The General Council of Sangeet Natak Akademi, the National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama, New Delhi at its meeting held on 21 December 2012 elected three (3) eminent personalities in the field of performing arts, namely N. Rajam, T.H. Vinayakram and Ratan Thiyam as Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellows (Akademi Ratna). The Fellowship of the Akademi is the most prestigious and rare honour, which is restricted to a very limited number at a given time. Presently there are only 40 Fellows of the Sangeet Natak Akademi.
The General Council of the Akademi also selected thirty six (36) persons from the fields of Music, Dance, Theatre and Puppetry for the Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards (Akademi Puraskar) for the year 2012.
In the field of Music, nine eminent artists, namely Rajashekhar Mansur and Ajay Pohankar for Hindustani Vocal Music, Sabir Khan (Tabla) and Bahauddin Dagar (Rudra Veena) for Hindustani Instrumental Music, O.S. Thyagarajan for Carnatic Vocal Music, Mysore M. Nagaraja, (Violin) and K.V. Prasad (Mridangam) for Carnatic Instrumental Music, Illayaraja for Creative & Experimental Music and Bhai Balbir Singh Ragi (Gurbani) for Other Major Traditions of Music have been selected for the Akademi Award 2012.
In the field of Dance, nine eminent practitioners, namely Priyadarsini Govind (Bharatanatyam), Vijay Shankar (Kathak), Vazhengada Vijayan (Kathakali), Vedantam Ramalinga Sastry (Kuchipudi), Sharmila Biswas (Odissi), Jai Narayan Samal (Chhau), Painkulam Damodara Chakyar (Kutiyattam), Jwala Prasad (Music for Dance) and Aditi Mangaldas (Creative & Experimental Dance) have been selected for the Akademi Award 2012.
In the field of Theatre, eight eminent artists have been selected for Akademi Awards 2012. They include Arjun Deo Charan for Playwriting, Tripurari Sharma and Waman Kendre for Direction, Parvesh Sethi, Nirmal Rishi and Purisai Kannappa Sambandan for Acting, Murari Roychoudhury for Theatre Music and Ghulam Rasool Bhagat for Major Traditions of Theatre (Bhand Pather).
For their contribution to Other Traditional/Folk/ Tribal Music/ Dance/ Theatre and Puppetry, eight artists have been selected for the Akademi Award. They are Goru Channabasappa for Folk Music (Karnataka), Kinaram Nath Oja for Suknani Ojapali (Assam), Prem Singh Dehati for Folk Theatre (Haryana), Sulochana Chavan for Lavani (Maharashtra), Mattannur Sankaran Kutty Marar for Thayambaka (Kerala), Govind Ram Nirmalkar for Nacha (Chhattisgarh), Heera Das Negi for Mask Making (Himachal Pradesh) and Prafulla Karmakar for Traditional Puppetry (West Bengal).
Nandini Ramani and Arun Kakade will receive the Akademi Award 2012 for Overall Contribution/Scholarship in Performing Arts.
The honour of Akademi Fellow has been conferred since 1954 and Akademi Award since 1952. They not only symbolize the highest standard of excellence and achievements on a national basis, but also recognize sustained individual work and contribution to the practice and appreciation of the arts through performance, teaching and scholarship. The honour of Akademi Fellow carries a purse money of Rs 3,00,000/- (Rupees three lacs) and Akademi Awards carry Rs 1,00,000/- (Rupees one lac), besides Tamrapatra and Angavastram.