Superstar Rajinikanth, tennis icon Sania Mirza, former U.S. Ambassador Robert D Blackwill and actor Priyanka Chopra were among the 56 eminent persons who were honoured with Padma awards on Tuesday.
Former DRDO chief V K Aatre, chief editor of Telugu daily Eenadu Ramoji Rao, philanthropist and educationist Indu Jain, chairman of Maruti Suzuki India R C Bhargava, singer Udit Narayan, eminent lawyer Ujjwal Nikam were also honoured with the Padma awards by President Pranab Mukherjee at the Civil Investiture Ceremony held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Rajinikanth, Aatre, Rao, renowned vocalist Girija Devi, chairperson of Cancer Institute, Chennai V Shanta were given Padma Vibhushan. Looking dapper in a beige churidar kurta teamed with a grey Nehru jacket, Rajinikanth was accompanied by his wife Latha Rajinikanth.Priyanka Chopra, who was awarded the Padma Shri, especially flew down to India from her “Baywatch” shoot in Los Angeles to receive the honour.
“This is the best award I have ever received. Thank you so much. I am grateful,” she told reporters here.
The “Jai Gangajaal” star looked elegant in a lemon yellow saree as she received the honour.Sania Mirza, who was awarded the Padma Bhushan, is the fourth Indian tennis player to receive the Padma Bhushan. Vijay Amritraj, Ramanathan Krishnan and doubles legend Leander Paes had earlier been honoured with both Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan. Sania was conferred with Padma Shri in 2006.“Humbled. Honoured. And truly thankful .. #PadmaBhushan,” Sania tweeted later.
Bhargava, Jain, Blackwill, Narayan, Manipuri playwright Heisnam Kanhailal, noted Telugu and Hindi litterateur Yarlagadda Lakshmi Prasad, teacher of Vedanta Dayananda Saraswati (posthumous), leading sculptor Ram Vanji Sutar, Indologist N S Ramanuja Tatacharya and International head of Chinmaya Mission Swami Tejomayananda were honoured with Padma Bhushan.Nikam, former President of Editors Guild of India Dhirendra Nath Bezboruah, renowned novelist from Karnataka S L Bhyrappa, Puducherry-based social worker Madeleine Herman de Blic, president of Bodo Sahitya Sabha Kameswar Brahma were among the 40 eminent persons who were given the Padma Shri.
2015 Kashmir Despatch