Zee Astitva Awards honour women achievers

MUMBAI: Ladies and... more ladies were there to finally get credit for outstanding work they've been doing all along.

The occasion was Zee Astitva awards, instituted by Zee TV in association with Mumbai-based Archana Trust Suburban, to celebrate womanhood and felicitate Indian women for their contribution to society. In a glittering ceremony in Mumbai at the National Center for Performing Arts (NCPA), women who had made their mark in different walks of life were felicitated by the channel with Zee Astitva awards. Their presence saw some of the hosts and presenters deliberately avoiding the 'Gentlemen' part handing out the customary salutation!

Bollywood actress Sushmita Sen won the "Zee Woman of the Year" award while Simone Tata took home the "Kellogg's Woman of the Year" award. Ekta Kapoor, Swati Piramal, Mallika Srinivasan, Kalpana Morparia, Sania Mirza, Meera Borwankar, Ashwini Bhide, Usha Barwale, Bharati Shivaji, Kishori Amonkar and Tasneem Raja were given awards in diverse fields like healthcare, TV, business, banking and finance, sports, civil services, performing arts, science and technology. Special awards were given to Renu Kundal (Dy SP Jammu), Anuradha Lohia (scientist) and Madhu Singhal (school for the blind) for their work.

Speaking on the occasion, Zee TV business head Abhijit Saxena said, Zee Astitva Awards is a unique property instituted, to recognise exemplary women in society.

"For any general entertainment channel women are its core audiences. An award ceremony like Zee Astitva Awards makes our bond with our main audience stronger. This is a small effort to celebrate and encourage the versatile role of women in Indian society."

Kellogg's India MD K Venkatachalam said, "We are pleased to be associated with this event, aimed at felicitating women from all spheres of life and paying tribute to the undying spirit of today's woman."

The Astitva Award jury comprised Rajshree Birla, Simone Tata, Neeta Ambani, Simi Garewal, Divya Seth, Ashwini Yardi (Programming Head, Zee TV) and Anita Raj.

Dignitaries like Subhash Chandra, Pradeep Guha, Subhash Ghai, Ajay Piramal, Rajashri Birla, Kumarmangalam Birla, Neeta Ambani, Sushmita Sen, Simone Tata, Arti and Kailash Surendranath, Anil Kapoor, Sunil Gavaskar, Ismail Darbar, Shobha De, Sania Mirza and Saurav Shukla were present at the function. A special telecast of these awards will take place exclusively on Zee TV on 23 April at 8:00 PM

Zee Network CMD Subhash Chandra with Sania Mirza

The ceremony hosted by Cyrus Sahukar and CO-hosted by Gurdeep Kohli, Chavi Mittal, Deepa Parab and Kulraj Randhawa kept the audiences entertained.

The fusion music of Sivamani and Raghav, one-liners of Shekhar Suman, dance performances by the gorgeous Dia Mirza and the winners of India's Best Aditi Sharma and Sarwar Ahuja and the melodious singing of Richa Sharma and Mehnaz added the excitement and glamour to the evening.

Also present at the award ceremony were many small screen stars including Niki Aneja Walia, Tanvi Azmai, Divya Seth, Akashdeep Sehgal, Mansi and Rohit Roy, Tisca Chopra, Sangeeta Ghosh, Shweta Salve, Annu Kapoor, Simone Singh, Kushal Punjabi, Rajeshwari and Varun Badola.

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