S Janaki has declined to accept the Padma Bhushan award as she feels that the honour has come late in her five-and-half-decade long career. "I refuse the Padma award. I have been singing for the last 55 years. I consider the recognition of my fans in various languages as the highest award," she told reporters at Ottappalam, Kerala.
However, 75-year old Janaki, who has sung over 20,000 songs in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi to her credit, said she had no grouse against the government. "I have been singing for the last 55 years. I have sung a variety of songs in many languages. They all appreciated my songs. Even Malayalees often say that my pronunciation is correct. So what else I require than the recognition from the people," she said. "I have no complaint towards the government. I don't think the government has done anything wrong. But I have decided to refuse Padma award," Janaki, who was at Ottappalam to attend a marriage, said.
"I should have been given the highest civilian award of Bharat Ratna if the government wanted to recognise my work. I am not interested in any other awards like the Padma awards," she told The Hindu.
Janaki, who had won four national awards, was chosen in the art category among the 24 Padma Bhushan awardees in different fields announced on the eve of the Republic Day. Her son Murali Krishna, talking to PTI over phone, said the honour to his mother came too late. "It has come too late. She should have got it long long time ago. She has refused to accept the award with due respect," he said. He also said they were not informed about the award being given to her and they learnt about it only through "somebody else".