Legendary actress Mala Sinha, who was set to receive the Dadasaheb Phalke Academy Award on Tuesday, boycotted the ceremony saying that the she was insulted by the organising committee.
Sinha was reportedly miffed over the committee's act of not including her name in the invitation card. "I won't accept the Phalke award. They have been discourteous and insulting to me. Is this any way to treat an artiste?" she asked, reported IANS.
"They've done grave injustice to me. They haven't even mentioned my name on the invitation card! When members of the Phalke committee including their chairperson came home requesting me to accept the award for being what they called a 'legendary artiste', I was happy to accept it. But when I saw the invitation card for the event I was shocked. My name was not there with the other winners. Asha Bhosle and Pam Chopra (who is to receive the award on behalf of her late husband Yash Chopra). This is insulting. It would be better if they had straightaway slapped me physically instead of insulting me this way."
The veteran actress, who acted in more than 100 films like "Pyasa", "Dhool Ka Phool" and Gumrah and "Geet" , said that the committee had informed her a month ago that she would be a recipient of an award. She had also attended a press conference organised by the committee to announce the award winners in Mumbai. But when they met her with the invitation card last week, she did not find her name on it.
"Forget my picture, they haven't even put my name in the invitation card. I told them to pick up their invitation cards and leave. I don't want their award. This is an insult to me as an artiste. I can't tell you how upset I am about it. I agree Asha Bhosle and Yash Chopra are great artists. But am I so small an artiste that my name should be left out? Then don't give me the award. I don't want it," she said.
Comparing two of the biggest film industries when it came towards her career, the 79-year-old actress revealed that she was offered lead roles in Hollywood films in the 1960s. "Do you know I got two offers from Hollywood in the 1960s as the main lead? My father, who looked after my work, refused, saying, 'Our culture doesn't allow our daughters to work in that atmosphere of intimacy that prevails in Western cinema. So please excuse us.' That's the kind of respect I got in Hollywood. And look at how I am treated at home! I think I was not given my due," she said.
Mala Sinha has worked with a number of renowned Indian actors including Raj Kapoor, Kishore Kumar, Dev Anand,Shammi Kapoor, Manoj Kumar, Dharmendra, Rajesh Khanna, Sunil Dutt, Sanjay Khan, Jeetendra and Amitabh Bachchan amongst others.