Noted singer K J Yesudas has been selected for Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian award but big names from Indian film industry did not feature in the list that was announced on Wednesday.
Musicians and singers were given preference this year with Grammy-winning musician Vishwa Mohan Bhatt being named for Padma Bhushan while singer Kailash Kher and Anuradha Paudwal were named for Padma Shri.
The focus of this year’s Padma awards, according to the officials in the Home Ministry, was on recognising talent of unknown and unsung heroes of the country.
Yesudas, who has a record contribution of more than 50,000 film songs in various languages, including his mother tongue Malayalam, Tamil, Bengali and Hindi, has already been a recipient of the Padma Shri (1975) and the Padma Bhushan (2002).
The singer, 77, has made many songs memorable with his mellifluous voice, but for Hindi cinema music fans he is best known for songs like ‘Jab Deep Jaale Aaana’, ‘Gori Tera Gaon’ and ‘Surmai Ankhiyon Mein’ from “Chitchor” and “Sadma”.
Bhatt, who is credited with the creation of the ‘Mohan Veena’, is a former disciple of Pt Ravi Shankar. The musician is one of the most recognised names in Indian classical music scene.
Kher, known for his earthy-sufi voice, said it was an “overwhelming” moment for him to be recognised by his country.
“Thank you to my nation for this honour. I am overwhelmed.
I am sure my parents, who are no longer with me, are smiling down at me with pride. This honour is possible beacause of the prayers of my well-wishers and the blessings of my gurus,” Kher told PTI.
Celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor, who has been named for Padma Shri, said it is great to be acknowledged for an “unconventional” field.
“The feeling of winning a Padma award is fantastic. 2017 has started on a great note for me. But with the award comes a bigger sense of responsibility and pressure. To acknowledge people who are not from mainstream is a great trend and I hope it continues. I am happy that it is given to someone from a field as unconventional as culinary,” Sanjeev told PTI.
Paudwal, a National award-winning singer, is best known for her devotional songs besides singing in Bollywood movies like “Aashiqui” and “Ram Lakhan”, “Saajan” and “Dil”.
100-year-old Chemancheri Kunhiraman Nair, a noted Kathakali dancer from Kerala, also features in the list so does Bharathi Vishnuvardhan, a former leading actress in the Kannada film industry.
Sadhu Meher, an actor, director, and producer, known for his performances in films like “Bhuvan Shome”, “Ankur” and “Mrigaya” is also a Padma Shri winner.
Imrat Khan, the younger brother of Ustad Vilayat Khan and a noted sitar and surbahar player, is among the Padma Shri winners, which also features names like Basanti Bisht, Bharathi Vishnuvardhan, Laishram Birendrakumar Singh, Krishna Ram Chaudhary, Jitendra Haripal, Purushottam Upadhyay, Mukund Nayak, Sukri Bommagowda and Parassala B Ponnammal.