Veteran Bollywood actress, dancer and former MP Dr. Vyjayanthimala Bali was conferred the ‘Aditya Vikram Birla Kalashikhar Puraskar’ by the Sangit Kala Kendra, officials said here on Sunday.
The SKK President Rajashree Birla conferred the award on Dr Bali, 86, at a glittering function held here late on Saturday, attended by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Kumarmangalam Birla, Neerja Birla, Ananya Birla, Aryaman Birla and Vasavadatta Bajaj.
The annual award has been instituted in 1996 in memory of the SKK founder, the late Aditya Vikram Birla to perpetuate the rich legacy in the domain of performing arts.
Besides, two other maestros, Sattriya danseuse Dr Anwesa Mahanta of Assam and Kathakali exponent Kalamandalam Adithyan of Kerala were honoured with the ‘Aditya Vikram Birla Kalakiran Puraskar’.
Recalling her husband’s work, Rajashree Birla said that the late industrialist Aditya Vikram Birla had an amazingly positive outlook on life and said that the performing arts like music, dance, theatre help shape the contours of happiness in a person’s life.
She also praised Dr Bali as not only being the doyen of dance, but unmatched at the top, a versatile actress and a multifaceted personality who had performed an Indian classical dance for Pope Pius XII at the Vatican City in 1940, when she was just seven years old.
Some of the previous recipients of the award include Guru Kelu Charan Mohapatra, Mrinalini Sarabhai, Pandit Birju Maharaj and Dr Kanak Rele.
The SKK awards jury for this year comprised Dr. Kanak Rele, Chitra Visweswaran, Darshana Jhaveri and Jayant Kastuar, and the function included a dance performance by actress Madhuri Dixit and Arijit Singh.