Kamal Haasan Conferred Chevalier Award by the French Government
Kamal Haasan is fondly known by his fans as Ulaganayagan, which means Universal Hero. The multifaceted personality will have another gem added to his crown. The actor will be conferred the Chevalier de L’Ordre Arts et Lettres (The Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) by the French government. This is a part of the highest award given by France – The Legion of Honor. The French government awards this distinction to eminent artists who have contributed in bringing excellence to the field of arts. The coveted French honor will be conferred to the actor in a special ceremony which will be held soon.
The order of merit has three ranks namely – chevalier (knight), officier (officer), commandeur (commander). Along with two other offices. Other popular Indian personalities who have been awarded the Chevalier Order include Pandit Ravi Shankar, Sivaji Ganesan, Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai and Nandita Das, However, to be precise, only Sivaji Ganesan, Satyajit Ray, Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan have been conferred the Légion d’honneur. This makes Kamal Haasan the fifth Indian actor to be conferred the award.
Kamal Haasan- Completed 50 years of acting in Five Indian Languages:
Kamal Haasan made his debut as a child artist with the film Kalathur Kannamma (1959) which won him the President’s Medal for Best Child Actor. He then rose to become one of the biggest stars of Indian cinema. He has starred in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam films. He is the recipient of the Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan which was awarded by the Indian government. Earlier this year the 61-year old actor received the Henri Langlois Award for his contribution to cinema in France. The multi-talented personality is also a director, singer, lyricist and producer. The actor also released a statement thanking his fans and admirers for always supporting him. Here is his full statement:
“The French Government has kindly conferred the Chevalier award for Arts and Letters on me. On this occasion, I bow before my more deserving forerunners, Mr. Satyajit Ray and Mr. Sivaji Ganesan, who made even the common man realize the value of the Chevalier award. I thank His Excellency, the Ambassador of France in India, Mr. Alexandre Ziegler, who intimated me of this honor. This award humbles me rather than stiffen me with pride.
“I realize my journey in my chosen field has not been alone. Teachers and admirers abounded around me. With motherly care they have applauded my every little step forward. The melancholy of my parents not being alive to see this day is allayed by the fact that the elders and the young are still around in my family to enjoy it. I dedicate this award to my admirers and audience, who give me the tenacity of purpose to pursue, to this day and moment, my arts and letters. Thank you.”
Here’s more about the other four awardees who are conferred with Chevalier award.
1. Sivaji Ganesan
The first Tamil actor to have been honored the title was Sivaji Ganesan. The thespian was regarded as Marlon Brando of Indian cinema. The actor was awarded the Chevalier award by the French government in the year 1995, in a ceremony held in Chennai. He was presented the medallion by the French ambassador to Indian Philip Petit. He was also the He is first Indian actor to receive the award for Best Actor in Asia (for Veerapandiya Kattabomman) at the Asia – Africa Continent Award at the Afro-Asian Film Festival.
2. Satyajit Ray
Satyajit Ray is regarded as one of the greatest film makers of the 20th century. Some of his most popular films include Panther Panchali. The highly acclaimed director has won 32 National Awards and was awarded the Best Human Document Award at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival. An Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement was presented to him in 1992. He was awarded the Legion of Honor in 1987 by the President of France.
3. Amitabh Bachchan
Fondly known as Big B, Ambitabh Bachchan is known as the most popular and influential actors of Indian cinema. With a career spanning over close to four decades, Amitabh Bachchan has become one of the best known names in cinema. He has been honored the Padma Shri, the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Vibhushan. In 2007, the Government of France honored him with the Knight of the Legion of Honor for his exceptional contribution to world cinema.
4. Shah Rukh Khan
One of the highest earning actors in the world, Shah Rukh Khan is popularly known as the Baadshah of Bollywood. Apart from being an actor, the charming actor is also a producer. He is the co-chairman of Red Chillies Entertainment, his production company. He was honored the Padma Shri in 2005. In 2007, the French Government honored him with the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He was later conferred with another title by the French government. In 2014, he was awarded the Légion d’honneur, the highest civilian honor.
Kamal Haasan was wished and greeted by his friends in the industry. However, the best greeting came from Rajinikanth. His good friend and colleague who along with Kamal Haasan rose to stardom in the 80s. In his tweet in Tamil, Rajinikanth said – “I wish this generation’s Chevalier Sivaji and my good friend Kamal Haasan on receiving this prestigious award”.
We are proud of you Kamal Haasan sir! Keep rocking and making Tamil Cinema and Kollywood proud.