Megastar Amitabh Bachchan, one of the most influential stars of his generation, was on Tuesday named the Dadasaheb Phalke award recipient for the year 2018 for his contribution to the Indian film industry.
The award comes in a year when 76-year-old Bachchan completes 50 years as an actor.
The award is named after the father of Indian cinema, Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, and is considered the highest honour for an artiste in Indian cinema.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar confirmed the news in a Twitter post.
The legend Amitabh Bachchan who entertained and inspired for 2 generations has been selected unanimously for #DadaSahabPhalke award. The entire country and international community is happy. My heartiest Congratulations to him.@narendramodi@SrBachchanpic.twitter.com/obzObHsbLk— Prakash Javadekar (@PrakashJavdekar) September 24, 2019
"The legend Amitabh Bachchan who entertained and inspired for 2 generations has been selected unanimously for #DadaSahabPhalke award. The entire country and international community is happy. My heartiest Congratulations to him. @narendramodi @SrBachchan," Javadekar tweeted, tagging both the Prime Minister and the actor.
In a career spanning five decades, Bachchan has stayed at the top, surprising fans with memorable performances film after film.
Such is his popularity that Bachchan continues to be on the wishlist of the young generation of directors, many of whom grew up on a staple diet of his films of the '70s and '80s.
Bachchan was born to renowned Hindi poet Harisvanshrai Bachchan and Teji Bachchan in 1942.
He started his cinema journey as a voice-over artiste for Mrinal Sen's film "Bhuvan Shome" and made his debut as an actor with "Saat Hindustani" though the film was not a box office success.
It took Bachchan a dozen flops to finally break into the film industry as a lead hero with Prakash Mehra's action film "Zanjeer".
Bachchan became the voice of a generation with the 'Angry Young Man' persona, created by scriptwriters Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar, perfectly embodying the frustrations and disappoinments of his generation in films such as "Deewar" and "Sholay".
"Namak Haram", "Natwarlal", "Lawaaris", "Parvarish", "Muqaddar Ka Sikandar", "Trishul" and "Kaala Patthar" were the other major hits of the era.
Though popular, the persona of the star could not pigeonhole Bachchan, who continued to explore his sensitive side in middle-of-the-road films like "Abhimaan", "Millie", "Kabhie Kabhie" and "Silsila"
Bachchan suffered a near-fatal accident on the sets of "Coolie" (1983). The actor called his recovery a "second birth".
In 1990, Bachchan played the iconic role of gangster Vijay Deenanath Chauhan in Mukul S Anand's "Agneepath". The film was not a success but earned the actor his first National Film Award.
In 1996, he started his film production company Amitabh Bachchan Corporation whose first release "Tere Mere Sapne" (1996) was a box-office failure. Bachchan ended up suffering huge financial losses and went through a career slowdown.
He broke out of the bad phase with Yash Chopra's "Mohabbatein" in 2001, where he featured alongside Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai as a stern father.
He followed it up with his television debut as the host of the game show "Kaun Banega Crorepati", which enjoyed a massive popularity and is a programme that the actor continues to host even today.
Bachchan changed gears and started taking up roles that suited his age and persona of a trusted elder in films such as "Aankhen", "Baghban", "Khakee", "Sarkar", "Sarkar Raj".
"Black", "Paa" and "Piku" earned the veteran star three more Best Actor National Film Award and they remain a highlight in his storied filmography.
The government honoured him with the Padma Shri in 1984, the Padma Bhushan in 2001 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2015 for his contributions to the arts.
Congratulations poured in from the film industry after Bachchan was announced as the recipient.
"As a Dadasaheb Phalke Award Jury Member, I am pleased to congratulate Shri. Amitabh Bachchanji on his getting this Prestigious Award," singer Asha Bhosle tweeted.
As a Dadasaheb Phalke Award Jury Member, I am pleased to congratulate Shri. Amitabh Bachchanji on his getting this Prestigious Award— ashabhosle (@ashabhosle) September 24, 2019
Bachchan's son, Abhishek Bachchan said he was overjoyed and proud of his father.
Karan Johar said he was proud to be in the era of Bachchan. "The most inspiring legend of Indian Cinema!!!! He is a bonafide rock star!!! I am honoured and proud to be in the Era of AMITABH BACHCHAN! The prestigious #DadaSahebPhalkeAward to @SrBachchan," he tweeted.
The most inspiring legend of Indian Cinema!!!! He is a bonafide rock star!!! I am honoured and proud to be in the Era of AMITABH BACHCHAN! The prestigious #DadaSahebPhalkeAward to @SrBachchanhttps://t.co/wPepdsbugL— Karan Johar (@karanjohar) September 24, 2019
Anil Kapoor said Bachchan has "redefined cinema" with every role and deserves every accolade for his innumerable contributions.
Bachchan's "Pink" and "Badla" co-star Taapsee Pannu told PTI that the actor "truly deserves all honours possible concerning indian cinema."
Filmmaker R Balki, who has collaborated with Bachchan on many films, told PTI: "Amitabh Bachchan will be the first person to win a best actor award after winning the Dada Saheb Phalke award."
"Dangal" director Nitesh Tiwari told PTI that the award was a testimony to Bachchan's immense contribution to Indian cinema.