Legendary Bollywood actor-producer Dev Anand was conferred the title Punjab Ratan (Jewel of Punjab) by the World Punjabi Organisation (European Division) for his outstanding contribution in the field of art and entertainment.
Describing him as 'one of the greatest stars' of Bollywood, Lord Navnit Dholakia, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords presented the award to the octogenarian actor at a glittering ceremony at the Landmark Hotel here on Thursday.
Holding the trophy close to his chest, Dev Anand who was born in Gurdaspur in Punjab, said: "It will be there closest to my heart."
NRI industrialist Lord Swraj Paul, MP and former minister Keith Vaz, NRI MP Sailesh Vara and Kartar Lalvani, Chief of Vitabiotics were among the other distinguished guests present on the occasion.
Dev Anand who was here to launch his autobiography Romancing With Life, said: "The whole country is proud of you Punjabis. Keep it up."
Dev Anand has won the best actor Filmfare award for Kala Pani in 1958 and Guide in 1966 and won the Filmfare Lifetime achievement award in 1991.
In 2000, he was awarded the Film Goers' Mega Movie Maestro of the Millennium Award in Mumbai. The President of India honoured him with the prestigious Padma Bhushan Award, India's third highest civilian award, in 2001.
He won the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, India's highest award for cinematic excellence in 2002. The next year, he received the special Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Achievement in Indian Cinema at IIFA Award in Johannesburg.
R S Baxi, President of the World Punjabi Organisation, European Division, said the organisation had donated 2,500 pounds to the University of East London for providing a scholarship to Indian students and another 500 pounds for purchase of books.
Martin Everett, Vice-Chancellor of the University of East London said the donation has assisted them to start an official Scholarship Fund at the University.
The fund will support three postgraduate students from India to study in the University this year. Those selected are Rupinder Kaur and Sarabjit Singh from Punjab for Master of Arts in International Marketting Management and English Language Teaching respectively and Reginald Macwan from Gujarat for Master of Science, NGO and Development Management.