On Tuesday, 1st July 2014, H.E. Mr Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development of France, conferred the distinction of “Knight of the Legion of Honour” on Mr Shah Rukh Khan during a special ceremony held at the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai.
The title of “Knight of the Legion of Honour” has been conferred on Mr Shah Rukh Khan in recognition of his outstanding contribution to cultural diversity across the world. From studying acting under celebrated theatre director Barry John, through television serials, and numerous blockbusters, Shah Rukh Khan’s magnetic persona has won hearts across the globe, including in France. The French public remembers his participation at the Cannes Film festival, notably in 2002 when he presented “Devdas”. H.E. Mr Laurent Fabius declared: “The French people hail Shah Rukh Khan’s talent and generosity, which arouse the enthusiasm of a vast audience across the world, transcending cultural and historical differences and bringing together people from all walks of life to his films”.
Mr Shah Rukh Khan said, “There are different moments in life that make you feel that you are on the right track. This is one such moment. I am truly humbled to receive this honour. I thank the President of France Mr François Hollande and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development of France, Mr Laurent Fabius for finding me fitting for this honour. I am a part of the Indian Film Fraternity and it makes me feel proud to be recognized for the field I am most passionate about. This honour has further motivated me to take Indian Cinema to the next level of acceptance, love and glory. And thank you France for being so loving and appreciative of Indian films, it’s extremely encouraging. All the best for World Cup Glory…”
Created in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte, the Legion of Honour is the highest award given by the French Republic for outstanding service to France, regardless of the nationality of the recipients. The President of the French Republic is the Grand Master of the Order of the Legion of Honour. Other renowned Indian recipients of this honour in the field of the arts include legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan, renowned film director Satyajit Ray and sitar maestro Pt. Ravi Shankar.
As Shah Rukh Khan once said to Paris-Match magazine, the fire that burnt in him at the age of twenty continues to remain kindled. This perhaps explains the numerous industry accolades he has won, including a record eight Film Fare awards in the Best Actor category. Among others, he was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India (2005) and Knight in the Order of Arts and Letters by the Government of France (2007) for his contribution to films. A philanthropist promoting various causes, he received the UNESCO Pyramide con Marni award for his work on children’s education in 2011.