01 Apr 2021: Rajinikanth awarded the 51st Dadasaheb Phalke Award; PM congratulates 'Thalaiva'
The 51st Dadasaheb Phalke Award has been conferred upon superstar Rajinikanth.
The prestigious honor is named after Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, seen as the father of Indian cinema, and is awarded to an artist for their outstanding contribution to the field.
On Thursday, the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar announced the government's decision to award the 70-year-old, popularly known as Thalaiva.
Announcement: Javadekar called Rajinikanth's contribution 'iconic'
Announcing the honor, the I&B Minister called Rajinikanth's contribution to cinema iconic.
"Happy to announce this year's Dadasaheb Phalke award to one of the greatest actors in the history of Indian cinema Rajinikanth ji. His contribution as actor, producer, and screenwriter has been iconic, (sic)" his tweet read.
Javadekar also thanked the jury members — Asha Bhosle, Shankar Mahadevan, Mohanlal, Biswajeet, and Subhash Ghai.
Fact: Javadekar was happy to bestow honor on Rajinikanth
Messages: PM Modi congratulated the superstar, praised his body of work
As soon as the news surfaced, several bigwigs congratulated the actor. Among the first ones to congratulate him was Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He took to Twitter to praise the actor's body of work.
A part of his tweet read, "It is a matter of immense joy that Thalaiva has been conferred with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award. Congratulations to him. (sic)"
Fact: You can read PM Modi's tweet here
Work: Rajinikanth's rag-to-riches story is inspirational
Rajinikanth, who has played several memorable characters on the screen, has an inspiring and gritty story of his own. Born as Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, he was a bus conductor before starting his acting career in 1975 with Apoorva Raagangal.
In his illustrious career, he starred in blockbusters like Sivaji, Enthiran (Robot in Hindi), Petta, and many more.
His last release was 2020's Darbar.
Politics: He eyed a political stint but recently deferred those plans
Rajinikanth had announced a few years ago that he would take a plunge into politics. It was anticipated that his presence would have a major effect on the Assembly polls in Tamil Nadu.
However, in December, he pulled the plug on those plans, saying, "Without entering electoral politics, I will serve the people."
His health condition had forced Rajinikanth to take this decision.