Over to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan:
“Good evening and thank you to the French Ambassador Francois Richier, Eminent dignitaries, respected members of the media, my dear family and friends, ladies and gentlemen….
I must begin by sincerely thanking the French Government, for honouring me with this award of Knight of the Order of Arts and letters, the 2nd highest civilian award, for my humble contribution to the world of cinema over the years. To be conferred with this distinction is truly overwhelming. And given the fine company of distinguished Indian personalities from the fields of cinema, art, literature as well as those conferred with this honour internationally, this is treasured.
FRANCE has been quite the symbol of the celebration of ART and CULTURE globally…much like India…and immensely contributed to and influenced the ever-evolving world of cinema, theatre, literature, music, architecture and fashion. Mention PARIS and you witness this very celebration in its FULL GLORY and its magnetic romantic CHARM. Mention CANNES and you recognize one of the World’s most glamorous celebrated films festivals experienced
Ten years ago, I had the privilege of representing an Indian film for the 1st time here with DEVDAS being screened at the PALAIS at Cannes. And, what a memorable reception it was an Indian horse carriage,……….a standing ovation…overwhelming. To experience an Indian film being celebrated with such fanfare in France was immensely special. Personally speaking, it was thereon, that International media and the world of cinema recognized my work in Indian Cinema…and for this, I will always thank you sincerely, for the immense love and appreciation I received first from the people of
FRANCE, on a global platform. To be invited back again as jury member of this festival, a 1st for a member of the Indian Film Industry gave me much pride, at being given the responsibility of representing MY INDIAN FILM INDUSTRY, in France, internationally.
From thereon…. till date…. opportunities and experiences have been aplenty…. Each one memorable and cherished… occasions strengthening creative ties etween France and India and therein our beautiful countries…both so rich in ART, HERITAGE & CULTURE. I could go on and on, because of so many beautiful memories but I’ll end, by thanking the French Government once again for this overwhelming honour and your patience with me at conferring it. I also thank EVERY PROFESSIONAL (Directors, actors, technicians, crew and my personal staff) I’ve worked with throughout my career in this wonderful and glorious family of the Indian Film Industry. My ever-loving audience in India and the world over, for your unconditional love, acceptance, appreciation, prayers and blessings. Members of the media and critics for all your support and most importantly, and most precious my family, my father-in-law and mother-in-law for their blessing. Thank you PA for coming here today. It’s extremely important for me to dedicate today’s honour to the unconditional love, support, sacrifice and prayers/blessings of my mother, father and brother. And to the love of my life, my husband Abhishek and our Aaradhya.”