Actor, director, writer and producer Manoj Kumar, who is also known 'Bharat Kumar' for making patriotic cinemas, has been conferred with most coveted Dadasaheb Phalke Award.President Pranab Mukherjee conferred the award to Manoj Kumar at the 63rd National Film Awards Function held at Vigyan Bhawan here in presence of Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs, and Information & Broadcasting Arun Jaitley and Minister of State for I&B Col. Rajyavardhan Rathore.
Manoj Kumar’s last big screen appearance was in the 1995 film “Maidan-E-Jung”.
Born in July 1937, in Abbottabad, then in pre-independent India and now in Pakistan, Manoj Kumar shifted to Delhi when he was 10. After graduating from Hindu College, University of Delhi, he decided to enter the film industry.
After debuting with “Fashion”, he got his first lead role in “Kaanch Ki Gudia” in 1960. And his image as the patriotic hero started with the 1965 film “Shaheed”, based on the life of freedom fighter Bhagat Singh.
After the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965, Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri asked him to create a film based on the popular slogan “Jai Jawan Jai Kissan”. The result was Manoj Kumar’s magnum opus and his directorial debut, “Upkar” (1967).
The film helped him to bag the National Film Award, and it was also the first time that he took on the screen name Bharat — which he used in multiple films thereafter.
His body of work was recognised by the Indian government with a Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award, in 1992.