French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius is in India these days and thus took the opportunity to bestow one of its biggest stars with his France’s highest civilian honor.
Shahrukh Khan (think Tom Cruise + Brad Pitt times ten to gage his local popularity) has been made a “Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur”, thus joining an order founded by Emperor Napoleon I in 1802. He is the second Indian actor to ever be given this distinction, after megastar Amitabh Bachchan (The Great Gatsby).
As for what prompted all this? Well, according to Fabius, “The French people hail Shahrukh Khan’s talent and generosity”. This is the second French honor Khan has received has he was already inducted into the “Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” seven years ago for his contribution to cinema.
King Khan, as his fans affectionately refer to him, was profoundly moved to receive this honor on his late mother’s birthday and stated:
I feel very humbled and grateful for this prestigious honour. Today is my mother’s birthday and if she had been alive she would have been happy that I got this prestigious honour. I accept this award not as an individual but on behalf of hundreds of filmmakers. It makes me feel proud to be recognised for the field I am passionate about. This award has motivated me to take Indian cinema to the next level of acceptance, love and glory. I thank the President of France for this honour.
He later posted several messages to Twitter such as this one:
Khan’s films regularly shatter box-office records in India, but ironically only a tiny portion of them have made it to French screens. His next release is the highly anticipated Happy New Year.