Rajesh Khanna to get Padma Vibhushan?

Rajesh Khanna

A high-level committee today met to shortlist the names for Padma awards amid indication that yesteryear superstar late Rajesh Khanna may be conferred the country's second highest civilian award Padma Vibhushan.

Apart from Khanna, who passed away on July 18, renowned filmmaker of "Sholay" fame Ramesh Sippy is likely to be given Padma Shri on the eve of Republic Day next month, official sources said.

The committee, which includes Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Pulok Chatterjee, Union Home Secretary R K Singh, actor Ratna Pathak Shah, scientist Anil Kakodkar, shortlisted the names of next year's Padma awardees at the meeting.

The names of awardees will be declared on January 25, 2013 after the approval of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Names of Khanna and Sippy were recommended by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, sources said.

Eminent singer and composer Bhupen Hazarika was posthumously awarded Padma Vibhushan this year.

Khanna, who was also Congress MP from New Delhi constituency from 1992 to 1996, was never given the Padma award in his lifetime, whereas most of his contemporaries, including Dharmendra, Dev Anand, Shashi Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, Dilip Kumar, Hema Malini and Waheeda Rehman, had got one or the other category of Padma awards over the years.

Similarly, producer-director Sippy (65), too, would be a late entrant of the Padma hall of fame, if the government finally selects him for this award. Many producers and directors of his generation have been conferred with the Padma awards through the years.

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