Oscar-winning musician A R Rahman and Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan, and veteran actor Zohra Segal are among the prominent names from the entertainment industry to be chosen for this year's Padma awards.
44-year-old Aamir, who made his directorial debut with highly acclaimed "Taare Zameen Par" in 2007, is enjoying an unprecedented success with his recent blockbuster "3 Idiots", which has become the highest earning film in Bollywood.
While Rahman, 44, who became the first Indian to win double Oscars for "Slumdog Millionaire", is again in the race for the coveted honour with his maiden Hollywood venture "Couples Retreat". Tamil song 'Na na', sung by Rahman's son Alim, is in the Oscar shortlist this year.
Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilan honour, was also ruled by renowned faces from the world of arts. Eminent theatre and film personality Segal, founding director of National School of Drama (NSD) Ebrahim Alkazi and country's topmost mridangam player Umayalpuram K Sivaraman are among those chosen for the honour.
Among those from the film industry who have been chosen for the Padma Sri include veteran actress Rekha, Bollywood actor Saif Ali Khan, Academy Award-winning sound technician Resul Pokutty, TV and theatre actress Arundhati Nag and Nemai Ghosh, who had done camera work for Satyajit Ray.
Musician Ilaiyaraaja is also among those selected for the Padma Bhushan.
"It is not a recognition, but an appreciation. An appreciation to encourage
artists to produce more," a smiling Ilayaraja told reporters at his
The 66-year-old music director, who recently scored music for Amitabh Bachchan starrer 'Paa', refused to comment on fellow music director and double Oscar-winner A R Rahman also being chosen for the honour.
When asked whether there was any preference accorded to North Indian professionals while announcing such awards, Ilayarja shot back saying, "ask this question to politicians, not me."
On director Bala winning the National award for Best Director for his film "Naan Kadavul" (2008), Ilayaraja, who had scored music for the movie, said not all (directors) can attempt (such a subject). The film was based on Agori Sadhus and beggars.