Dadasaheb Phalke, often regarded as ‘The Father of Indian Cinema’, was an Indian filmmaker who directed India’s first full-length feature film ‘Raja Harishchandra’. In order to commemorate his contribution to Indian cinema, the Government of India introduced the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1969, which is the highest award in cinema and is presented annually at the National Film Awards. The first-ever recipient of this prestigious award was Devika Rani, an actress, who was widely acknowledged as ‘The First Lady of Indian Cinema’. Recently, there were reports that Priyanka Chopra will be conferred with the honor in a ceremony which is to take place in Mumbai on the 24th of April.
Let us now take a look at a few others who were recipients of the award in the past.
Prithviraj Kapoor (19th, 1971)
He was the founder of the travelling theatre company ‘Prithvi Theatre’ which aimed to promote Hindi stage productions.
Satyajit Ray (32nd, 1984)
He was credited with bringing recognition to Indian cinema.
V. Shantaram (33rd, 1985)
Known for producing and directing India’s first color film, Sairandhri (1931). V. Shantaram also has the first Marathi-language talkie, Ayodhyecha Raja (1932), to his credit.
Raj Kapoor (35th, 1987)
His performance in the Hindi film Awara (1951) was ranked by Time Magazine as one of the top ten greatest performances of all time.
Lata Mangeshkar (37th, 1989)
The Nightingale of India has sung in over 36 languages.
Asha Bhosle (48th, 2000)
She holds a world record for being the most recorded artist in music history.
Yash Chopra (49th, 2001)
He was the founder of Yash Raj Films, which is considered to be the one of India’s biggest production companies.
Dev Anand (50th, 2002)
The evergreen star of Hindi Cinema, co-founded Navketan Films and has produced about 35 films.
Shyam Benegal (53rd, 2005)
Known for films like Ankur (1973) and Manthan (1976), he created a new genre – Alternate Cinema.
Gulzar (61st, 2013)
Known for his successful collaborations with R. D. Burman and A. R. Rahman, he has won several National Awards, 20 Filmfare Awards, one Academy Award and one Grammy.
Shashi Kapoor (62nd, 2014)
He was conferred the Padma Bhushan in 2011 and is known to have set up his production house Adfilm-Valas.
Manoj Kumar (63rd, 2015)
Fondly known as "Bharat" Kumar for his patriotic image, Manoj Kumar has also been the recipient of the Padma Shri.