Veteran actor and Bollywood's most popular villain, Pran, has been awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for the year 2012, the nation's top cine honour, the government announced on Friday.
Pran Krishan Sikand is the 44th Dada Saheb Phalke award winner. The 93-year-old actor has been honoured by the Government of India for his outstanding contribution to the growth and development of Indian Cinema.
The award, which is given on the basis of suggestions of a Committee of prominent persons, consists of a Swarn Kamal, a cash prize of ₹ 10 lakh and a shawl.
The actor, who is known as the "Villain of the Millennium," has worked in more than 400 films in a career that spanned over six decades. Pran acted as villain in almost every film from the 1950s to 1980s.
"His contribution to mainstream Hindi cinema is well recognized, assuring him the place of one of the most illustrious and celebrated actors of Indian film industry. His career spanned several decades. He has acted in over 400 films and in each one of them; he brought new mannerism and style, holding the audience spell bound by his acting," the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said in a statement.
The actor has not been keeping well for the past few months and might not be able to attend the award ceremony.
"He watched all the news bulletins and he was very happy. He knows it's a big honour," the actor's daughter Pinky Bhalla said, according to Reuters. "The whole world has been calling."
Born in year 1920 in Delhi, Pran has worked in around 22 films in pre-Partition India, including "Khajanchi" (1941), "Kaise Kahoon" (1945) and "Khamosh Nigahen" (1946).
On 11 August, 1947, he left Lahore for Bombay to celebrate his son Arvind's birthday and days later, partition was declared and he stayed back in Bombay, according to Pinky Bhalla.
His first film after partition was "Ziddi" in 1948 in which he acted alongside evergreen hero Dev Anand and Kamini Kaushal. His performances have received acclaim in films like Azaad, Madhumati, Devdas, Dil Diya Dard Liya, Ram Aur Shyam, Aadmi, Ziddi, Munimji, Amar Deep, Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai, Aah, Chori Chori, Jagte Raho, Chhalia and Jis Desh Men Ganga Behti Hai among others.
For the portrayal of both negative and character roles, Pran has won several awards including Filmfare Awards and Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards. He was also honoured with the Padma Bhushan.