The French government has honoured Kamal Haasan, one of the finest actors in Indian cinema, with prestigious Chevalier de L'Ordre Arts et Lettres (The Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters).
The French government honours excellence in arts by conferring the Chevalier award to 200 artists every year.
A statement was issued by his publicist, stating, “The distinction, which is yet another laurel for the actor, is in recognition of his high level of artistic excellence and his distinguished career achievements. The award will be conferred on Kamal Haasan at a special ceremony.”
The order of merit is awarded “to recognize eminent artists and writers, as well as people who have contributed significantly to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world.”
The other Indians who have been conferred the Chevalier Order include Satyajit Ray and actors Sivaji Ganesan, Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Nandita Das and Shah Rukh Khan.
Kamal Haasan is currently recovering from a fractured leg, but did share his gratitude in a voice message.
"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 realise the value of the Chevalier award. I thank His Excellency, the Ambassador of France in India, Mr. Alexandre Ziegler, who inimated me of this honour."
This award humbles me rather than stiffen me with pride.
"I realise 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."
Kamal Haasan who recently underwent a surgery for a fractured leg is now on the path of recovery. He's been tweeting updates about it as well:
Was up on my feet. A small spin around the room. Of course with two to assist on either side like Gandhiji;). Today was less painful.
— Kamal Haasan (@ikamalhaasan) August 2, 2016
Stitches off. Hobbling up to the gym past 2 days. Physio at full swing . Thank you all who persisted & insisted on my getting better soon
— Kamal Haasan (@ikamalhaasan) August 13, 2016
Rajinikanth has also tweeted about the award, congratulating Hassan:
எங்கள் தலைமுறையின் நடிகர் திலகம் செவாலியர் அருமை நண்பர் கமல்ஹாசன் அவர்களுக்கு என்னுடைய மனமார்ந்த பாராட்டுக்கள்
— Rajinikanth (@superstarrajini) August 22, 2016
Translation: Congratulations to my generation's 'Nadigar Thilakam', Chevalier and my dear Friend Kamal Haasan
Sources close to Haasan say that he is very keen to start work again on Sabash Naidu, in which he is bringing back the popular character Balram Naidu from the 2008 blockbuster film Dasavatharam.
He had taken over the project as director after its original director Rajeev Kumar, fell ill during shoot in USA. He has already completed edit work on 42 minutes of the film.
The film which was supposed to be a Diwali release has now been pushed to early 2017.
Hear Kamal Hassan's audio clip here: