MUMBAI: While there are awards that happen dime a dozen, some awards are very special. Deenanath Mangeshkar Smruti Sohala tops that bracket, and the reason is the awards are conferred on actual merit. This year’s list of awardees was nothing less than a galaxy of stars.

Master Deenanath Mangeshkar Smruti Pratishthan felicitated legends from the fields of music, drama, art and social work with the prestigious Deenanath Awards at the Shri Shanmukhanand Hall, Sion. Hon. Minister Shri Nitin Gadkari presided over the function. Hridaynath Mangeshkar, Usha Mangeshkar, Adinath Mangeshkar, Avinash Prabhavalkar and Ravi Joshi among others played perfect hosts at the event that had a familial feel to it.

The awards are conferred in honour and memory of legendary multi prolific artiste, Master Deenanath Mangeshkar. A stage veteran, music composer, singer, Deenanath Mangeshkar stays one of the most revered personality of Marathi theatre. His daughter and legendary singer Bharatratna Lata Mangeshkar started official awards in his memory 76 years ago, as 24th April marks his death anniversary. Over the years, the committee has conferred this prestigious to many artistes.

Sarod exponent Padmavibhushan Ustad Amjad Ali Khan was awarded for immense contribution to the field of music, this year. Ustaadji shared his thoughts saying, “It is the biggest honour for me as a musician.”

Sangeet Natak Akademi Chairman, well known singer and theater veteran, Shri Sekhar Sen was awarded for his phenomenal work on stage presenting musicals like Sant Kabir and Soordas and many more, which he has composed music for, written and enacted.

The cherry on the top was Master Deenanath Mangeshkar’s daughter and Padmavibhushan Asha Bhosale being awarded with Life Time Achievement award. Her repertoire of work in Hindi film industry is not unknown to the audience, however the fact that she has sung in almost all Indian languages is an equally credible. The legend regaled the audience with her wit, anecdotes and finally a brief glimpse of song in signature Deenanath Mangeshkar style. She said in a speech, “This feels very special as this award is given in memory of my own father. I still start my day with doing Riyaz on one of his songs.”

Asha Bhosle felt equally honoured receiving the award and she further added, “This award is really special for me as it is in the name of my father, Shri Deenanath Mangeshkar. But more than that, I feel honoured to receive this award as it has been conferred upon many stalwarts from the music industry, over the years. This year is Deenanath ji’s 76th anniversary and legends like Pandit Birju Maharaj, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and Ajay Chakraborty among others are a part of the celebration. I feel blessed.”

As Master Deenanth Maangeshkar was an actor and owned Film Production company too, film and theatre personalities are awarded too. In the past, Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan have been recipients of this award among the film personalities. This year, Padmabhushan Anupam Kher was awarded for his extensive body of work in film industry spanning over three decades. Upon receiving the award, Kher was quoted saying, “I wish to work like a newcomer everyday, as it is just the beginning of my life. I am honoured to receive this award.”

The entire Mangeshkar clan was present at the function in full force, except the Nightingale Bharat Ratna Lata Mangeshkar herself, due to health issues, however she sent her personal best wishes to all the awardees. The message was duly conveyed by her younger brother and one of the most noted music composers and singer Pandit Hridyanath Mangeshkar.

The grand event was concluded with a graceful Kathak performance by Kathak Maestro Pandit Birju Maharaj and his disciple Smt Shashwati Sen, accompanied by Pandit Anindo Chatterjee on tabla. Later, Pandit Ajoy Chakroborty took the stage and presented choicest of thumris for the audience.

The 76th Master Deenanath Mangeshkar Punyatithi was organized by Master Deenanath Mangeshkar Shruti Prathishthan along with Hridayesh Arts, who have also organized the music programme