Devika Rani to Asha Parekh: Dadasaheb Phalke Award Winners Over the Years

Team FC

Devika Rani

The first woman to receive the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1969, Rani was a legendary actor and producer. Her decision to work in the film industry was particularly noteworthy because she came from an illustrious family.

Ruby Myers

Born in Pune, Ruby Myers, who took on the screen name Sulochana, was a Baghdadi Jew and the first woman to act in an Indian silent film. She was discovered by director Mohan Bhavnani of Kohinoor Film Company, but when he first offered Myers a role, she — then a telephone operator — rejected the offer because films were considered disreputable.

Kanan Devi

One of the first singing stars of Indian cinema, Kanan Devi was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1976. Devi’s story is a classic tale of rags to riches. She began her career as a child artist in silent film roles and steadily graduated to more important roles as her performances got noticed by producers, directors and audiences.

Durga Khote

Of the actors in Hindi cinema who can lay claim to the moniker, Durga Khote is perhaps first among her equals. Khote joined the film industry after she was widowed at the age of 26 because she wanted to be independent.

Lata Mangeshkar

Often described as the Nightingale of India and the Queen of Melody, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award was one of many prestigious titles for Lata Mangeshkar. Mangeshkar’s singing career began in the early 1940s, after her father passed away and Mangeshkar had to provide for her family.

Asha Bhosle

Once upon a time, Asha Bhosle wanted to be an actor. That didn’t work out, but she did become a Bollywood icon thanks to her incredible voice. For years after she started working as a playback singer, Bhosle was known as Mangeshkar’s sister and got few chances to shine.