Shah Rukh Khan gets highest French award


MUMBAI: Shah Rukh Khan was awarded the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres at a ceremony on Sunday at the world premiere of Asterix at the Olympic Games in Mumbai. This title of an officer is one of the four ministerial honours of the French Republic and the most significant award in the field of arts in France.


The title of the Officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres has previously been awarded to two Indians–Arundhati Roy and Sharmila Tagore. The French delegation, including Unifrance vice president Marie Masmonteil that has arrived in Mumbai especially for the 1st Rendez-vous with French Cinema festival, stood witness as the French Ambassador to India Jérôme Bonnafant bestowed the badge unto King Khan.


The delegation comprised directors Claude Lelouch, Nadine Labaki, Michel Ocelot, Guillaume Nicloux, actresses Olivia Bonamy, Marie Guillard and music composer Khaled Mouzanar, who are all part of the movies to be shown at the film festival.


French Ambassador Bonnafont looked extremely pleased as he sat next to Khan, minutes before the award ceremony and expressed his hope of having a rendezvous with French cinema every year.


The conversation turned to selection of Indian movies at Cannes to which he replied, “I hope that by giving such an award to Shah Rukh Khan it will open the eyes of the selectors and people in general. It’s inexplicable how the country that churns out the most movies is not seen at Cannes every year.”


Khan reminisced, “Whenever I’ve been to France for festivals, I’ve been treated with loads of love and respect. I think it stems from a genuine respect for not me, but Indian cinema.”


When asked if he’d like to now act in international films, he candidly replies, “Well, I think I still have so much to learn in acting plus acting for a film that’s in a different language is going to be so difficult! I think I’m going to stick to movies in a language that I know a little of.”


The ceremony was a solemn affair where the French Ambassador pinned the badge to Khan’s lapel. The latter looked humbled as he stepped up to the podium, “I feel so honoured to receive this title. I’ve not been bestowed with such an international title before and I sincerely hope that I will be able to, in my own small way, be an ambassador of Indian cinema to the French.”



French honour for Shah Rukh Khan