Veteran M.S. Sathyu, Hindustani classical singer Ashwini Bhide Deshpande, Kathak dancer Uma Dogra and playwright Asgar Wajahat were among the luminaries conferred the Sangeet Natak Akademi awards and fellowships for 2014 by President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday.
Deshpande, flautist Ronu Majumdar, and tabla player Nayan Ghosh, were among the nine who received the award for their contribution to music, while dancers of various forms including Dogra, Sudhakar Sahoo (Odissi), Arayambath Janardanan (Bharatanatyam) were presented with the awards, at the grand Durbar Hall of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Wajahat, theatre actors Ramdas Kamat, and Deb Sankar Halder were some of the awardees for their contribution to theatre, while playwright Akshara K.V. and Indudhar Nirody were awarded for their overall contribution in the performing arts.
Sathyu, musicians Vijay Kumar Kichlu, Tulsidas Vasant Borkar, and S.R. Janakiraman were awarded with the Sangeet Natak Akademi fellowship.
These awards were conferred at a time when scores of writers and artists returned their state awards, to condemn the attacks on writers, pointing to "growing intolerance".
Theatre artist Maya Krishna Rao returned her Sangeet Natak Akademi award last week over this issue.