It was recently announced that 70-year-old actor Rajinikanth will be conferred with the 51st Dadasaheb Phalke Award. The Prime Minister expressed his joy while announcing that the megastar has been selected to be conferred with the prestigious award. 

But Rajini is not the first or the only actor to receive the prestigious award. But before we know about the awardees or the award, let’s understand who Dadasaheb Phalke was.

Who was Dadasaheb Phalke

Dadasaheb Phalke

The full name of Dadasaheb Phalke was Dhundiraj Govind Phalke. He was an Indian producer and writer who is regarded as the Father of Indian Cinema. He produced India’s first feature film, Raja Harishchandra in 1913. Dadasaheb Phalke made 93 films and 27 short films in his career. Some of his most popular films include Satyavan Savitri (1914), Lanka Dahan (1917), Shri Krishna Janma (1918) and Kaliya Mardan (1919). The government of India started the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for lifetime contribution to Indian cinema, in his honour. 

Dadasaheb Phalke Award

Dadasaheb Phalke is the highest award in Indian cinema. It is awarded annually at the National Film Awards ceremony. The awards ceremony is organised by the Directorate of Film Festivals. Actors across the country are conferred with this prestigious award for their “outstanding contribution to the growth and development of Indian cinema”. Dadasaheb Phalke Award comprises a Swarna Kamal (Golden Lotus) medallion, a shawl, and a cash prize of Rs. 1,000,000. 

Indian film actress Devika Rani was the first to receive the award in the year 1969 at the 17th National Film Awards. More than 50 Indian actors have received the prestigious award till now. 

Birendranath Sircar was the winner of the award in 1970. He is considered as one of the pioneers of Indian cinema. Sircar founded two production companies, International Filmcraft and New Theatres. He also built two cinema theatres in Calcutta. Legendary actor Prithviraj Kapoor was the next to receive the award in 1971. 

Music Director Naushad, filmmaker Satyajit Ray, Raj Kapoor, India’s nightingale Lata Mangeshkar, Assamese musician Bhupen Hazarika, Dilip Kumar, Raj Kumar, Asha Bhosle, Yash Raj Films’ founder Yash Chopra, Indian cinema’s evergreen star Dev Anand and iconic singer Manna Dey are some of the legendary personalities of Indian Cinema to have received the award in the past. 

Gulzar, one of the greatest lyricists of the Indian cinema, Vinod Khanna, Pran, Shashi Kapoor, Manoj Kumar, K Vishwanath and Amitabh Bachchan have also received the award in the past.


Mr Bachchan was conferred with the highest award in Indian cinema in 2018. He is the 66th film icon from the Indian film industry to have received the award.

The latest addition to the list of awardees is Rajinikanth. Rajini has done movies in different languages including Hindu. However, he mainly belongs to the Tamil film industry.

Rajini will receive the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award for 2019 this year. The award ceremony was planned to happen in 2020 but it was delayed in view of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Rajinikanth started his acting career with Apoorva Raagangal in 1975. Apart from acting, Rajini has also tried his hands in screenwriting and as a producer. He has also been conferred with several other prestigious awards in the past including the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Vibhushan awards.

Confusions over Dadasaheb Phalke Award

Many people get confused with the real name of the Dadasaheb Phalke Award. The reason behind this is that there are some other awards in the name of Dadasaheb Phalke as well. These awards are the Dadasaheb Phalke Film Foundation Awards and the Dadasaheb Phalke Excellence Awards. These awards are not related to the Directorate of Film Festivals. 

There are two actors who were given the award posthumously. Prithviraj Kapoor died at the age of 65 on May 29, 1972. He was conferred with the award in 1971.

Vinod Khanna passed away on April 27, 2017, at the age of 70. He was given the award in the year 2017. 

Vinod Khanna

Prithviraj Kapoor’s son Raj Kapoor received the posthumous award given to his father in 1972. Raj Kapoor also got the award in 1987 but when he was receiving the award by President R Venkatraman in 1988, he had an asthmatic attack after which he was rushed to the hospital. Raj Kapoor passed away a month later on June 2, 1988. 

DadaSaheb Phalke Award For Rajini

Rajnikanth, thalaiva

From catching a bullet fired at him with bare hands to walking on the walls of a running train, Rajinikanth has done every impossible-looking stunt in his movies. The jokes made over him are actually an ode to the extraordinary stunts and spellbinding acting that he does on the screen. Thalaiva is the undisputed king of Tollywood and is one of the very few actors who are qualified enough to be called megastars. From acting to politics, the opinions of Thaliva carry weight in every field. 

From acting to dialogue delivery and from action to screen presence, everything about Thalaiva’s on-screen presence is rowdy. No wonder many actors envy him and his skillset. Rajinikanth has worked with actors of different age groups and generations. However, there’s hardly been an actor who has overshadowed Thalaiva with their performance. Rajini has given the film industry hundreds of hit films. 

Some of the most popular movies of Rajinikanth include Tahalapathi, Padayappa, Annamalai, Arunachalam, Chandramukhi, Kabali and Adisaya Piravi.

The Indian film industry has no dearth of talent and there are hundreds of extraordinary actors who continue to entertain us with their mind-blowing acting skills. Which actor do you think should get the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke award next?