Chennai: Popular Tamil film and TV actor Mohan Raman, also a well known philatelist, was pleasantly surprised when the government honoured actors he had recommended from the south through 50 stamps that were released at the 60th National Film Awards.
President Pranab Mukherjee released the stamps Friday commemorating 50 iconic film personalities who brought changes to Indian cinema.
"I was approached by a member of the film chamber few months back requesting me to suggest names of actors from south to be honoured through postal stamps. I suggested few names from all four southern film industries and to my surprise a few from the list I had recommended were honoured," Mohan told IANS.
"I felt like the squirrel that helped lord Rama in building the bridge in 'Ramayana'. I'm extremely happy with the list and feel everyone in it truly deserved the honour," added the actor known for his work in Tamil films such as 'Mahanadi', 'Minsara Kanavu', 'Padayappa' and 'Kuselan'. The postal stamps were of Ashok Kumar, Dev Anand, Yash Chopra, Smita Patil, Rajesh Khanna, Shammi Kapoor, Geeta Dutt, and Tapan Sinha among others.
From the south, C V Sridhar, Bhanumathi, S V Ranga Rao, Nagesh, Kannadasan, Vishnuvardhan, T R Sundaram and Allu Ramalingaiah were honoured.
But what upset Mohan was that the family members of these luminaries were unaware about the news.
"Since I recommended few names, I personally called to congratulate them. I spoke to Mrs. Sridhar, Gandhi Kannadasan, son of Kannadasan, Rajesh Babu, son of Nagesh, Bharani, son of Bhanumathi and Ranga Rao's grandson. I was saddened to know none of these family members were informed about the rare honour by the authorities," he said. "I believe their family members deserve to know much in advance than knowing from well wishers and newspapers," Raman added.
How did cinema stamps gain popularity?
"Cinema stamps grew popular worldwide when United Nations first launched a stamp of late actress Marilyn Monroe in 1995. Every other country followed suit and after several years, India too followed the trend," said Raman.
Mohan has also been awarded medals for his collection of film stamps. As far as movies are concerned, he will also be seen in upcoming Shah Rukh Khan starrer 'Chennai Express'.