Hema Malini, the ‘Dreamgirl' who made her first two films in Telugu before taking the Hindi film industry by storm and reigning supreme for close to two and a half decades, has been chosen for the 7{+t}{+h}Akkineni Nageswara Rao National Award, 2011.

At a press conference here on Saturday, chairman of the award jury and Member of Parliament T. Subbarami Reddy said, in the presence of Dada Saheb Phalke awardee and the thespian Nageswara Rao, that the award would be given away at a function here on December 26.

It comes with a memento, a citation and a cash prize of Rs. 5 lakh.

Mr. Rao recalled that the annual award was instituted in 2005 by the Akkineni International Foundation with an intent to recognise the contribution of stalwarts in the film industry.

The first to be chosen was Dev Anand. Others include Shabana Azmi (2006), Anjali Devi (2007), Vyjayantimala Bali (2008), Lata Mangeshkar (2009) and K. Balachander in 2010. Film buffs would remember that Hema Malini, who earned the sobriquet ‘Dreamgirl' in the Hindi film industry, started her career in 1965 with the film Pandava Vanavasam , where she appeared in a dance number.