Mumbai: Veteran actor Chiranjeevi says he is "humbled and grateful" to be honoured to be with Padma Vibushan, an award that he owes to his fans.
The 68-year-old actor's name was announced among the Padma awardees on the eve of Republic Day. He has been bestowed with the Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian honour awarded for exceptional and distinguished service, along with Indian cinema icon Vyjayanthimala.
In a video posted on his official social media pages on Thursday night, Chiranjeevi said he became "speechless" and "overwhelmed" after hearing the news.
"After hearing this news, I became speechless. I am really overwhelmed. I am humbled and grateful for this honour. It's only the unconditional and invaluable love of the people, audiences, fans, my blood-brothers and blood-sisters that allowed me to reach here. I owe my life and this moment to you," the actor said.
Chiranjeevi is one of the top stars from South cinema, having worked in over 150 feature films in Telugu as well as Hindi, Tamil and Kannada.
Some of his popular films include "Rudra Veena", "Indra", "Tagore", "Swayam Krushi", "Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy", "Stalin" and "Gang Leader". He was previously honoured with Padma Bhushan in 2006.
"I always try to express my gratitude the way I can, though I know I can never do enough. On-screen, for the last 45 years of my film career, I have tried to entertain you to the best of my abilities.
"And off-screen, I try to help the needy by taking up relevant and social humanitarian causes from time to time," he said.
The actor said he is forever "indebted" to his fans for their love and support over the years. "On this occasion, I would like to thank the Government of India and the honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modiji for bestowing on me this coveted Padma Vibhushan. Thank you one and all. Jai Hind," he concluded.
The Padma awardees also included late Tamil actor-politician Vijayakanth as well as veterans Mithun Chakraborty, Usha Uthup and Pyarelal Sharma, who have all been bestowed with Padma Bhushan, presented for distinguished service of high order.