Noted spiritual leader and Art of Living’s founder Sri Sri Ravishankar, Hindustani classical vocalist Girija Devi, classical dancer Yamini Krishnamurthi and film actor Rajinikanth are some of the personalities who have been selected for the prestigious Padma Vibhsuhan Awards, which were announced on Monday, the eve of Republic Day.
Besides these names, Ramoji Rao has also been selected for the Padma Vibhushan award while late Dhirubahi Ambani has been chosen for the honour posthumously.
Those who have been selected for the Padma Bhushan awards include Anupam Kher, Udit Narayan, Vinod Rai, Saina Nehwal, Sania Mirza. In the Padma Shri category, names of Pratibha Prahlad, Priyanka Chopra, Ajay Devgan, Madhur Bhandarkar, Malini Awasthi have been included besides others.
Anupam Kher and Ajay Devgn welcomed the government decision to honour them with Padma awards. Megastar Rajinikanth's daughter shared her joy on the award of a Padma Vibhushan for her father. “Proud daughter!!! Appa is now Padma Vibhushan Shri Rajinikanth," Soundarya, one of Rajinikanth's two daughters, tweeted.
Anupam Kher tweeted: "Happy, humbled and honoured to share that I have been awarded the Padma Bhushan. Greatest news of my life, JaiHind."
Ajay Devgn, also expressed his joy on the news. "I feel deeply humbled yet elated to receive such an honour from my own country. This announcement today makes it special for me when I'm filming abroad for my new film 'Shivaay',” he said. “I'd like to acknowledge that Padma samman puts an extra responsibility on me, and I promise to serve my country for as long as I can."
His wife and actress Kajol, who won the Padma Shri in 2011, tweeted: "Another Padma Shri in the family. Congrats to my other half with lots of love and pride."
In total, 112 persons have been selected, some of them posthumously, for the different Padma awards. These awards are conferred by the President at ceremonial functions which are held at Rashtrapati Bhawan usually around March/ April every year. While 19 of the awardees are women, 10 persons are from the category of foreigners, NRIs, PIOs (include one posthumous) and four posthumous awardees.