Fourth Highest Civilian Award for Aishwarya and Akshay
A total of 133 Padma awards were announced on the eve of India’s Republic Day, comprising of 10 Padma Vibhushan, 30 Padma Bhushan and 93 Padma Shri.
Also included in the list for receiving Padmashree is the captain of the Indian cricket team, M S Dhoni, world billiards champion Pankaj Advani and R K Krishna Kumar, spinner Harbhajan Singh, noted dancer Helen, Hridaynath Mangeshkar, Penaz Masani and Udit Narayan. Radio presenter-programmer Ameen Sayani will also be receiving the Padma Shree this year.
Penaz Masani, the noted ghazal singer upon being named for the prestigious Padma Shree said, 'I am deeply humbled. So much of responsibility comes over the shoulders when someone is awarded with such honor as a Padma Shri. I think of all the years and my master Madhurani ji from whom I started learning ghazal singing in 1981. It seems just like yesterday that I started my career with ghazals.”
India’s only Olympic individual gold medal winner Abhinav Bindra, technocrat Sam Pitroda, journalist Shekhar Gupta and Lt Gen Satish Nambiar are among the names chosen for Padma Bhushan.
Aishwarya started her global career with Mani Ratnam’s ‘Iravur’ and since then there has been no looking back. She has given us some of the most unforgettable Bollywood hits like ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’, ‘Devdas’, and ‘Guru’. In Hollywood, the blue eyed beauty has acted in projects like ‘Bride and Prejudice’, ‘The Last Legion’, ‘Mistress of Spices’, ‘Provoked’ and soon to be released ‘Pink Panther-2’.
Akshay Kumar, on the other hand, is one of the most successful stars in the Indian film industry today. He has hits like ‘Singh is King’, ‘Namaste London’ and ‘Welcome’ to his credit.
However, with the announcement of these awards, a new controversy seems to have cropped up. People are now questioning if the contributions of both Aishwarya and Akshay to the Indian art and cinema are large enough for deserving such a prestigious award.