Dadasaheb Phalke Award, the highest honor in the Indian cinema, is awarded for an outstanding contribution to the development and growth of Indian cinema. The Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting presents this award annually.

This year, Big B Amitabh Bachchan will be conferred with the renowned the award. On Tuesday, Union Minister of I&B Prakash Javadekar announced this news on social media. The announcement led to a flood of many congratulations on social media for the septuagenarian actor Amitabh Bachchan. He also turned to Twitter to express gratitude for the wishes and the honour.

But what exactly is this award, and why is it named after Dadasaheb Phalke? Let’s peek into the history for that!

History Of Dadasaheb Phalke Award

According to the Directorate of Film Festivals, the award was instituted by the government to honor Dadasaheb Phalke in 1969. It is the most esteemed and coveted award of Indian Cinema. The award is given by the Indian President in the presence of representatives of the Film Federation of India, the Chairpersons of the juries, the Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting and the Confederation of All India Cine Employees.

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Dadasaheb Phalke is presented to a personality for his/her magnificent contribution to the development of Indian Cinema. It comprises of a Swarna Kamal, a Cash Prize of Rs. 10,00,000/, a certificate, silk scroll, and a shawl.

The first recipient of the Dadasaheb Phalke was Devika Rani Roerich in 1969. This year, Amitabh Bachchan will be conferred with the award. Last year, it was presented posthumously to the late actor Vinod Khanna. Subsequent awardees include many legendary names including music director Naushad, filmmaker Satyajit Ray, singer Lata Mangeshkar, actor Dilip Kumar, filmmaker Yash Chopra, writer Gulzar, among others.

Here is the list of Dadasaheb Phalke award recipients of last 10 years:

Ceremonial YearRecipientFilm industry
2018 Amitabh BachachanHindi
2017Vinod KhannaHindi
2016Kasinathuni ViswanathTelugu
2015Manoj KumarHindi
2014Shashi KapoorHindi
2013GulzarHindi
2012PranHindi
2011Soumitra ChatterjeeBengali
2010K. BalachanderTamil, Telugu
2009D. RamanaiduTelugu

Who was Dadasaheb Phalke?

Dhundiraj Govind Phalke known as Dadasaheb Phalke was born in 1870 in Maharashtra. He donned many feathers in his hat including Indian producer, director and screenwriter. Popularly known as Father of Indian Cinema, he made India’s first film “Raja Harishchandra”, in 1913. It was a silent film which he wrote, directed and produced.

Phalke was drawn towards the arts since his childhood. After studying engineering and sculpture, he developed an interest in motion pictures due to the 1906 silent film ‘The Life of Christ’.

He began his career as a photographer in Godhra and also owned a printing press. He then worked as a draftsman for the Archeological Survey of India. However, after a fallout, he turned to the motion picture. He had even worked with the famous painter Raja Ravi Varma.

During his career, Phalke made 95 films and 26 short films in the lifespan of 19 years. His last silent film Setubandhan was released in 1932. Finally during 1936-38, the first film maker produced his last film named Gangavataran, before retiring and settling down in Nashik.

In 1944, Phalke died in Nashik after taking retirement from films. In the memory of Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, the government has started giving the award annually.

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