Rajinikanth will be honoured with the 2019 Dadasaheb Phalke award, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said announced on April 1.
In a congratulatory tweet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said “it is a matter of immense joy that Thalaiva has been conferred with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award”. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami spoke to Rajinikanth on phone and congratulated him.
The jury this year for the prestigious award included playback icon Asha Bhosle, director-producer Subhash Ghai, Malayalam superstar Mohanlal, music composer and singer Shankar Mahadevan and Biswajeet Chatterjee.
“Happy to announce #Dadasaheb Phalke award for 2019 to one of the greatest actors in history of Indian cinema Rajnikant ji. His contribution as actor, producer and screenwriter has been iconic,” Mr Javadekar tweeted.
Congratulations poured in for Rajinikanth minutes after the news of the award broke, with #Rajinikanth among the top trends on Twitter.
Expressing his joy, fellow actor Kamal Haasan tweeted in Tamil and said Rajinikanth, who has proven than he can win over fans by appearing on the screen, deserves the award “100%”.
He has been honoured with the Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan in the past.
The announcement of the Dadasaheb Phalke award for Rajinkanth, 70, comes just days before the assembly election in Tamil Nadu where his largest fan base is. He had made a stunning about-turn in December last year, dropping his political plans, just as he was on the brink of launching his political party after years of speculation. He backed out citing his health.
Rajinikanth was born on December 12, 1950, in a Maratha family in Karnataka. The actor, who started out as a bus conductor, is among the highest paid stars in India.