The General Council of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, the National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama, New Delhi at its meeting held on 20 April 2016 in Agartala (Tripura) elected one (1) eminent personality in the field of performing arts, namely Shri C V Chandrasekhar as Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellow (Akademi Ratna).
The Fellowship of the Akademi is the most prestigious and rare honour, which is restricted to 40 numbers at a given time. Presently there are only 40 Fellows of the Sangeet Natak Akademi.
The General Council of the Akademi also selected forty-three (43) artists from the fields of Music, Dance, Theatre, Traditional/Folk/Tribal Music/Dance/Theatre and Puppetry and Overall contribution/scholarship in Performing Arts for the Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards (Akademi Puraskar) for the year 2015.
Mushtaq Kak from Jammu will receive the award for Direction and Khem Raj for folk music of Jammu and Kashmir. The honour of Akademi Fellow has been conferred since 1954 and Akademi Award since 1952. These honours not only symbolize the highest standard of excellence and achievements, but also recognize sustained individual work and contribution.
The honour of Akademi Fellow carries a purse money of Rs 3,00,000/- (Rupees three lakh) and Akademi Award carries Rs 1,00,000/- (Rupees one lakh), besides a Tamrapatra and Angavastram. The Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowships and Awards will be conferred by the Hon’ble President of India.
The General Council of SNA has selected 43 artists from different performing art forms for the Akademi award for 2015 while as 32 young artists were selected for Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar 2015, among which is Shazia Bashir of Kashmir.
Mushtaq Kak is a well-known actor and director. Earlier, he was associated with Shri Ram Centre, New Delhi. He has directed more than 100 plays. He has also acted in Hindi movies like ‘Hijack’, ‘Sikandar’ and Hollywood movie ‘Amal’. He has been associated with Amateur Theatre Group which has been participating in a number of national, international and zonal theatre festivals organized by Sangeet Natak Akademi, Sahitya Kala Parishad (New Delhi), North and West Zone Culture Centre, Punjabi Academy, New Delhi etc.
Khem Raj is a well-known folk artist of J&K who participated in many folk music and dance festivals across India. He has become a household name in Jammu for his devotional and traditional songs.
Shazia Bashir, a young vocalist hailing from a remote south Kashmir area of Achabal, has created a niche for herself by singing Kashmiri folk and light music in different concerts and events. She came to prominence with a singing reality show of Kashir channel ‘Milay Sur’ in 2007-08.