Actor Kamal Haasan will be awarded the Chevalier de L’Ordre Arts et Lettres (The Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) by the French government. The Order is part of France’s premier award, the Legion of Honor.

“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,” read a statement from the actor’s publicist.

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 Order has three ranks – chevalier (knight), officier (officer), commandeur (commander) – and two high offices.

Other Indians who have been conferred the Chevalier Order include actors Sivaji Ganesan, Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Nandita Das and Shah Rukh Khan.

The actor released a statement thanking his family and fans for supporting him.

Our Staff Reporter adds:

In March 30 this year, the versatile actor, who made his debut as a child artiste in Kalathoor Kannamma in 1959, had received the Henri Langlois Award for his contribution to cinema in France.

Mr. Haasan, who is a recipient of the Padma Bhushan from the Government of India, has donned several hats and has been actively involved in production, direction, playback singing and song writing in films.

Chachi 420 (the Hindi version of Avvai Shanmughi), Viswaroopam and Hey Ram are among the movies he has directed.

He is currently directing and starring in the trilingual film Sabhash Naidu which is being made simultaneously in Tamil, Hindi and Telugu. He was last seen onscreen playing the lead in the movieThoongavanam.

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 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.”

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