Nation honours three legends of Indian Cinema

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New Delhi, Sep 2 (UNI) The country today honoured three legends of its cinema who continue to rule the heart of millions.

Legendary film maker Tapan Sinha was conferred the nation's highest film honour 'Dada Saheb Phalke Award for 2006, while thespian Dilip Kumar and Melody Queen Lata Mangeshkar besides veteran actress B Saroja Devi received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the hands of President Pratibha Patil at the 54th national Film Awards Function attended by a galaxy of eminent figures from the tinsel world.

Tragedy king Dilip Kumar, who till the last moment was not on his seat, leaving his fans disappointed, sprang a surprise by suddenly appearing on the stage along with wife Saira Bano to receive the award as his name was announced.

The veteran actor was given a standing ovation as he received the honour from the President who described him as ''the legend of our times.'' B Saroja Devi also delighted her fans by turning up to receive the honour.

Tapan Sinha, who earned international fame for his film 'Kabuliwala' (1956), is not keeping good health, and could not come to the Capital to attend the function, so the award was received on his behalf by his son Anindya Sinha.

Congratulating Tapan Sinha, President Patil said, ''his works have touched on issues such as atrocities against women, wayward youth, the elderly, communal amity and tribal reality. Through them he has celebrated the individual's relentless fight against adversity.'' The Dada Saheb Phalke Award, which is given by the Government for outstanding contribution in the field of Indian Cinema, carries a cash price of Rs 10 lakh, a Swaran Kamal and a shawl.

Tapan Sinha's works have won 19 National Film Awards in various categories apart from laurels in international film festivals. Some of his memorable films are Kabuliwala, Lauha Kapat, Apan Jon, Admi Aur Aurat, Sagina Mahto, Hate Bazare, Ek Doctor Ki Maut, Zindagi, Zindagi Khudhito Pashan (1960) and Adalat O Ekti Meye.

Lata Mangeshkar also could also not come due to some reason and her award was received by her nephew Adinath Mangeshkar. Giving away the award, the President said, '' Although Lataji is not present today, who can forget her rendering of 'Ai Mere Watab Ke Logo'...

which had moved the entire nation.'' The Lifetime Achievement award carries a cash prize of Rs 10 lakh, a citation and a shawl.

All other award winners except a few were present on the occasion to receive the honour. Prominent among them were Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee and Amol Palekar.

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