Kangana Ranaut, Ekta Kapoor awarded Padma Shri

Kangana Ranaut, Adnan Sami, Ekta Kapoor awarded Padma Shri

The pictures from the ceremony have been doing the rounds on social media

President Ram Nath Kovind hands over Kangana Ranaut and Adnan Sami their Padma Shri awards. Credit: PTI Photo

Actor-filmmaker Kangana Ranaut, veteran television and film actor Sarita Joshi and music composer Adnan Sami were among 61 Padma Shri awardees for the year 2020 who received the country's fourth highest civilian honour on Monday at a ceremony held in the Rashtrapati Bhavan here.

President Ram Nath Kovind presented Padma awards to 73 individuals, some posthumously. Of these, four were Padma Vibhushan, eight Padma Bhushan and 61 Padma Shri awards for the year 2020, according to a statement issued by the President's office.

Ranaut, who was presented with the Padma Shri two weeks after she picked up her fourth best actress National Film Award, expressed her gratitude for receiving the honour "for being a model citizen" of India.

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"As an artist, I have received many awards, love and acknowledgement but today I have received an award for being a model citizen from this country, this government. I'm grateful," she said in a video posted on her official Instagram page.

"When I started working at a young age, I didn't achieve success until 8-10 years into my career. I didn't enjoy my success. I turned down offers to endorse fairness products, boycotted item numbers, rejected working in big hero films and with big production houses," Ranaut added.

The actor-producer, who is known for her provocative statements, said receiving "this honour will shut the mouths of many people" who often ask her why she concerns herself with matters of national importance.

"I made more enemies than money. When I became more aware of national matters, I raised my voice against any power that threatens the country..." she said, adding she had lost count of how many legal cases she is currently embroiled in.

Joshi, who was presented the Padma Shri in the field of art, is an award-winning stage, television and film actress known for her work in serials like "Ba Bahoo Aur Baby", "Meri Aashiqui Tumse Hi" and "Hasratein".

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She has performed in about 15,000 shows in Gujarati, Marathi, Hindi and Marwari over a span of six decades.

Sami was also awarded the honour in the field of art. The Pakistan-origin musician, who is also a concert pianist, singer and actor, became an Indian citizen in 2016.

The music composer did not post anything on Monday, simply retweeting congratulatory messages.

Sami was at the centre of a political debate over his Padma Shri award announcement last year for his father's career in the Pakistan Air Force but he had dismissed the controversy in an interview with PTI.

"My father was a decorated fighter pilot and he was a professional soldier. He did his duty for his country. I respect him for that. It was his life. He got an award for that. I did not benefit or credit from that. Similarly, he cannot get credit for what I do. What does my award have to do with my father? It is irrelevant," he had said in January 2020.

The Padma awards are given in three categories -- Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri – and announced annually on the eve of Republic Day. The Padma Vibhushan is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service, Padma Bhushan for distinguished service of high order and Padma Shri for distinguished service in any field.

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah were among the dignitaries present on the occasion.

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