LONDON — Gulzar, has been conferred the Dadasaheb Phalke award, India’s highest film honor, for 2013.

The award is given by the Indian government for outstanding contribution to the growth and development of Indian Cinema and is named after Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, who directed the first Indian feature film “Raja Harishchandra” in 1913. The award comes with a cash prize of 1 million rupees ($16,600).

The 79-year-old Gulzar, whose real name is Sampooran Singh Kalra, is a lyricist, director, screenwriter, producer, short story writer and poet.

He began his career as a songwriter with the  Indian helmer Bimal Roy’s “Bandini” (1963) and he continues to be one of the most popular Bollywood lyricists, working with all the great composers of the industry including Sachin Dev Burman, Salil Chowdhury, Shankar-Jaikishan, Hemant Kumar, Laxmikant-Pyarelal and Shankar–Ehsaan–Loy. In particular he is known for his work with Rahul Dev Burman, A. R. Rahman and Vishal Bhardwaj.

He shared an original song Oscar and a song Grammy with Rahman (pictured, right) for “Jai Ho” from 2008’s “Slumdog Millionaire.”

As a film director, Gulzar’s credits include milestones of Indian cinema like “Aandhi,” “Koshish,” “Angoor” and “Maachis.” His television credits include “Mirza Ghalib” and “Tahreer Munshi Premchand Ki.”