Legendary singer Sandhya Mukherjee, also known as Sandhya Mukhopadhyay, on Tuesday declined the offer of the Padma Shri award after central government officials contacted her over the telephone for her consent. Daughter Soumi Sengupta said that Mukherjee told a senior official who called from Delhi that he was not ready to be nominated as a Padma Shri recipient if he sought his consent to be named Padma Shri in the Republic Day award list.
“At the age of 90, with a singing career spanning nearly eight decades, being selected for the Padma Shri is an insult to a singer of his stature,” Sengupta said.
The daughter said, “Padma Shri deserves more for a junior artiste and not for ‘Geetasree’ Sandhya Mukhopadhyay. His family and all lovers of his songs feel it.”
A large number of netizens supported Mukherjee’s decision.
Long considered a major source of music in Bengal, the singer has also sung for several Hindi film music directors including SD Burman, Anil Biswas, Madan Mohan, Roshan and Salil Chowdhury.
Mukherjee received ‘Banga Vibhushan’ and the National Film Award for Best Playback Singer.
Popular playback singer Sonu Nigam, director Chandraprakash Dwivedi, best known for directing the television epic “Chanakya” and the critical hit “Pinjar”, and veteran actor Soukar Janaki have been awarded the Padma Shri, the country’s fourth highest civilian award.
Besides Nigam, Dwivedi and Janaki, the list for Padma Shri awardees also include Nalini and Kamalini Asthana, Madhuri Barthwal, S Ballesh Bhajantri, Khandu Wangchuk Bhutia, Sulochana Chavan, Lourembam Bino Devi, Shyamamani Devi, Arjun Singh Dhurve, Gosaveedu Shaik Hassan (posthumous) ), Shivnath Mishra, among others.
According to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the President approved the conferment of 128 Padma Awards this year including two duet cases. In a doubles case, the prize is calculated as one. The list includes 4 Padma Vibhushan, 17 Padma Bhushan and 107 Padma Shri awards.
Thirty-four of the awardees are women and the list includes 10 persons from the category of Foreigners/NRIs/PIOs/OCIs and 13 posthumous awardees. The Padma awards are announced every year on the eve of Republic Day.