Legendary veteran actors Nirmal Rishi and Pran Sabharwal have been conferred with the prestigious Padma Shri award for their contribution to the Punjabi film industry.
With an illustrious career spanning six decades in theater and films, the legendary Nirmal Rishi, 80, remarks that acting is not just a profession but her life’s essence.
“I’ve lost count of the plays I’ve been a part of. Stepping onto the stage has always felt like a cathartic moment,” says Rishi, who earned the 2012 Sangeet Natak Akademi award for her exceptional acting skills. Rishi’s artistic journey began under the mentorship of Punjab’s acclaimed theatre figures, Harpal and Neena Tiwana.
Pran Sabharwal, on the other hand, is a Patiala-based veteran theatre actor credited for over 5,000 performances in seven decades. Born in Jalandhar of Punjab on December 9, 1930, Sabharwal also worked in Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB). He was attracted towards acting after getting inspired from his idol, Prithivraj Kapoor. Without having any formal qualification or training in acting, Sabharwal went on to make theatre and radio his life. And there was no looking back. Sabharwal was also one of the founder faculty members of the Department of Speech, Drama & Music, at Punjabi University, Patiala.
Sabharwal said that he was extremely proud and happy to know that veteran actor Nirmal Rishi, too, has been selected for Padma Shri honor from Punjab. “We worked together in the play “Paisa Bolta Hai,” said Sabharwal, who has been running the National Theatre Arts Society (NTAS) since 1952.