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Uttar Pradesh honours `Bunty aur Babli' star

Atiq Khan

He is a role model: Mulayam

— Photo: Subir Roy

PROUD MOMENT: Abhishek Bachchan receiving the Yash Bharti award in Lucknow on Monday from Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, while Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan and Amar Singh look on.

LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav brushed aside criticism of actor Abhishek Bachchan being conferred the annual Yash Bharti award, and described the `Bunty aur Babli' star as a role model.

Presenting the award to Mr. Abhishek Bachchan, in the presence of his parents, Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan, Mr. Yadav defended his Government's decision and said the award would serve as an inspiration to the youth.

The State Government had come in for criticism from some sections on the ground that Mr. Bachchan did not exactly belong to Uttar Pradesh as unlike his father, or grandfather, he did his early schooling in Delhi and Mumbai and graduated from the Boston University in the U.S.

Ten other luminaries drawn from the field of letters, journalism and sports were also bestowed the honour on Monday. These were Viveki Rai, Vijay Kumar, Uday Pratap Singh, Sheetla Singh, Yogesh Praveen, Jagdish Kali Raman, Talukdar Yadav, Mohammad Kaif (his award was received by his father), Shaukindra Tomar and Rajiv Tomar. The award carries a citation and prize money of Rs. 5 lakh.

The junior Bachchan donated his prize money to the Uttar Pradesh Hindi Sansthan for the development of the language.

Addressing the gathering the Chief Minister said the youth had to come forward to effect a political change in the country as was done in 1977 under the leadership of Jai Prakash Narain.

In his speech, the Big B complimented Mr. Yadav for bestowing the Yash Bharti on the fourth member of the Bachchan family — earlier, the award had been given to Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Amitabh himself and Jaya Bachchan. Mr. Bachchan hoped that the award would inspire his son to achieve greater heights and do the State proud.

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