Soumitra Chatterjee receives Legion of Honour – France’s highest civilian award conferred to the Legend of Bengali Films

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Soumitra Chatterjee - French Award Night 7
Soumitra Chatterjee - French Award Night 7

India honoured by France when Soumitra Chatterjee receives Legion of Honour at Kolkata

“I will carry this moment through out my life” the legend said after the honor being conferred to him by French Consulate at Kolkata on 30th Jan 2018.

The event was a nostalgic one when Late Shri Satyajit Ray’s son Sandip Ray entered the hall and greeted the Legend. Whole Bengal and Indian Film industry was waiting for the honor.

A projector from the old days were kept at the hall which was used to show the first movie of Soumitra Chatterjee way back in 1959 at Basushree cinema.

Dressed like a Bengali Babu with ultimate articulation of aesthetics sense of Bengali culture with golden glow on his face was just the right reflection of his long journey with the films and theater. Performing art specially acting made him a legend of Bengali Films which was globally acclaimed by all.

“Not a day goes by, since his death in 1992 that I do not remember Manik Da (Satyajit Ray),” screen legend Soumitra Chatterjee said on occasion, after receiving the France’s highest civilian award, the coveted Legion of Honour.

The Legion d’Honneur (“the Legion of Honour”), instituted in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte, is the highest civilian 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.

The award comes to the octogenarian Bengali screen legend exactly 30 years after Satyajit Ray got the honour. Ray was awarded the Legion of Honour by then French President Francois Mitterrand in 1987.

Earlier this evening H.E. Mr Alexandre Ziegler, Ambassador of France to India, is today in Kolkata to jointly inaugurate with Ms Mamata Banerjee, Hon’ble Chief Minister of West Bengal, the 42nd International Kolkata Book Fair (IKBF). France has been invited as its Focal Theme Country by the Publishers and Booksellers Guild.

On this special visit to the city, Ambassador Ziegler said he is privileged to confer the insignia of Knight of the Legion of Honour (Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur), the highest French civilian distinction, on eminent actor Soumitra Chatterjee at an investiture ceremony in the evening.

“There must be something in my work that is being appreciated outside the country. As a Bengali, I feel proud of this achievement,” said Mr. Chatterjee, earlier he was honoured with the Dadasaheb Phalke award in 2011 for his contribution to cinema an ultimate for any film artist in India. 

The evening turned into a memorable night with a toast of health and goodness of all.