Baashha that, as reported by Indian Express, earned him the the title of Thalaiva and catapulted him to a cult status, making him a demi god for his fans.
In 1983, he made his Hindi film debut alongside Amitabh Bachchan, who was the recpient of the Dada Saheb Phalke Award in 2018, and Hema Malini in Andha Kanoon, and went on to feature in other Hindi films like Hum and Chaalbaaz.
Wishes poured in from across the country, congratulating Rajinikanth.
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.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 1, 2021
தாதா சாகேப் பால்கே விருது மட்டுமின்றி மென்மேலும் பல சிகரங்களைத் தொட நண்பர் ரஜினிகாந்த்தை இத்தருணத்தில் வாழ்த்துகிறேன்! (2/2) #Rajinikanth
— TTV Dhinakaran (@TTVDhinakaran) April 1, 2021
தாமதம் என்றாலும் வரவேற்புக்குரியது!
நடிப்புக்கும், நட்புக்கும் இலக்கணமான நண்பர் ரஜினி அவர்களின் கலைப்பயணம் என்றென்றும் இனிதே தொடர வாழ்த்துகள்! pic.twitter.com/VFYsXWoAhC
— M.K.Stalin (@mkstalin) April 1, 2021
In December 2020, Rajinikanth announced his foray into politics and the launch of his political party ahead of the state Assembly Elections in 2021. He had to be admitted to the hospital later that month after his blood pressure fluctuated. On December 23, 2020, a few crew members from his upcoming Tamil film Annaatthe tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the shooting to a halt. The actor had tested negative.
After he was discharged from the hospital, he announced that he would not join politics owing to persisting health conditions, and cancelled his party’s launch.