Bollywood legend Shammi Kapoor may have yodelled his way into a million hearts, and won the 2009 Dadasaheb Phalke award for “lifetime contribution” to Indian cinema. But the man, celebrated as India’s Elvis Presley, missed the cut for the 2010 Padma Awards despite being recommended by the government-appointed Padma Search Committee.
This information was disclosed on February 24 to Subhash Chandra Agrawal, who filed an RTI (Right to Information) application with the Home Ministry seeking to know the procedure adopted for this year’s selection.
The Padma Awards Committee, the final arbiter, deleted Kapoor’s name from the Search Committee’s shortlist of 24. Also dropped were the names of tennis star Leander Paes, Drupad singers the Gundecha brothers, and painter S.G. Vasudev. Kapoor, the Gundecha brothers and Vasudev have never got a Padma award, while Paes, who recently won his 11th grand slam title, received the Padma Shri in 2001. Paes’ inclusion in the Search Committee’s shortlist implied an upgrade to Padma Bhushan.
Interestingly, the Search Committee also recommended the names of music composers A.R. Rahman and Ilaiyaraja, actor Rekha, and Nobel laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishnan. All four made it to the Padma list.
The Search Committee, comprising senior bureaucrats, was constituted by the Centre with the idea that deserving candidates should not miss out on the Padma honours for want of a recommendation. Its shortlist was to act as the starting point for the Awards Committee. However, the Awards Committee accepted only 12 of the 24 names given to it.
Kapoor, now 78, ruled Hindi cinema for much of the 1960s and 1970s, and popularised a style of dancing that has since spawned many imitations. In a career spanning over five decades, he won four Filmfare awards, besides numerous lifetime achievement awards.
The Gundecha brothers are considered the nearest equivalent to the Dagar brothers. They run an international school for Drupad singing in Bhopal and have been honoured with the Dagar Gharana Award.
Vasudev is an artist of international eminence. In 1967, he won the Lalit Kala Academy’s National Award, and in February this year, he was conferred the prestigious KCS Panikker Award instituted by the Kerala Lalit Kala Academy.