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Rakeysh Mehra: 'No one should ridicule a prestigious award'

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New Delhi, May 5 -- Renowned scriptwriter Salim Khan recently questioned the credibility of the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, sparking a debate in the film industry.

When we asked filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra - who was in Delhi recently - about it, he spoke strongly against Salim hinting at 'lobbying in the committee'.    

"Getting an honour like Dadasaheb Phalke Award is not only an accomplishment but gives one a sense of completeness. It's as prestigious as getting the Bharat Ratna. It should be respected and no one should ridicule it," said the 50-year-old, who won an esteemed award himself - a National Award for his Farhan Akhtar starrer, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013). The film was declared Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment.

"I feel lucky. The pride and dignity with which a National film Award is given is unmatchable... But (athlete) Milkha Singh is the one who deserves this award the most. I've only been a medium to tell his story," said the filmmaker, who previously won the National Award for Rang De Basanti and Delhi 6, in 2006 and 2009 respectively.    

When Bhaag... released, veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah had criticised it, calling it 'fake'. Would Mehra like to say anything to Shah after this big win? "We live in a democratic country and everyone has the right to their opinion," is all he said.