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Devika Rani was the leading heroine of Hindi films during the thirties and forties. She was often described as the 'First Lady of the Hindi Screen'. She founded the Bombay Talkies in 1934 along with her husband Himanshu Rai. She was instrumental in introducing the thespian Dilip Kumar to Hindi films. Her 'Karma' and 'Achchut Kanya' were the most memorable films of her time. She is the recipient of several honours and awards including Padma Shri (1958), the Dadasaheb Phalke Award (1970) and Bulgarian Medal of Honour (1978). She was a member of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, the Lalit Kala Akademi, Indian Council for Cultural Relations and the National Handicrafts Board.