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Salim Khan bats for Manoj Kumar

The scriptwriter wants the veteran actor to be honoured with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award

Writer Salim Khan wants the Dadasaheb Phalke Award to be conferred on veteran actor Manoj Kumar. The award is likely to be announced later this month.

Salim Khan and Manoj Kumar
Salim Khan and Manoj Kumar

Khan tells hitlist, “Look at the body of work that he (Manoj Kumar) has done. Not only has he won popular film awards but he has also been honoured with National Awards for making patriotic films. Not many in the film industry have achieved all that he has managed to do.”

Khan adds that songs from Kumar’s films continue to be played on Republic Day and Independence Day. “It is sad to see that despite winning appreciation from the likes of Raj Kapoor and V Shantaram, he has been ignored by the Dadasaheb Phalke committee year after year.”

He points out that Kapoor had asked Kumar to write scenes for his film, 'Mera Naam Joker', while V Shantaram would shower praises on Kumar’s films. “Manoj Kumar became a director at a very early age; we started our career at the same time but he went on to make films like 'Purab Aur Paschim', 'Upkaar', 'Shaheed', 'Roti Kapda Aur Makaan' and 'Shor'. He created the brand Bharat that is synonymous with him even today.”

Khan also criticises the government’s selection process. He says, “If a personality turns down an award, the government hands it to someone else; this is not the right way to go about acknowledging talent. A deserving person should be given the award. Nadira, who contributed tremendously to Indian cinema, never won the award. Pran Saab was given the award just before he passed away. This is not fair,” he says.

The other contenders

Some of the names that are in the running for the Dadasaheb Phalke award this year are Waheeda Rehman, Manoj Kumar, Madhavi Mukherjee, Jeetendra and Kamal Haasan. The Dadasaheb Phalke committee is likely to meet on Monday. Jury members of the National Awards committee have also been finalised.

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