The announcement was made Tuesday by India’s Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar in a tweet stating, “The legend Amitabh Bachchan, who entertained and inspired for two generations, has been selected unanimously for Dadasaheb Phalke Award. The entire country and international community is happy. My heartiest congratulations to him.”
The award is named after Dadasaheb Phalke who directed India’s first film, Raja Harishchandra, in 1913.
“There is a paucity of words searching a response…for the generosity of words that pour in…I am but deeply grateful and most humbled…my sincerest gratitude,” Bachchan tweeted as social media erupted with congratulatory messages for the star.
Bachchan, 76, marks his 50th year in cinema this year, following his 1969 debut in Saat Hindustani. His filmography spans over 200 films and in the ’70s and ’80s Bachchan was at his peak, portraying the “angry young man” in some of Indian cinema’s biggest hits such as Zanjeer, Deewar and Sholay, among others. His dominance over the Indian box office at the time led French director Francois Truffaut to hail Bachchan as a “one man industry.”
In 2000 Bachchan made television history when he hosted the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, which set ratings records. He still continues to host the show in its 11th season which airs on Sony Entertainment Television.
Bachchan also made his Hollywood debut in 2013 in Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby. Bachchan recently starred in the Bollywood thriller Badla, an official remake of Spanish film The Invisible Guest.
Among his numerous honors, Bachchan also received France’s highest civilian honor, the Knight of the Legion of Honour in 2007.
The Dadasaheb Phalke Award will be presented to Bachchan in the capital New Delhi as part of the National Film Awards, which will be given by India’s President Ram Nath Kovind. A date is yet to be announced.