MUMBAI: Playback singer Sonu Nigam and filmmaker Chandraprakash Dwivedi on Wednesday expressed their gratitude after they were conferred with the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award of the country.
Nigam, who has had a successful singing career of three decades, is regarded as one of the most versatile voices in the Indian film industry.
Dwivedi, 62, is best known for directing the 1991 epic TV series "Chanakya", in which he also played the titular political strategist.
He also directed Urmila Matondkar and Manoj Bajpayee-starrer Partition drama "Pinjar".
The 48-year-old singer said January 25, when the Padma awards were announced, would remain a "special day" for him and his family.
"I'm thankful to the Government of India for thinking of me as a deserving candidate and bestowing me the Padma Shri.
My heartfelt thanks to all those who selected me and suggested my name for this prestigious honour.
"I would also like to thank my mother, Shobha Nigam, and my father, Agam Kumar Nigam.
In fact, I want to dedicate this award to my mother.
Had she been here today, she would have cried a lot," Nigam said in a statement.
The singer, whose memorable chartbusters include "Ye Dil Deewana", "Kal Ho Na Ho", "Saathiya" and "Abhi Mujh Mein Kahin" among others, noted the contribution of his gurus and credited their lessons for his success.
"Whatever I know today is because of them and their blessings.
Watching and listening to them has been a learning experience for me.
My sincere gratitude to my friends and colleagues who have been a part of my journey, and my family who is my pillar of support," Nigam added.
Dwivedi also acknowledged his creative collaborations in the past, crediting them in "enriching" him as an artiste.
The director, who has often chronicled stories of and about the country, said he dedicates the award to India.
"I'm deeply humbled to have been bestowed with the prestigious Padma Shri award.
I have been fortunate enough to creatively collaborate with some of the best minds of the Hindi film and television industry.
They have enriched me, pushed my boundaries and made me better creatively.
"I share this huge moment of my life with all these people who have shaped me and my thinking.
I have always been someone who has tried to tell a story that is dipped in our country's history and culture and I dedicate this award to my country," he said in a statement.
The director said the honour will empower him to celebrate the country, much like his upcoming Akshay Kumar-starrer "Prithviraj".
Backed by Yash Raj Films, the historical film is based on the life of Samrat Prithviraj Chauhan.
"This recognition will drive me to tell stories that celebrate my motherland in its full glory like my next 'Prithviraj' in which we will honour the valour of one of the bravest warriors that India has ever seen.
"I have had the pleasure to work with a towering actor like Akshay Kumar to essay 'Prithviraj' on screen and I hope my countrymen love the film that we have made with a lot of passion," he added.
Kumar also took to Twitter and congratulated the winners, including Dwivedi.
"Heartwarming to see some great names in the #PadmaAwards list.
Amazing achievers from science, armed forces, sports, industry, art and of course my director friend Dr Chandraprakash Dwivedi.
Super proud," the actor wrote.
Renowned classical vocalist Dr Prabha Atre of the Kirana Gharana has been awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the nation's second highest civilian honour.
Veteran actor Victor Banerjee, known for films such as Satyajit Ray classic "Ghare Baire" and David Lean's epic "A Passage of India", as well as Madhur Jaffrey, actor and culinary expert, received the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award of the country.
The names from the Indian arts field who have been chosen for Padma Awards also included Punjabi folk singer Gurmeet Bawa (posthumous) and classical musician Rashid Khan, who will be felicitated with Padma Bhushan.