Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Thursday said her government will continue to recognise the contributions of artistes, literati and sportspersons from the state who are often sidelined for coveted honours like the Padma Shri or Padma Bhushan.
"We want to bring to light the contributions of unsung heroes from Bengal. We started the Banga Bhushan awards as I saw so many artistes would wait for years for a Padma Shri or Padma Bhushan... they used to do their work for years and sometimes their lives would be over but still they didn`t receive any honour.
"So we stepped in and thought we would give them a boost in our own way," Banerjee said at a glitzy function for the Mahanayak Uttam Kumar Samman awards at the Nazrul Mancha here.
The awards was given out to the state`s top actors, singers and technicians.
Instituted by the state government in 2012, the third edition of the awards saw a clutch of stars, with affiliations to the ruling party, Trinamool Congress, bag prizes.
Reigning Bengali matinee idol Dev alias Deepak Adhikari, also a Trinamool Congress Lok Sabha member, who starred in Bengali film industry`s most expensive movie till date, "Chaander Pahar", took away the Mahanayak Samman.
Veteran actress Moushumi Chatterjee got the Mahanayika Samman.
A lifetime achievement nod was in store for actress Moon Moon Sen, a Lok Sabha member from the Trinamool.
Singer Kumar Sanu was emotional as he collected the lifetime achievement award in music.
"I have got many records and achievements but I have never been recognised by the Bengal government. This is the first award from my state government. Thank you Didi," the singer said, referring to Chief Minister Banerjee.
"It is our misfortune and shame that we could not recognise your achievements earlier," the chief minister responded.
Banerjee emphasised her vision to strengthen infrastructure of the Bengali film industry called `Tollywood` as it is located in south Kolkata`s Tollygunge area.
"We need to have a vision and mission. Hollywood will come to Tollywood, it may happen some day. Our industry will rock Mumbai, India and the rest of the world," she said.
Veterans from the field of cinema as well as young guns were lauded with the honour instituted in the memory of Bengali film legend, late Uttam Kumar - affectionately called `Mahanayak` or great actor.
The award function coincided with the stalwart`s 34th death anniversary Thursday.