Helen, Aishwarya, Akshay named for Padma Shri

New Delhi, Jan 26 (IANS) Yesteryears' dancing queen Helen, Bollywood diva Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, action star Akshay Kumar and music maestro Hridyanath Mangeshkar are among those named for this year's Padma Shri awards.

The inimitable Helen, 69, carved a niche for herself with her dancing skills in songs like "Mera naam chin chin choo", "O haseena zulfon wali", "Aaa jaane jaan", "Piya tu ab to aa ja", "Yeh mera dil pyaar ka deewana" and "Mehbooba mehbooba". According to critics, she sizzled but was never vulgar.

Aishwarya, 35, entered filmdom after winning the prestigious Miss World crown in 1994, and delivered hits like "Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam", "Devdas", "Taal" and "Guru". She also earned critical acclaim for her performances in films like "Chokher Bali", "Raincoat" and "Jodhaa Akbar".

Aishwarya is a regular at the Cannes Film Festival since 2002, and was a member of the Jury at Cannes in 2003. She has been associated with several Hollywood projects, including “Pink Panther 2”.

Akshay Kumar, 41, who churned out the biggest hit of 2008 “Singh Is Kinng”, has established himself as an action hero. He has hits like “Khiladi”, “Mohra”, “Main Khiladi Tu Anari” to his credit. The versatile actor proved his mettle in romantic dramas like “Dhadkan”, “Dil To Paagal Hai” (guest appearance), “Aitraaz” as well as comedies that include box office winners like “Hera Pheri”, “Mujhse Shaadi Karogi”, “Garam Masala” and “Namastey London”.

Pandit Hridaynath Mangeshkar, 71, the younger brother of singing legend Lata Magheshkar, is known for composing soulful tunes in Marathi films - “Sansar”, “Jait Re Jait”, “Umbartha” and “Nivdung”.

He has also composed music for Hindi movies, “Lekin”, “Maya Memsaab”, “Mashaal” - to name a few.

Legendary singer-actress Shamshad Begum has been named for the Padma Bhushan. Besides her, others from the entertainment world named for the award include ghazal singer Penaz Masani, playback signer Udit Narayan and radio presenter-programmer Ameen Sayani.

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